DESA Oral History Project
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|Interview of Leonard
November 12, 2002
For Monmouth University Library
This oral history interview of Leonard Bulwicz is taking place on November 12, 2002 at the Vietnam Era Educational Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. This interview is for the Oral History Project for HS 298-01 Oral History at Monmouth University. I am Thomas Greene, a student at Monmouth University. I will be conducting the interview. Leonard Bulwicz served in World War II. He was discharged with a rank of Quartermaster Third Class and he served in the Pacific Ocean.
Question: Good afternoon Mr. Bulwicz.
Thank you for taking the time out to do this interview with me.
Answer: You're more than welcome.
Q: I'd like to start off with some pre-war questions for you. What was it like growing up in New Jersey when you were a child? Was it different from how children today grow up?
A: It wasn't much different except I grew up in the city, Jersey City, and we didn't have all the fancy things they have today. Our entertainment was a baseball game on an empty lot, a movie on a Saturday when we were small kids, two feature movies and a comedy and a chapter. And really it wasn't. Today they do things just different. We went to school and until I became a teenager I didn't do any work except help around the house. When I went to high school I got part-time jobs, summers, after school. I did a variety of things. I worked in a habadashery store as a stock clerk and a part-time salesman. I worked in a leather goods factory making toy holsters for kids cap guns. I worked in a luggage factory. I was the shipping clerk. And finally when I graduated high school, I went to work for the Railway Express moving freight. And then I joined the Navy.
Q: When you were growing up, as compared to today, was education as valued as it is today?
A: Oh I think so. I think it was quite valued. Most of us went to high school. There wasn't much at that time of people going to college as there is today. College was a bit of a dream for most of us. I knew I wanted to go to college, and I said that to my parents. I was going to go "by hook or by crook." There wasn't much money then. Thank God for the war so to speak. The GI Bill really gave us the impotence to go. It made things a lot easier for us.
Q: Were there any radio programs, music, or movies that had an impact on your life before the war and did any of them alter your perception of the war or whether or not it should be fought?
A: Oh no. There was nothing special about the music. Of course a lot of the music and the pop music of the '40s was meant to pep us up, give us spirit in the war. You know, "Pass the Crazed Warfare for the Invasion" and "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree." You've probably heard the titles of many of them, but they were the top pop songs of the day. It was the culture. I also enjoyed classical musical and that had nothing at all to do with the war. So, I used to go to concerts on Sunday afternoons in New York. Free concerts! (Laughs) I always searched for free ones because I never had enough money to go anywhere. That's about it.
Q: Did you follow any sports while you were growing up or did you have an heroes that you admired and looked up to?
A: No, I didn't play any sports regularly. We only played sandlot ball. We didn't have any teams. In high school I played intermural softball. I commuted to school, and it took an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half to drive. I didn't have time to play after-school sports.
Q: Were you aware that Hitler rose to power in the late '30s and that he had an agenda to go through Europe and eventually take control of the world?
A: No. Most people didn't. I was affected slightly. I'm of Polish descent, and you know World War II more or less started out with the taking of Poland. That's when England and France jumped in and started to make it a world war, but prior to that there had been the invasion by Hitler in the Sudatenland in Czechoslovakia, and we knew about that . Being Polish we were a little nervous. They spoke about it in the church. So, that's about all I can think of. My parents never said anything about it.
Q: Did you have any inkling that Hitler was cruelly murdering millions of innocent Jews in concentration camps?
A: Oh yeah, we were alerted to that when I was in high school. We didn't know about it in grammar school but we found out about it as I got older in high school age.
Q: What were your initial reactions?
A: We really didn't have many. In fact, I lived not too far away from a Jewish school, the old school system the Jews had, the (pauses to think), the Hasidic Jews. But there wasn't any publicity about it. There were articles, small articles in the newspapers, and we didn't have TV remember or instant news.
Q: Before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor did you know anything about the Japanese people or about Japan itself?
A: Oh, very little, just probably what we learned in history class. We knew about the invasion and the Rape of Nanking. In fact, when I was a kid in grammar school we used to play with war cards you know, and they'd have these ugly pictures of the Japanese attacking Chinese. And they were gory looking cards. War cards they call them and they came with a package of chewing gum.
Q: Did your perception of the Japanese change as soon as the attack on Pearl Harbor took place and if so how did it change?
A: Perception? We really didn't give that much thought, just that they were a race of people who wanted to take over the Eastern part of the world.
Q: What were your initial reactions when you heard about the start of World War II in Europe on September 1, 1939? Did you foresee the U.S.' involvement and feel it would affect American society or did you feel it was of no concern to the Americans at that point in time?
A: I was in the movies when the news came. I left the movie house and on my way home I kept thinking of my father. My father was about 40 years old at that time. I knew the draft had been on and I said now will they draft my father? Basically, that's all I ever thought about. How were they going to draft my father? My father came home from work that day, and I didn't have to worry about my father. He was a policeman, and they were exempt from the draft. Then I started seeing older friends of mine, one by one, started disappearing. They just weren't there anymore. Drafted. Joined up. That's about all we thought of. As time went on we kept saying, "soon it will be my turn." The years kept going by.
Q: Where were you when you heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941?
A: I just said I was in the movie house.
Q: Initially, how did you feel that this would affect the scope of World War II and the American people?
A: Oh, it's at the age of 16, 17, 16, you really didn't think in that direction.
Q: In retrospect, do you see any similarities between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th?
A: Oh yeah, there are similarities. You wonder if someone is trying to push us into a battle, a fighting war, a national war with one country against another. Then eventually building up two sides. One with the U.S. and the other with "Afghanistan" and/or Iranians or... Would it be a religious war? That's the biggest fear I have. Not so much as countries. A religious war is even worse.
Q: Why do you feel that way?
A: Because it crosses over too many territorial lines. As we're used to in the United States, we have Muslims in the United States. What will they do? We have non-Muslims over there. What will they do?
Q: Now, you said you joined up into the Navy, right?
Q: What were the factors that motivated you to do so?
A: Well, I knew I would be drafted when I became 18 (laughs), and my reason for joining the Navy was I wanted to eat three square meals a day, and I didn't want to live in dirt. So, I didn't want to go into the Army.
Q: How did you initially cope with going to war? Were you afraid or was it your duty? Did you feel it was necessary to have to do it?
A: I just felt it was necessary. I sort of felt the patriotism as if I had a duty. The feelings you have that it's something I must do.
Q: Now, while you were serving in the Pacific, did you ever come into contact with the enemy? A U-boat, Japanese planes, a kamikaze?
A: No planes. We had a U-boat scare or two but nothing concrete. After the war was over, that was the only time where I actually came into contact with a Japanese soldier. I ran into contact with some Japanese marines who were personally in Saipan.
Q: Did you or anyone close to you ever get severely injured while at war?
Q: When and where did you have your Naval training?
A: Boot camp was in Sampson, New York. I had to go for the big training camp there. Then I went to quartermasters school down in Bainbridge, Maryland, and from Bainbridge, Maryland they put me aboard the ship.
Q: Can you explain what a typical day in training was like?
A: A typical day in training? You'd get up in the morning. You'd clean your barracks, keep it clean, get dressed up, and exercise usually, before breakfast. You did jumping up and loosening up exercises, get dressed, went to breakfast, came back, and then you went to various classes. You did some marching training, gun training, rifle shooting, learned Navy lore, learned about Navy ships, went to firefighting school, and took gas mask training.
Q: Do any specific events that you went through during training still stand out in your mind today that are very vivid to you?
A: Yeah, I never did K.P. I never did kitchen duty! The happiest thing of my whole life (laughs). I never had to work in the kitchen (laughs).
Q: What was life on a Destroyer Escort ship like? Did you get what you expected from training or was it even harder than you thought?
A: Oh no. It was pretty much what we were taught. They showed us movies of different types, and there was a lot of verbal explanations. It was just about what I expected, not that I was familiar with it, but it was what I expected. But then I had to get acclimatized to it, to the surroundings.
Q: Was a typical day on a DE sort of like training or was it a different experience?
A: Oh no, because at that time now you were putting your training to work. If you want to start out by getting up at revelry, get dressed, you went to breakfast, and then you reported to your duty station. Mine was up on the bridge. Keep it clean, keep the charts up to date, find out what you were going to be doing all day. I had a secondary station called the after-steering station. I was assigned that because I was a junior man in the quartermaster department. I had to keep that place clean. It turned out that place was a good hide out at night for crap games (laughs).
Q: That brings me to my next question. What did you do for rest and relaxation while in the Navy? Did you have books, movies, card games?
A: We had indoor movies while the war was on. We played a mess of pinochle. I was a pinochle player, played a lot of pinochle. I read a lot too.
Q: What was the relationship between the crew members and the officers aboard your DE like?
A: We were very informal. Destroyer Escorts were part of what they call "the dungaree Navy." You did not walk around in dress clothes, blues, you walked around in dungarees, and it was very informal.
Q: Was there ever any hostilities between any of the men on the ship or was it more of a bond and togetherness that formed?
A: None that I was aware of.
Q: Did you make any life long friends while you were in the service?
A: At the time going til today, I wouldn't say that I've made life long friends, but I have seen people since but not on a continuing basis.
Q: How did you view your captain?
A: I was amazed that he was so young and had command of 200 and some- odd men. I was just astounded that it was just college men.
Q: Are there any events that took place while you were in the Navy that still stand out in your mind today? Anything humorous or humiliating anything like that?
A: Oh, I have a very humorous one. When I left quartermasters school we were sent to Boston, up to a receiving barracks, and I met a another fella on the train. It turns out he was from Newark and I was from Jersey City. We were chewing the fat so we got up to the receiving barracks and we just continued til we found out where we were going to go to pick up our ships. Two different ships. That night they said you can have liberty. He couldn't and I did. They gave him duty and they sent me on liberty. So I went, and the next day we still weren't told where to go, he had the liberty and I had the duty. So on his way out he said, " I got too much money in my pocket and I don't want to lose it. Here's $20.00. Can you hold it for me?" $20.00 is a lot of money! I said, "Okay. Where am I going to go? I'm a captive. I can't go anywhere with this $20.00." So, the next day we get up and there's my name up on the board to report to my ship which was in Staten Island. So, I packed up my bag and left out the gate, and there's my friend on duty watching the gate. And I left. I'm riding on a train down to Staten Island, to New York, and I open up my wallet. Low and behold this $20.00 is in my wallet (laughs). Now how do I get it back to him? You don't put $20.00 in an envelope and mail it to Jim Burnett in Boston. It'll never get there. So, we brought the ship back to Boston from Staten Island. I ran out to the receiving barracks. He was long gone. Nobody could tell me where he went. We got outfitted in Boston, we went down to Cuba, and we did some practice down there. After a few days, we were leaving and all of a sudden I get this message: "Lenny, where's my $20.00? Mr. Burnett." (laughs) And I was going out (laughs). And he followed me all the way out to Pearl Harbor. He pulled into a port that I was leaving. Finally, we met in Pearl Harbor and I was able to hitch a mail boat ride over to where he was anchored (laughing) and gave him his $20.00 (laughing). God, how long was it? It was well over two months later.
Q: Were you a religious man prior to entering the war, and if so, did you keep your faith?
A: Oh yes. Yes. I was Catholic. In fact, when we pulled into San Diego on our way to Pearl Harbor, we picked up two chaplains as passengers and they were looking for a volunteer alter man. I volunteered and I served mass for them for five days (laughs).
Q: Did the war strengthen your faith in God or did it weaken it?
A: No, I don't think it affected me either way. I think I was pretty strong at the time.
Q: Were able to attend church services while you were in the Navy?
A: (Sighs) Well, of course when we were out at sea, no. We worked in Iwo Jima, and it was very difficult. They had mass onboard the carriers, and if you were important you would take a boat over and go to mass on the carrier. For the most part, it was difficult.
Q: What were living conditions aboard your DE like? Were they hard to adjust to or were they just a minimal sacrifice that you had to make for your country?
A: It was a minimal sacrifice really. You got a plain bunk, small space. You got a locker. They gave you the meals. It had showers. It had everything.
Q: Was the food onboard any good? What did a common meal consist of?
A: Oh, if you like powdered eggs. Scrambled. Always scrambled. That's the only way to get them. They made bread. They baked bread. And we had cold cereal. The only thing I didn't like was the milk because it was powdered milk. Terrible back in those days. The other meals were good. We ate decently.
Q: Was there any alcohol consumption ever allowed on the ship or ever snuck onto the ship?
A: No, it wasn't allowed. I wouldn't say it didn't happen, but it wasn't allowed (laughs).
Q: Were you able to contact your family members and friends at home while you were in the Pacific so you could get news of what was going on on the home front.
A: No, just by mail.
Q: And when you sent your mail or received it, was any of your mail ever censored?
A: Incoming mail wasn't censored. Outgoing mail was censored until the war was over.
Q: As you know, the Destroyer Escorts were constructed to protect the Allied convoys from German U-boat or Japanese kamikaze attacks. Did you ever encounter any serious problems when trying to get a convoy to its destination?
A: I was never aboard when that was needed. DE Day occurred just the week I graduated quartermasters school, and when I went to the Pacific, we did not escort convoys. When I got to Pearl Harbor at the beginning of Pearl Harbor, DE Day was August 14th. I was very fortunate.
Q: What were your initial reactions when you heard that the United States had dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan? Was it necessary or was it unwelcomed?
A: We thought it was great. We didn't really quite know what an Atomic Bomb was in those days. We just heard it was a big bomb they used. Information was given to the troops so to speak, and what came over the newscasts was not an Atomic Bomb, but a "Big Bomb." "Big Bertha." So, we didn't know the ramifications of fall out or any of that.
Q: Did you feel it was your way out of the war, your ticket out?
A: Oh yeah. In retrospect, there's a lot of things that occur. We have subsequently found out that the mission of our DE was going to be the front of the invasion of Japan, and anti-kamikaze protection. Living on a ship that is made out of 1/4 inch steel, that's no protection.
Q: How did you view the president, Franklin Roosevelt? Was he an adequate leader? Did he take the necessary actions to ensure victory?
A: Oh yeah. We think he did. We weren't much into politics then either. I didn't even vote. I wasn't 21. Most of us really didn't think much of politics. He did what was necessary for the war effort we thought.
Q: What was your reaction to his death in April, 1945, being that he was probably one of the only presidents that you knew up to that time.
A: Yeah, a sorrow. He wasn't going to see what he had accomplished. He wasn't going to see the end of what he accomplished.
Q: Did it make you want to go out and finish off the war or did it deflate your morale at all?
A: No, no. It was just a continuing situation.
Q: Did you know anything about FDR's replacement, Harry Truman, and were you confident in what he could do?
A: No All I knew was that he was a habadasher (laughs). I have familiarity with habadashery, working in that men's store for years. No, I really didn't.
Q: Looking back at it now, do you associate Truman with some of the other great presidents that this country has had?
A: Not in the many things, but in his decision. It was his decision to drop the bomb, and I thought that that took an awful lot of guts. And for those of us who survived the war, so thank God he did it.
Q: What did you know and what were your feelings on segregation prior to the war? Were you aware that the Navy was segregated until 1948 with the USS Mason, the first all black crew?
A: No, quite frankly, you know what, we didn't think much about it in the sailors. We had black men on the DE. They were like I said, they were ship's cooks, but they weren't even cooks, they were ship's stewards. They took care of the officers. They were the waiters for the officers. We had one fellow onboard who used to hang out on the bridge. He became very friendly and one of the quartermasters became very friendly with him. We just thought he was another guy.
Q: Did you feel that the African Americans should be able to serve and fight alongside the white men, and did you ever really wonder why they were prohibited from doing so?
A: We weren't even conscious of that back then Tom. We just didn't know. It was the way life existed at the time and they really didn't have that strong of a support unless some of the people may have been active in social studies or social, what's the word I'm looking for? Movements. We weren't and we just didn't know.
Q: When and where were you when you were discharged from the Navy?
A: Well, they discharged us out of New York, but I was in Shanghai, China when I had earned my points at the time necessary to be eligible for discharge. So, there was two ways of traveling. I elected to stay with the ship. I could have come home on a troop carrier or some other boast they might have picked. I elected to sail the ship back. I was familiar with it. All my clothes were there. I knew the routine. Where was the ship going? It was going back to Charleston, South Carolina. I said, "Fine, I can take a nice around the world cruise (laughs)," and I did that and we broke ship at South Carolina. I took the train from South Carolina up to Long Island on the Discharge Center.
Q: Now, when you were on your way home were you happy and excited to be going home or did you feel that a part of you was going to be left on that ship, that you were going to miss the friendships and the camaraderie?
A: Well, you know, there's a certain sorrow about the separation from guys you've been living with for a year and socializing with. We had a lot of good times. Good times.
Q: But you were happy to be getting back to your regular life?
A: Oh yeah. I was looking forward to going back to school. I had already made an application for college.
Q: How were you received by your family and friends and hometown when you returned home?
A: Well they didn't have a parade for me (laughs). They all said it was good to have me home. They gave me back my bed, and my father moved out of half the closet and I got my half of the closet back (laughs).
Q: Looking back at your war time experiences and the time you spent overseas, do you feel you missed out on or were cheated out of some of the more precious years of your life?
A: No, I don't feel cheated. I feel like I missed but like when I went to college. The stories that I read and what I heard about that college was a time of total enjoyment, You know, the parties, dances, girls, and really the whole college scene so to speak. Especially in the pictures and the movies of the day. When I came back and went to college, all I saw was a bunch of veterans who had missed two, three, four years of their life, and they wanted to get out of college. Out! To work and to resume normal life.
Q: Do you feel that serving in the Navy taught you something about life, about yourself, and about the values you believe in?
A: Oh, there had to be somebody who really consciously thought about it. Relying upon 200 total strangers whom I had never met before. We all just came together, and we had a unified purpose. One purpose and 200 different people, and we worked together to attain that purpose.
Q: Did your experiences in the Navy prepare you for or shape your future life, or did they hinder you from attaining dreams that you had prior to the war?
A: No, they didn't do one thing or another.
Q: What did you decide to do for a living after the war?
A: Well, I wanted to be a physicist. I was always good in mathematics, and I wanted to be a physicist. I couldn't get into Rutgers where they had a degree in physics because it was already filled up. So, I went to Seton Hall and I took allied courses in chemistry and mathematics. They told me, "Don't go into the physics program." So, I said, "Fine." So, I stayed another year, and I stayed another year, and the next thing you know, I had a degree in chemistry (laughs).
Q: Do you feel it was easy to find a job after the war?
A: No. It was terrible. After the war? Excuse me. I never tried to find a job after the war until I graduated college. I had part-time work. I don't call that a job. In fact, I was very lucky. I had left a job in the Railway Express when I enlisted and because of my military service I was eligible for returning rights. So, after I came back out of the service in the summer, I think I got out in July, I went back on the Railway Express and they gave me my old job back. And then I took a leave of absence to go to school. And the next summer I went back to the Railway Express and got my job back. So, I did that for four years.
Q: Now you just commented on the GI Bill of Rights which paid for the education of many men who served in World War II, Did it push you to want to get another education or did you just want to settle down and start up a family?
A: No, no. I wanted to go to college. That made it a lot easier for me. It paid most of my tuition. It didn't pay it all. It paid of most of it. It gave me a small subsistence where I didn't have to work part-time after and in between school hours. No, it was quite an incentive.
Q: Were you married or dating before the war or after the war?
A: No, not until much after.
Q: Did you have a close family life?
A: Oh yeah. I had two brothers and a sister, and we were fairly close.
Q: Did any of your siblings serve in the war?
A: No. I was the oldest son and my younger brother, he didn't have to enlist until 1947. He was 17 at that time.
Q: But he never saw action?
A: No. In fact, he enlisted for a three year period and the Korean War came on and they extended his enlistment by a year. He spent three years in the Philadelphia Navy Yard as a store keep, and they put him on a Navy oiler which went to Europe. (Laughing) And he joined the Korean War.
Q: After the war, were you immediately willing to share your experiences and stories with your family or did it take some time before you opened up and expressed your feelings?
A: No. It was no problem. We'd talk about it. I had no traumatic problems. My worst experience was sailing in a typhoon. That was my worst experience.
Q: Over the past few years, many films have been made about World War II and about the events that took place during it. Have you seen any war films, and if so, which ones have you seen?
A: I've probably seen them all. World War II....in fact, last night they had Midway on. I watched it again. Enemy Below, in fact, that was a story about a Destroyer Escort, and that was on about a month or so ago with Mitcham I think. Most of the movies made about World War II within ten to twenty years after the war ended I thought were more real life. Subsequent to that, I found out that there was an awful lot of impressionism put into it all, which took away from the realism. But it wasn't until the Private Ryan movie that I saw more realism. Not the fact that there was blood and gore, but it was just realism in the whole attitude. But, (sighs) nothing really makes me feel bad.
Q: So, overall, do you feel that the films are accurate representations of war time or do they trivialize it and make it less...?
A: No. They're fairly accurate.
Q: In your opinion, should teachers use these movies in schools to give children a better idea of what actually went on?
A: I don't think it's necessary. Today's education day from what I understand is shorter and shorter in terms of the fact that they can't get enough in to teach all the children. You start throwing movies at them, which take another two hours. I don't think it's necessary. You can do it verbally.
Q: What motivated you to get involved in the Destroyer Escort Service Association, Garden State Chapter?
A: It was just sort of a harkening back to the days of my youth. That's basically what it is. You meet your old comrades and men I would never recognize on the street. And I look at pictures of what they were fifty years ago.
Q: Did you feel you owed it to yourself and your fellow sailors to get involved or did you owe it to future generations to tell your story?
A: I thought for future, not to myself and not to other sailors really.
Q: What types of activities have you done while being in the DESA Association?
A: Oh, as part of DESA all I've done is gone to two conventions. That's it. I'm not a very active person (laughs). I used to be in my local area where I lived in. I used to teach part time. I used to work with kids, boy scouts, cub scouts, basketball, religion classes. And quite frankly, I got tired. And I didn't stop until I literally had to physically move away from the area. We went from Jersey City out to Whippany, and a couple of years after I moved I made myself volunteer to an organization. They said they didn't need any help right now. We'll call you. Thanks for volunteering. I never got a phone call, so I never volunteered. (Laughingly) That's it!
Q: Do you ever tell your wife, or do you have grandchildren who you tell some of your war stories to?
A: Oh yeah. (Laughingly) She's tired of hearing them (laughs). "Yeah, I've heard that one before," she'll say.
Q: How long have you been married?
A: Fifty-one years to the same girl (laughs).
Q: Do you have children and grandchildren?
A: I have three boys. One of whom was a Navy sailor. I should say pilot, for twenty years. The other two decided never to enlist.
Q: Now, each and every day we hear news about the United States possibly going to war against Iraq and dictator Saddam Hussein. Do you feel that this is a necessary action by the United Sates or that we are provoking a country that really serves as no threat to us or our standard of living?
A: I have mixed feelings about that one. I often times think that the United Nations over the last fifty years has been weak in its application. I think finally if they start putting some bones into the words that the United Nations can stand its ground, and the U.S. is part of it, that the U.S. decides that. Yeah, people don't want to listen. They'll do anything they want. It'll be like what happened to the League of Nations. That died because countries didn't pay any attention to any of its edicts or warnings, and the same thing I feel is happening partly now to the United Nations. You've got a corporal dictator in Saddam, and he has killed people. There's evidence of that. And he has backed terrorism and it's affected the United States. So, we're willing to go and say let's get him out of here. As you know, we don't want to take over the country. We don't even want to "kill him." If he dies accidently during it that's beside the point. But we're not out to kill him. We're just out to change him. And I feel there's a good reason for it.
Q: I f America was to go to war and needed to reinstitute a draft of the youth of today, do you think they would be capable of attaining a victory or would they not be able to deal with the harsh realities of war? Are they too sheltered from that?
A: I f they have to reinstitute a draft, I think the harshest reality would be upon the draftees. They would have to start making decisions on their own. Being drafted and being sent by officers, that sounds like you're actually not making any decisions. But when you're actually doing it, you are making the decisions. You'll be taking responsibility for the guy alongside you even though you don't know him. You think you don't know him until he's part of your squad, or your ship, or whatever. You become friends. Inevitably you should be. If you don't well then you probably don't belong together at all in the same group. But as long as he's there and you're there and you're living together, then you find things in common. You will watch out for each other.
Q: But you think that teens of today would be able to deal with it or are they not in tune with reality?
A: I don't think they're in tune with reality, but generally speaking, when they are faced with situations they wake up. It's just like what happened to all the flower children of the past. Where are they all? (Laughs) They're corporate executives or they work in a factory. They wake up.
Q: Did you keep any memoirs about your experiences or about reflections that you might have had during the war?
A: Oh, other than that story about the $20.00 I have really nothing much written down. I have a lot of souvenirs. Not a lot, some souvenirs. Pictures. That's about it.
Q: If anything, what do you feel the world should learn about your World War II experiences? Is there any knowledge or advice that you can pass on to future generations that will help them better understand what you and your crew went through?
A: Hmm. What should I pass on to the future about what I did? Basically, that you learn to depend on your fellow man. You don't live alone. You may think you are. You take care of yourself. You buy your own clothes. You work for yourself. You provide for your family. And it's a closeness, but you don't live alone. Everybody else around you affects you, and you affect them.
Q: And for the last question of today's interview, why do you feel many people have not heard about the Destroyer Escort Service and the role that they played in World War II?
A: Well, it was a small ship, and it didn't have the publicity that the big ships have so to speak. The battleships. The Yorktown. The carriers. The glamorous fliers flying off into the blue yonder, the wild blue yonder. Destroyer Escorts just plotted besides a bunch of dirty, old, stinking tankers and cargo ships and just went around like sheep dogs and watched out for them. That's not a glamorous job. That's probably why you don't hear about them. In fact, I was surprised to see that movie The Enemy Below. I thought it was a one on one encounter and the story is just basically about two individuals.
Q: Thank you very much Mr. Bulwicz for doing this interview.
A: Oh. You're more than welcome.
Q: I learned a lot and hopefully this future generations or people who listen to this will gain as much as I have. Thank you.
A: Oh. Good.
The USS Moore
The USS Moore, DE-240, was named
after Fred Kenneth Moore. Moore was born on December 17, 1921 in Campbell, Texas
and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July, 31, 1940. On board the battleship
Arizona at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Moore remained stationed at antiaircraft
gun and kept the gun working until he was killed by an explosion. After his
death, Moore, Seaman first Class, was awarded the Navy Cross and DE-240 was
dedicated in his honor.
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