My dad (A. O. Hawkins, 1915-1992) was a WW2 veteran from Tillman County, OK. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he was stationed at Schoefield Barracks. He came stateside and was cadre after that. He used to tell his Pearl Harbor story over and over through the years. He talked about Fort Sill and what he called "Camp Polk" in Louisiana. Then he went to Europe and was at the Battle of the Bulge and a third battle -- he talked about the Hurtgen Forest and the Black Forest. I remember him talking about General Patton but I don't know if he was in Patton's 3rd Army or not. Anyhow, he had 3 battle stars. I am really not sure what the 3rd one was for. I don't think he cared much for Eisenhower, but would always follow that up by saying "but he was made commander because he could get along everyone, like a politician." Now I remember Dad saying this before the movie "Patton" came out, but the movie confirmed what he said.
Having been raised during the Dust Bowl, Dad was a member of the generation that strongly supported and set up the "New Deal". Dad was a life long Democrat.
About Pearl Harbor, here is a short version. His version would last half an hour or longer. He said they were on alert and had taken their Artillery pieces over the mountain to the coast of Hawaii -- wish I knew why they'd been "on alert". Well they just came back to their barracks on Saturday -- bringing the artillery over mountain roads in the mud was back breaking work and he was very tired when breakfast was served Sunday Morning. He nearly slept in skipping breakfast. Well he changed his mind and got up, and walked down to the chow line. They saw unexpected airplanes in the distance. Still it was no big deal -- being attacked was the last thing on anybody's mind -- it never dawned on them . . . dad said in a few seconds people in the chow line were falling, but they at first thought it was play acting. When they realized it was for real Dad said he and some others ran to the supply building, busted the door down and shot at the planes with what weapons they found inside.
After Dad passed away Mom said she was always proud of Dad cause she said usually when people told Pearl Harbor stories they talked about running for cover but dad never mentioned that.
Once in Europe a couple of years later, Dad used to tell me he couldn't stand the commander of his battery -- Captain so-&-so -- it wouldn't be appropriate for me to mention his name. He didn't like him because he said he was always going into French peoples homes and looting them, carting off their liquor supply -- dad never drank alcohol. He said once his commander had them put boxes of liquor on the back of the truck he was riding in, and dad said later he tossed it off the back of the truck to splatter on the road -- he was so mad about being asked to loot the liquor from that place. He didn't like looting those peoples homes and he didn't like liquor either.
He once told of a joke where somebody'd replaced insect repellent with strawberry jam -- somebody rubbed it all over themselves to keep insects off and instead drew them to them. Dad loved the TV show "Mash" cause of the constant practical jokes -- said people really did things like that -- but he said it was the enlisted men, not the officers -- the officers were not funny at all. The enlisted men were the practical jokers.
He had so many stories I am afraid they will be lost and forgotten.
Dad had a brother, Joe Hawkins who went island hopping in the Pacific. A third brother, Eual Lee Hawkins, was killed in Normandy. All three were in the Army. Mom had a brother, Jim Plaster, who was in the Marines. Now Uncle's Joe and Jim were raised less than a mile apart on neighboring farms -- they knew each other since they were very small. I was told they were on some of the same islands at the same time, but they never knew it until they came home after the war. Uncle Jim married an Australian nurse who came to Oklahoma -- Aunt Rita never lost her strong Aussie accent until she died.
When dad got back stateside after the war he said he was so sad and upset when he'd heard they buried is baby brother Eual Lee Hawkins in France -- he said nobody wanted to be buried over there. Uncle Eual Lee was just 17 or 18 when he was killed. My mother told me grandma remained upset at the U. S. Army the rest of her life -- apparently he was sent to battle before he had even completed his training.