S: Um, This is Giles Munsey, he serves as a captain in the army in WWII. He was born on May 3rd, 1929. Today’s date is April 17th, 2008 in Arcadia, California and my name is Sara Chang and um, I guess I am a (unintelligible) of Arcadia. This is…this interview is being conducted for the Arcadia Veterans History Project and the Library of Congress. So can you tell us um… where you were born?
G: I was born in Alhambra, California.
S: Um…Parent’s Occupations?
G: Well, my father was a travel man, he traveled a lot and when we moved to Alhambra, he had a gasoline station and then a battery manufacture business.
S: Umm…the number of siblings and gender you had?
G: 1 brother.
S: What were you doing before you were drafted into the service?
G: I attended Pasadena Junior College.
S: Did you have any relatives that served
G: In what?
S: Um, uh…okay
G: Oh, my father served in WWI, My wife who served in the navy in WWII.
S: What about your brother?
G: My brother is 12…was 12 years younger than I was and served in the navy but not during the war.
S: How did you enter the service?
G: I was drafted.
S: And, um, where did you go train?
G: My basic training as enlisted man was at Camp Roberts in California.
S: Um, how was…how was it like in the area?
G: Uh, well, it was 13 weeks of training, intensive training. My training was in heavy weapons, I was enlisted man and then I applied for officers training and was accepted.
S: Um…Did you have any specialized training?
G: I was…well, went to infantry officer school which is in Fort (unintelligible) in Georgia.
S: How was it like adapting to military life?
G: I didn’t have any problems, I spent a lot of years at boy scouts and camp and I had some regimentation there and uhh it was no problem there.
S: How were the physical conditions?
G: It was not difficult for me.
S: What about the barracks?
G: I was in many different kinds of barracks; they were all reasonably comfortable to me.
S: Dating and social life?
G: Well, we didn’t have any time for much social life because we were busy training for the war.
S: Okay, so, um, did you only serve in the U.S.?
G: I served not only in the U.S., but I served two in half years in Europe, Italy, France, and Germany.
S: Uh…What are the details of your training?
G: I don’t exactly know what you mean.
S: Oh, how did you, uh, journey on a ship to Europe?
G: OH, I went to Europe from Newport(unintelligible connecting word), Virginia then landed in Missouri then we went uh to Africa and from Africa we went to the Naples area and joined the 3rd division and then we went North of Naples in Italy.
S: Mm…okay… that’s how you got there? Did you witness any action, you in action once you go to Italy?
G: (Nods) Yes, I was in action from then on; we were all in action in 3Rd division was in. I was in a total of 7 campaigns and I think the division was in uh… 9 campaigns the division I was in and there were about 2 campaigns before I was…came in.
S: What were the campaigns like?
G: They were combat. There were in Italy south of the (unintelligible) river it was tough fighting, the division was on the (unintelligible) beach head after we captured Rome, we were pulled out of the line we trained with other troops then lined in southern France.
G: We, uh, once we reached the Rhine River, we were assigned for several months to the first French army to clear out an area what was call the Cold Water Pocket and then we were back.
S: What were your emotions related to combat?
G: I didn’t like it.
S: What was it like witnessing everything?
G: It was shocking, but uh, it’s just part of army life and combat.
S: What about the destruction?
G: Well, we saw major destruction and once we got into Germany, some of the buildings and towns were bombed out completely. French campaign was pretty much fast moving from where we were, Italy was uh…tough fighting and from then on it was fairly easy except for certain pitch battles that would last for a few days.
S: Um, did you find any friendships?
G: uh, well of course I was with the same group with officers and men for a 2 and a half years, so yes I had some friends but none of them continued after I left the service.
S: Um, how did you stay in touch with your family and friends back home?
S: Was it uh, did it take a long time?
G: It took a long time; we would go for weeks without receiving mail because we were moving in a combat situation and took a while for mail to catch up with us.
S: How did you send letter back home?
S: Did you wait for the postal?
G: Well we would send it up to the infantry and I don’t’ know what happened there they finally got back to the U.S., I didn’t write that often.
S: What about recreation off duty?
G: Well, we had…once we got to France and the situation became more fluid and more rapid movement, the officers and men were allowed to take uh brief leave like one week leaves, I visited Paris on leave and I visited the French Riviera on leave and some people were able to go to London.
S: Have you been back yet?
G: No I haven’t been back.
S: What it different from
G: Paris was uh, fine, functionally the metro was functioning, I was able to get all over town using the subway the military personnel would not charge any fees or riding the metro, if you had a map you could go anywhere you wanted to.
S: So where were you when the war ended in Europe and when?
G: When the war ended in Europe we were in Slosberg, Austria we already go there, we were heading down farther than where it was declared and we were heading down in…and we pulled out and spent a month in Slosberg.
S: what were you going to do before you left?
G: well we were going to clean up any German troops that were still down there. Then the war ended Uhh…So that was it.
S: How did you …
G: Well I stayed on occupation for a while in western Germany, and when I left to finally come home…I went to…Laharve in France and my shift, from the Laharve to New York, then I crossed the country back to California.
S: Um…How was your reception by your family?
G: Oh, they were happy to see me; it had been three years since I had been with them.
S: Were there a lot of friends from high school or junior high school that were also drafted?
G: I…took up with my all of my friends I had prior to the war, we got together regularly went back to school on the G.I. Bill then I got back, I went to USC, I got into USC, several of my old friends that been in service were…at that time.
S: How was being adjusted back to civilian life?
G: I didn’t have any particular problems.
S: So do you still contact with your fellow veterans?
G: No uh, not with the group I was with in the service, I still have contacts a few other friends and some other veterans that I have met through the years of service but none of those that were in the 30th infantry or the 3rd division.
S: Do you have membership in the Veterans…?
G; No, I don’t
S: So…How did wartime experience affect your life?
G: Well, it changed my career plans; I was uhh…music major in school before the war, and when I went back I took a business course instead I didn’t go back to music.
S: What did you play?
G: I play the clarinet and the saxophone.
S: Oh, really? Me too. I play the clarinet.
G: Is that right?
G: I played the…I played in high school and junior college and dance bands uhh…professionally.
S: So, you were going to be a music player or…music major?
G: Yeah, I was a music major at PJC.
S: So because of the war drafted you…you changed your major?
G: Yeah I decided I wouldn’t go back into music.
S: Do you still play?
G: I still play the piano…I had taken courses… (Interrupted by ringing of phone)
G: Now, where was I?
S: Uhh…music major.
G: I had taken enough music courses I…used to write orchestrations for the dance band and I had studied harmony and theory and so forth so I was able to teach myself piano.
S: Really? Haha…that’s amazing. So what life lessons have you learn from the military service?
G: I don’t…I really don’t have any major lessons I learn from the military god, I just felt like it was necessary, as a matter of fact, I tried to enlist in the navy as soon as the war began at the time but because of my vision I couldn’t pass the physical test so I waited to be drafted. And that’s why I was drafted. But uh…the whole experience…and still the patriotism, I still very patriotic to the United States.
S: You said you were enlisted again or…did you?
G: I, well, I …Pearl Harbor been bombed and it was obvious we’d began war in fact they already declared way and I wanted to get into action as soon as possible. Some of my friends used there music experience to join army bands and I didn’t because I didn’t want to take that path.
S: So you did you first get drafted and then you enlisted back into the army or?
G: well, I attempted to enlist and couldn’t get into the navy because they wouldn’t trust eyes that soon with glasses on them, so later I could’ve got into the navy because they had to relax their physical requirements. But I then I waited and I was drafted and then went in the infantry and like I said before I went to the officer’s training.
S: What was one thing that you remembered…what was your most memorable moment?
G: Nothing stands out as uh…the greatest experience it’s all kind of a montage now.
S: Haha, Okay, so, uh, I think yeah that about wraps up our interview.