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Daniel Morris dmorris@netpath.net
Western Alamance High School, 11th Grade

Interview on World War II

Oral History

My name is Daniel Morris. I am conducting an interview with A.C. Allen on his experience in World War II. The date is May 5, 2002.

How old were you when you begin your services?

I was twenty years old and I went in service in January of 1943 and was discharged in January of 1946. During these three years, approximately, I had a lot of experiences. The number one experience, my first experience, was when I left Raleigh, North Carolina, and a group of us when to Bainbridge, Maryland for boot camp. And we stayed in boot camp for six weeks training and those that didn't know how to swim learned how to swim and use a raft and stuff like that. And then we selected our school that we wanted to go to after our six weeks, and I had selected, since my background was accounting, Newport, Rhode Island. It was in the dead of winter, and I mean it was cold there on the Narragansett Bay. I stayed there for two and a half months and went to a two year college accounting school and the rest in this group. We went six days and six nights a week, and the only day we had off was Sunday. That was because, being what the war was, they tried to get it to us as fast as they could. We had to pay these people, the other people on the ships at sea, so we were far away from land sometimes. After graduating from Newport War College, I was assigned to the U.S.S. Chilton APA38. We made eleven trips from New York City on the U.S.S. Chilton to Oran Harbor, near Casablanca, in Africa. On the eleventh trip coming back we were sunk, and I stayed in the water maybe two or three hours at the most, and I was picked up by a destroyer and brought back to New York. I got a convalescent leave for about two months, and I got to tour New York at no expense, because we were allowed to go in all the shows and ballgames: football, baseball, and hockey. This was the first and only hockey match I had seen up until a couple months ago. We saw the Rangers. We could go in free by just showing our uniforms. This worked our real good. After the leave and the ship being sunk, I got two weeks at home in Raleigh. Then I was reassigned to the U.S.S. Zaniah AG70, which was a ship in Norfolk. We went through the canal, the Panama Canal, which was quite an experience going from lock to lock and raising them up. It was just nice. We went right on in to Honolulu. We stayed in Honolulu for two or three weeks. Then we started going from island to island. We went to New Guinea, New Zealand, and the Philippines, we were returning McArthur and his troops to the Philippines. Then we went up to Okinawa, which was going to end the war. Okinawa was about 500 miles from Tokyo. We stayed at Okinawa on Easter Sunday, 1945. The war was over in September. In Tokyo, they started calling out ships, because there were suicide bombers, and they were directed to crash into a ship. So we had something to combat this with. We had a small craft going out every night sending out smoke, diesel, just covering that whole harbor, so they couldn't see the ships. We were left below from the smoke. Tokyo Rose was one that tried to bomb us. Tokyo Rose said at night we're going to get the U.S.S. Zaniah AG70, one of our men is going to crash into that ship. But it never did hit us. I've seen a lot of suicide pilots, and people take the souvenirs from them: taking their rings off and their watches. These people were dead. These people were heroes, but they were dead when they left Tokyo, because they already had their funerals. That's the reason they call them kamikazes. When the war was over, if it hadn't been over with the atomic bomb, we were going to Tokyo to make the invasion of Tokyo with other ships. I was thinking I was going to get out in September when the war was over, October at the latest, and the Navy in Washington made me stay because I was paymaster. These sailors and officers had to be paid before they could get out. So I didn't get out to January, and I stayed in Okinawa until the last part of December. I caught a ship home from Okinawa to Seattle, Washington, and then across the country to Norfolk, Virginia. I had a petty officer rank, which was first class. Most people sent their money home, because they didn't have nowhere to spend it, and cigarettes were fifty cents a pack. One item I liked was Coca Cola, which was unheard of on the islands, and my mother sent me a bottle of Coca Cola in a wooden box. We drank it up in two weeks, and we took a swallow a day.

Did you receive any medals?


Yea, I got the European Theater, American Theater, and Pacific Theater with one battle

star.


What was this experience like and what did you gain from it?

Well, I grew up fast, just like the rest of the world during World War II. You go in when you're about twenty years old, and you come out a man like thirty years old, because you experience some things that men experience. That was an experience I wouldn't want to relive, but I would have never been able to go to these places. I took a chance with my life but so did the other people. I enjoyed going and visiting these places and staying a little bit. We had all kinds of recreation. We had ships playing baseball on the islands. Like the U.S.S. Zaniah played the U.S.S. Iowa one time. Bob Feller, who played for the Cleveland Indians that played years before and after the war, was pitching for the U.S.S. Iowa. My claim to fame with him was I sat up four times and I sat down four times, because he was a fastballer.

Do you have any memories from your experience with World War II?

Well I have a lot of memories from World War II, but one of the best ones I think was in the Sea of Japan. It was the worst typhoon in history in Korea. We had every ship in the harbor at Okinawa, and I have a copy from Reader's Digest. One of the other neat things was in my office I had the only lady on the whole ship. Her name was Sally, and she was a dog.