Heroes: the Army


"...Repeated efforts were made to induce the Japanese to surrender including pleas from the Japanese Garrison Commander Sakai who was captured early during the invasion to no avail...."



Caption: Back (L to R) Thomas H. Strong, Larry S. Brown, Col. (Dr) James W. Strong, Fredrick W. Strong, Charles e. Bennett Fr.

Front Row: Walter A. Strong, Alexis R. Strong, James A. Strong.

41st Infantry Division, 162nd Regimental Combat Team, American Rubber Co, Basilan, Philippines. June 1945


Alex Strong



Alex Strong's Story    


    This is my story. Included are two pictures taken in June of 1945 when we first returned to the Rubber Plantation since the start of the war. My Dad was in Walter Reed Hospital for 4 months He was flown there from Tacloban Layte as soon as he was liberated from Los Banos He was granted a AAAA priority due to his knowledge about cultivating and producing rubber. One month after this picture was taken the plantation was producing finished raw rubber.

    I remember clearly a soldier that matches Amador Sanchez's description but because we were in different platoons I did not get to know him well.

    The 162 Regiment was originally composed of recruits from Oregon so Amador must have been a replacement as he was from Texas, in this way he sort of stood out.

    He was a feisty man and would not be pushed around as when the Marines came into Isabela (main town in Basilan Is.) on Saturday nights.

    One incident that brings him to mind was when we were at the Navy galley for dinner and talking about a patrol that went wrong. We were ribbing a soldier as Amador related what happened to that patrol. It appears the patrol stumbled into the inner and outer security perimeter of a large Japanese bivouac and was caught in a cross fire. Eventually the patrol returned to base in ones and twos to find one of the soldier was missing. A platoon was sent out to locate the man. Half way there the rescue team met the soldier on the way back. And this was his story. When the gunfire started he ducked under a fallen tree which was right next to a Japanese machine gun emplacement. He waited it out until the enemy withdrew into the forest.

    What we were ribbing him about was as he dove under the log he scratched his cheek on a twig and the higher echelon decided to award him the Purple Heart in a general assembly and the poor guy was so embarrassed.


Now my story...


    I was born in the Philippines in my fathers rubber plantation on the Island of Basilan. I am the youngest of 12 children 5 of which are boys.

    My father, an American who was a U.S. Navy dental surgeon in the Spanish American war was interned in the Los Banos Japanese concentration camp during WWII.

    The rest of the family spent 3 years hiding and eluding from the Japanese.

    March 16, 1945 Basilan was invaded by units of the 41st. Div.

    Co. B, 1st Batt.,162 Infantry Regiment was assigned to garrison the Island after securing it from the 300 plus Japanese who escaped in to the hills. (This is an excerpt from the 41st. Div. book,"..."B" company got the idyllic mission to garrison Basilan Island-- That paradise of plantations and pretty Filipinas which stretches like a great purple pavilion over the waters to the south of Zamboanga City"  pp207).

    Co. B Co. Capt. James Gray approached my brother Jim with a request,"Could we provide the Army with help as guides and scouts" as their info. on the island was sketchy and only covered one mile from the coast line.

    Repeated efforts were made to induce the Japanese to surrender including pleas from the Japanese Garrison Commander Sakai who was captured early during the invasion to no avail.

    The farming community was ordered to evacuate to the towns but to leave behind their live stock and produce in storage and in the fields presumably as bait. The Island was divided in two, the eastern part delegated to the US Marines and the west to the US Army. Several command post were established one of which was my brother Fred's house which was on a hill and had a commanding view of the farmlands. Two brothers were assigned with each platoon and a third brother stayed behind at Co. Headquarters to provide a positive means of communication. Jim and I were assigned to Lt Warsaw's platoon while Fred and Tom were assigned to Lt. White's platoon. I believe this is the platoon where Sgt. Amador Sanchez was posted.

    I distinctly remember a person matching his description.

    The campaign lasted four months mostly ambushes by us but with some fierce skirmishes when the Japanese were cornered. Eventually a large portion of the Japanese surrendered as the natives in the interior started to go after the Japanese and they were surrounded so to speak.

    At the conclusion of the campaign Capt. Gray awarded each of us brothers with the CIB.

    In January of this year I received notice from the American Legion that I had been nominated to be a member of the organization and accepted. I could not determine who nominated me and how I was eligible since I was never officially inducted into the armed forces. This was a most humbling experience as after 65 years I was honored for my service to my country.

    I am now 82 years old but at the time I described I was 14.

    I was able to locate and purchase the 41st Div. History book. It is a large format and has 544 pages with lots of pictures and personal narratives

    "41st Infantry Division Fighting Jungleers.

    Turner Publishing Co.

    The Front lines of American History Books.

    412 Broadway, P.O.Box 3101

    Paducah, Ky. 42002-3101







FEB. 7, 20011

    My name is Alexis Richard Strong. I was born in the Philippines in my Father's Rubber plantation. My wife Norma was also born in the Philippines in her father's sugar cane plantation. 

    We met some of you before when we donated copies of the Constitution to your class. 

    I would like to share with you my experience of growing up under Japanese occupation in the Philippines during WWII. I want to thank Mr. Giuliani and the Silver Valley Staff for allowing me the privilege of addressing you.


Monday December 8, 1941


    AM My brother Jim just turned on the radio "A state of War exist between the United States and the Empire of Japan, stand by".  Music came on interrupted by farther bulletins. "Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor early this Morning". I heard some body question. Where is Pearl Harbor? 

    My brother Jim  said, War or no War school is still the order of the day.

    My friend and I walked to the Elementary school which was just 2 blocks away. This was my first time away from home. I had just completed my fourth grade in the plantation school (photos) and was enrolled in the Silliman University Elementary fifth grade class an American Mission University.(photo).





    My class room was chaotic, the students were there but no teachers. Shortly a teacher showed up and made this announcement "There will be no classes today (Cheers here) and you are to go home and tell your parents that the school will notify them when classes will resume. That night we experienced our 1st. black out. The 3 story mans dormitory across the street from us was dark, the usual banter and guitar music was absent. The only sound was the wash of the waves along the break water and occasional clip clop of a horse drawn calesa that passed for taxi in the city. It was so quiet that we even spoke in whispers.

    Lily, Jim's wife had a baby girl on Dec. 10, 1941. He decided we should move out of the city as aircraft sighting was becoming more frequent now though we did not know who it belonged to. The site we evacuated to was about 10 miles from the city and had a lot of hot springs. My brother Tom and nephew Eddie stayed behind to watch for any boats that would take us across to the mainland of Mindanao. About mid December Tom came up to us and said that there was a boat leaving for the mainland leaving tonight as sailing during day light was very risky.

    We hurriedly packed and left for the city. That night we sailed towards a town of Dipolog on the mainland.

    Normally it would be an over night trip from our Island to the School. This time it took us 2 months to make the trip.

    Two weeks after we arrived at our home the Japanese invaded our island. While we were on our way home the family had decided to build an evacuation house deep in the forest. A warehouse was also built holding 3 months supply of food and staples. For surely the War would not last longer than that. Well the War lasted longer that that and to add insult to injury a giant mahogany tree fell into the empty warehouse.

    By now we had determined that the occupiers did not have enough troops to control the entire Island and could only hold the main towns and the connecting highways. The family returned to the their respective homes in the interior of our Island being very vigilant as to the movements of the invaders. A plan was devised were each member of the family would put together a bundle of items they would need in case we had to evacuate from our home. This bundle was placed by the door so in an emergency you pick up your bundle as you left the house. Also in case we got separated we agreed to a meeting place.

    My Mother moved in with some friends close to where her car a 1938 Buick was hidden. My friend and I accompanied her. It was then we received a note from my Father through a local Congress man. It was the first word we got from him. He was in Manila on a business trip when war broke out. He said he was in the Los Banos Concentration camp and was OK considering the situation and that my two sisters also in Manila was safe as they registered as Spanish nationals. He asked Mother to register the family as Spanish. My Mother was the daughter of the Spanish garrison commander of our island during the Spanish-American War. The note also asked Mother to give the bearer of the note his hearing aid and electric shaver both of which he never used. This was a mystery request to us until we saw him after the War.

    This was his explanation: 

    The internee population of 2300 of Los Banos contained some talented people. They decided to make a radio receiver. So the word got out to the families outside the camp for items that they could use to make a radio. Fathers contribution was the shaver and hearing aid resistors and capacitors from the hearing aid was reconfigured to form a receiver along with the copper wire from the shaver.. Some how a crystal was obtained from an old radio. (The Filipino people were allowed to have radios as long as the tuner was locked in place to the one Japanese radio station in Manila). Fathers hearing aid ear bud was used to listen to the broadcast.

    The contraption was placed inside a 5 pound metal can of dry beans.

    To turn the radio on, one had to position the can to make contact with certain nail heads on the shelf. For antenna they used the wire clothes line which was strung between the barracks. Frequent surprise inspections was conducted in the barracks but in spite of the starvation conditions in the camp the Japanese never did make the connection to that fact and the full can of dry beans. 

    My Father was a U.S. Navy Dental Surgeon when he left the Navy in 1905. He experimented with the cultivation and production of rubber and is considered to be the Father of the Rubber industry in the Philippines.

    With the help of local authorities who convinced the Japanese that Mother and I were indeed Spaniards. We were issued arm bands to wear while we were in town proclaiming our neutrality. One day while I was in town with some friends all 12 years old we were attracted to a gathering at the local school house. The Japanese commander was delivering a speech on how the Japanese was there to liberate the Filipino people from the oppression of the Americans and to prove his point some of his soldiers had brought out the school American flags and started to kick them around mopping the floor with them until one of the soldiers tried to rip the flag unsuccessfully then using his bayonet to cut it apart. One of my friends  suggested that we should do something about that. We went through the crowed eventually winding up behind the school, climbed up to the window and entered the class room. The door was open and we could see the crowd and I imagine they could see us but thank goodness they did not react. As the soldiers got done with the Flags they threw them back into the class room. We then picked up the pieces and climbed out the window.  We hid behind some bushes and examined our treasure. I had the biggest flag that the school displayed at the main flag pole a red stripe was missing as it was farther out in the porch that I could not recover. My Mother was very upset that I would do such a thing. "Do you know what they would do to you if you got caught? Give it to me so I can burn it in the morning" I went to bed feeling very bad. Later that evening I decided to try to convince Mother not to destroy the flag. Her lamp was still lit and I could see Mother sitting on her bed with the Flag spread before her as she was stitching the pieces together. I kept that Flag until the final days of the liberation when it was burned in a fire.

    The first year of the war was the hardest for us. The people shared what food they had with us until we could grow our own food. Lack of protein was a major problem any minor cut could develop into a tropical ulcer. Our diet consisted mostly of rice, corn and root crops such,  sweet potatoes and Cassava tubers which when properly processed tasted very much like potatoes. The Sago palm also yielded a flour like substance that you cook like flour.

    We had some milk cows that was milked for the children. My friend and I would pasture them and get them ready for milking very early in the morning. After breakfast which usually consisted of a dumpling  made from cassava and a piece of dried fish washed down with spring water. The rest of the day we looked for fruit of any kind  to assuage our hunger as we only had 2 meals a day "We were always hungry." We would then go to the corn field to weed the young plants before the sun got to hot. The corn field was about ten acres and located under the coconut trees

    One morning the field looked different like half the field was empty. As we got closer we realized that a swarm of locust (giant grasshoppers) had attacked our corn and by afternoon all the corn plants as well as the coconut and mango tree leafs were gone. The swarm was so heavy that a six inch size branch of the mango tree broke from the weight of the swarm. There was a bright spot in the disaster. Our farmer neighbor suggested to us if properly prepared locust is an excellent source of protein. So you guessed right we had fried and or sautéed locust for the next several days. (Tasted like shrimp).

    Soon after the towns were secured by the invaders, they called for a meeting of all the elders and imprisoned the whole lot. As a result the people was leaderless and the resistance movement was delayed for at least 6 months. Only after survivors from Bataan and Corregidor arrived at our Island was the Guerilla movement organized. One such person was my cousin a lieutenant in the Philippine Army who survived the Bataan Death March and escaped. As the situation became more unstable we in the interior got cut off from some of our food supply such as salt, fish. Due to the increased activities of the enemy. We organized a salt making  expedition in that we went to an isolated section of sea shore and because of the danger of being caught so time was of the essence. We made some shallow metal pans put salt water into it and built a fire underneath hoping to accelerate the process.

    The result was a grayish substance and very bitter and completely unpalatable.

    Slowly the people begun to get together to trade goods. We met every Saturday at a selected spot where farm produce was traded for fish and other harvest from the sea. But the most important of this was salt naturally evaporated. There was no money involved in the transactions as the Japanese issued currency was valueless and called "Mickey Mouse Money". Those of us that did not have food items to trade used our bed sheets, blankets and other materials. One popular item was socks which was unraveled to obtain sewing thread. Meanwhile on Norma's Island her brother come up with a hot trading item. Sawing needles made from bicycle spokes

    My brothers rigged up a water wheel at a nearby stream collected all the generators and batteries from the motor vehicles that were inoperative due to lack of fuel and provided us with night lights. But much more important we were able to listen to short wave radio broadcast from KGEI San Francisco (later identified as The Voice of Freedom) until the invasion of North Africa Nov. 8, 1943 "Operation Torch" when water got into the radio and shorted it out. Later we also rigged the water wheel to grind corn and mill rice.

    First radio contact between the guerillas in Mindanao and America was made by Col. Wendel Fertig via short wave radio KGEI San Francisco. Before being acknowledge and suspecting a Japanese trick he had to go through an elaborate verification process i.e.; What is your Mother's maiden name, what color is her eyes etc. Contact was also made by members of the Faculty of Silliman University resulting in their being evacuated to Australia via submarine.

    After contact was established submarines started to bring supplies to the underground Army.

    Jim negotiated with a farmer who had a 5 acre field of sugar cane for 3 bed sheets. On condition that we did the processing our self with the supervision of the farmer using his equipment.

    This was the procedure:

    1-Cut the sugar cane close to the ground and cut off the top for future replanting.

    2-Haul the cane to the mill using a water buffalo (Carabao) drawn sled

    3-Crush the cane with a roller driven by a Carabao.

    4-The juice is directed to a series of iron vats which is located over a furnace. As the     juice is heated evaporating the water it is transferred to the next vat till finally the     5th vat is where the molasses is formed.

    5- The farmer who is experienced in such things determines that the molasses is ready to be     converted to sugar.

    6- The Molasses is transferred to a shallow wooden pan where men with shovel stir the     molasses until it granulates into golden brown sugar.

    This is a 24-7 non stop operation until done.


    Another item that was in short supply and finally non existent was soap. My brother experimented with lye soap. The first batch was a disaster it would not solidify burned your hand and ate through cloths that came in contact with it. As far as I can remember this was the formula and procedure:


    1-Put wood ash into a metal container whose bottom is perforated.

    2-Pour water into the container and catch the water as it drips. (This is Lye and very     corrosive)

    3-In the proper proportion add coconut oil, salt and aromatics.

    4-Boil until the concoction solidifies.


    By the end of the war we were making soap that was suitable for bathing mild and fragrant.

    Meanwhile the effort to improve our food supply continues. We have learned how to plow and prepare the soil for planting resulting in bumper crops of corn and rice we shared our surplus with the guerillas as by necessity they could not take time to do.

    We are now raising our own chickens, pigs and cattle but the problem was preserving the meat as there was no refrigeration. Salting and drying (jerky) was the only options. My sister experimented with making ham and bacon. After finding a source of saltpeter she eventually came up with excellent ham and bacon that served us well for the rest of the war

    The year is 1943 and the guerrilla movement has flourished forcing the Japanese to be more isolated in their fortified towns. They armored plated their passenger buses with steel plates and travailed at very high speeds to minimize opportunity by snipers as the traveled between towns. The guerillas were extremely mobile as they were mounted on horses and could react quickly to Japanese movement making those of us living in the interior much safer.

    Medicine of any kind was of very short supply. We resorted to herbal medicine as practiced by the local Herbal Practitioners. Malaria was a very serious malady among the population. Fortunately the Cinchona tree that Quinine was derived from grew on our Island. No one in the family suffered any serious illness.

    Word had come to us that an American GI was in a small town about 20 miles from us and was very seriously ill. Our rubber company doctor was still with us as he was unable to return to his home when the war started. Together with him we went to see the GI who turned out to be a Marine Sergeant Reid Chamberlain trying to escape to Australia. He had a bad case of Malaria and the Doctor instructed the local nurse on how to process the cinchona bark . Raid Chamberlain was later written up in the Marine magazine "Leatherneck" relating to his adventure in WWII.

    March 1944. Our daily lives had now settled to a routine. We were relatively safe and we were getting more to eat. Little did we know of the exciting times ahead. One morning we heard gunfire coming from the direction of the town. Our home looked down into the town. There were 2 Japanese destroyers in the harbor and they were firing at a lone 4 engine aircraft flying across the town obviously an American plane. None of the shots came close. It was a B-24 (Photo) bomber apparently on reconnaissance. This airplane became very familiar to us during the invasion.



    July we woke to the sound of aircraft engines, lots of them. This was the first time we saw single engine carrier planes supporting B-24s as they attacked the city of Zamboanga 10 miles across the channel from us. This became an almost daily event so much so that every morning at 9:00 AM we would climb to a hill side and get settled for the show across the channel. One morning we saw 2 freighters hugging the shore line of our island heading into the harbor of the town of Isabella. Off to our right was a mangrove swamp where a flock of white Herons roosted so we did not pay attention when we saw a bunch of them flying around until they formed a circle over the boats and opened fire They turned out to be P-38s (Photo). On one firing pass the P-38 came over us and dropped what we thought was the biggest bomb we have ever seen and it was heading right for us. We cleared that hill side in record time going through or over a 4 strand barbed wire fence with out a scratch. We later found out our big bomb was a empty auxiliary gas tank. Both freighters were sunk.


    We begun to see results of this submarine supply. Cigarette packs and books of matches with the "I shall Return" logo that was intended to be casually dropped around town and Guerillas sporting the new American M1 carbine and M1 Garand.

    Engagement between the Japanese and guerillas was becoming more frequent and vicious  Japanese reprisals was such (5 civilians executed for every Japanese dead) that our guerillas were ordered to stop making contact just contain them in the towns as surely the day of reckoning was approaching.

    Oct. 20 1944. A lone B-24 flew over our village at almost tree top level as it banked I could see movement at the waist gun mount then something dropped and spread like confetti it was the leaflets announcing the American landings Leyte (Photo).



    The next few months were very hectic though still confined to the towns. The enemy was sending out foraging parties to try and supplement their dwindling food supply. A company of guerillas were now constantly near by. One raid caught us by surprise. It happened at 1:00 o'clock in the morning.

    They left their truck about a mile away and sneaked up to our house on foot. They did a quick search and finding nothing to steal they left which was a good thing for they got to their truck before the guerrillas caught up with them.

    March 8, 1945 as usual we were on our hillside waiting for the show when a farmer on the road with his Carabao said, "Buena's Dias Senior Jim, Did you see the boats." Jim said what boats and where. He pointed to the West. Upon reaching the road we saw the western horizon full of boats of all size. Thus begin the invasion and eventual Liberation of our Island. The armada sailed right by the city with out a single shot being fired though the air force continued bombing. Much to our disappointment the last boat disappeared to the east just at sundown. About 6:00 PM we heard large caliber gunfire coming from the channel. It appears Operation Victor IV The Invasion of Zamboanga", was in progress. The bombardment continued for 3 days until on Mar. 11 the landing commenced by elements of the 41st Division. All territories south of our Island was still under Japanese control. So we were bypassed by 2 picket destroyers criss crossing the channel between our island and Zamboanga.

    The Japanese garrison went on a rampage of burning and killing. We could no longer stay at our house. Every night we slept in a different location still guarded by our escorts. We were running out of safe places to hide and perhaps due to our sleeping outdoors one of the children developed a bad cough so we had to pick a spot close to the rapids of the river were the noise could hide her coughing. March 14, 1945. Jim, Tom and I with a couple of Moro paddlers went to intercept the destroyer with an out rigger canoe. As we got closer it looked that they would not slow down. Then one of the destroyers pulled over broad side almost swamping our little boat. Every gun on that warship was trained towards us. "Identify your self" Boomed the bull horn. None of us could say a word. Then Jim spotted a dark face among the crew lining the rails. Jim pointed to him and said "Who is Heavy weight Champion?"  "Joe Lewis" he said. That broke the ice. We were ordered to approach. A rope ladder was lowered and we climbed aboard. The steel deck of the destroyer was painfully hot that we were standing from foot to foot. The skipper ordered some list (paper) slippers be brought from sick bay for us to use.

    Jim explained to the skipper our predicament on the island and requested aid. The skipper said he was not in a position or had the man power to help us. However he could transport one of us to Zamboanga and contact the Army. Tom volunteered to go. So he stayed behind while the rest of us returned to Basilan.

    Nothing happened for the next 3 days except every morning an observation plane (Army L-4 Piper Cub) circled over the area were we were hiding. And by pre arraignment between Tom and Jim, Jim would show himself waiving a white cloth indicating that we were OK.

    March 18, 1945. My friend and I were up to our routine herding cows for milking.

    When we heard the sound of engines, that could only mean Japanese and to reinforce that assumption we saw a white star painted on the side of the truck door. We know the Japanese sailors had an anchor insignia on their caps while the Japanese soldiers a white star. We high tailed it back to our home and got there before the 2 trucks. Upon sounding the alarm the family picked up their bundles and was on the way out and the guerilla contingent assumed their defensive position. As the lead truck entered the drive way one man got out of the cab of the lead truck removed his helmet and with both hands lifted his rifle over his head. IT WAS MY BROTHER TOM!

    We quickly boarded the trucks and headed for the capital town of Isabella. about 10 miles distant. It took some time as all the bridges were destroyed and the trucks had to ford the rivers. As we approached the town you got a clear view of the plaza in front of the stone fort. The plaza had a pinkish tinge to it. Only when we were next to it was the mystery revealed -- GIs in their shorts soaking in the sun. When we shifted our view from this remarkable sight to our right. The town was completely destroyed. We moved into 2 houses at the far end of town that some how escaped the devastation.

    Shortly after we got settled Captain James Gray Co. of "B" company 162 Rgmt. 41st Division solicited help from my brother Jim as the U.S. Army was short on information with regards to the interior of our island.  Consequently three of us brothers acted as scouts and guides during the mopping up (Pacification campaign) of our island. My two other brothers who before the war were responsible for the operation of the rubber plantation and the 3 sawmills were busy trying to get the company back in operation.

    The Japanese garrison in Basilan was made up of 300 solders and sailors who went up into the mountains. For some reason their commander was captured and was in custody. There was still some concern that reinforcements may be filtering up the Island chain from Borneo.  An all out effort was made to get them to surrender to no avail

    Disturbing reports began to show that those survivors was resorting to predatory activities coming into the farms at night and stealing food and live stock. It was then the decision was made to go after them.

    The farmers were ordered evacuated in to town but to leave the crops and live stock behind. One day a week they were allowed access to their farms to tend to their animals.

    My brother Fred's house was located on a hill and overlooked the valley so was picked as a command post for a platoon of soldiers. Other sites were also manned. Slowly the survivors were captured and some surrendered but others fought to the end.

    June 1945 My father had returned from Walter Reed Hospital when he was rescued from the Los Banos Concentration camp. He had lost a lot of weight and was suffering from Beri Beri Vitamin B deficiency.

    Because of his knowledge of producing rubber and its importance to the War effort he was immediately flown to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. Then after his recovery flown back to Basilan and within a month we were producing rubber. 

    Sept. 1945 We were having breakfast when a rubber tapper (worker that collects liquid latex from the rubber trees) came up to the house and said he saw a Japanese soldier walking among the trees.

    All of us got up and went for our guns. All of us except Tom and Me. Dad said you two have work to do. My brothers Fred and Jim with my cousin army lieutenant went to investigate. In the process of the search my cousin was shot on his left shoulder. Jim could not get a clear shot until my cousin fell then he fired. Later I used that Japanese rifle to hunt crocodiles and found out that chamber of the gun was so badly pitted that the only way you could reload was to open the bolt place the rifle butt on the ground and kick the bolt open. Jim felt so bad when I told him this because when he was looking at the soldier through his sight the man was looking at his rifle then looking up at Jim and there was no way he could have fired again. But of course Jim did not know this.

    After making my rounds to haul latex to the mill I was told to bring my Model A Ford flat bed truck behind our house. From there I was directed into the rubber trees to where the dead soldier was. He was loaded in my truck and I drove back to our back yard.

    An Army intelligence officer conducted a search of the body. As I watched I begun to feel a strange sensation that I did not experience before. The dead soldiers clothes was in tatters and patched. His shoes was held together with wire and he had a tin can with a wire bail that he apparently used for cooking. The officer pulled out what appeared to be a wallet and started to pull out papers. Then the picture came out. In it was a woman and a child. Then I realized that sensation I was feeling was sorrow. I felt sorry for the man. When before I saw enemy dead I was so callous as to think these were objects to be eliminated.

    I heard some time ago that the veneer of civilization is so thin that it does not take much to break through and reveal the worst in us I think that day I reacquired that veneer.



A special "Thank You" is extended to Mr. Alexis R. "Alex" Strong for supplying the story material above and especially for his valuable service during World War II.




Original Story transcribed from e-mail messages submitted beginning on 10 June 2011.

Story originally submitted on: 5 June 2011.


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