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MEMORIES OF WORLD WAR 2

Mervyn Mitton

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When Nick first told us a few weeks ago that he was setting up a special Blog for GMIC members - I must be honest and
say my first thoughts were - ' whatever for - we have the Forum' for that purpose'

Well, I've thought it over, I've read the blogs from other members and have enjoyed them - and now I agree with him, that this gives us a freedom of expression that is not available on the open Forums. Thinking of a subject has been difficult - but, I do
wish to support Nick - he runs the backbone of this special Forum almost singlehanded - the Mods. are mainly his
watchdogs and committee.

I would like to make it clear to anyone who does read this, that it is new to me. I have made a few pages of notes with regard to early memories - but, that's it ! I am - like many of our members - a published author in the non.fiction World and this does give me an advantage as I enjoy the expressiveness of English and it's descriptive abilities. However, as with my posts on GMIC I write as I go along - I rarely do a lot of research - therefore, I will have the odd spelling mistake - or, go off track.
As I write memories will come back so, I may well go off at a tangent to explain a point. Bear with me - you may even find this old history interesting ?

THE PLOT THICKENS......

So, my heading says 'Memories of World War 2 ' . Your first reaction could well be - but, it's all been done before -
everbody and his dog have written-up the battles - the regiments - the heroes. Well, that is what GMIC is all about, so at least I know I will have knowledgeable readers. Well, probably all one or, two of you ?

There is one important detail you have missed - in 2 months I will hit the distinguished old age of 75 ! I was born in December 1936 - and am therefore in a unique position of being able to cover ' my bit of the War ' from the perspective of a small boy who lived in London for the entire 5 years of WW2.



(i AM PAUSING AT THIS POINT TO SEE IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE ME TO CONTINUE. i THOUGHT AT WEEKLY
INTERVALS ? DON'T BE FRIGHTENED OF TELLING ME TO B........ OFF !
ALSO , I HOPE IT WILL GIVE MANY MORE MEMBERS THOUGHTS OF THEIR OWN BLOG - 2ND BUTTON AT TOP)



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I was born in 1946 - missed the War. But I remember my father talking some about it. I have his photos - so he did not talk too much. So here is his story. Captain Albert

George was born 23 Jan 1921 in Santa Clara, CA as Joseph Oberti. Father Giovanni Oberti change the family name to Albert. He became John Louis Albert. George Finished the 8th Grade in school. He was banded as a child and left with his mother's parents until 1928 when his grandfather Jose Sanchez Castro died. He lived on his own with his younger brother Louis John Albert. George was enrolled at the age of 17 At Medford, Oregon. His serial# was CC9-24684 and he served from 20 Jul 1938 to 16 Oct.1938 with Company 919 at Camp Leaf F-350 at Bray, CA. He next served from 17 Oct. 1938 to 21 Dec.1938 with Company 919 at Camp Redding F-391 at Redding, CA. Most of his duties were in road building and fire fighting. He was discharged on 21 Dec.1938 and given transportation back to San Francisco, CA.

George J. Albert entered the Merchant Marine service on 24 Apr.1939 at the Port of San Francisco CA his service no. was #Z44381. He was entered as an Ordinary Seaman of the Deck Department on American Vessels of 100 Tons gross and upwards. He was also endorsed for the Engine Dept. as a wiper, and in the Stewards Dept as a Cabin Steward, Messman and Utilityman. George was discharged at Ventura, CA on 24 Apr.1942 after his last coastwise voyage on the S.S. Mericos H. Whitter, an oil tanker (this was the only discharge I could find) to base his service and decorations upon. There are a few photographs of the CCC days and Merchant Marine voyages alone with his WWII pictures. George's service with the Merchant Marine entitled him to the Merchant Marine emblem (badge) and a Honorable discharge form from the U.S. Coast Guard, Merchant Vessel Division (received 1995).

George was inducted into the Army on 10 Nov.1942 at San Francisco, CA. He entered active service on 17 Nov.1942, his service # was 39 031 944. He entered basic training at Camp Robinson, Ark. from 17 Nov.1942 to 11 Jan. 1943. He was selected for training as a pioneer and sent to Hingham. Mass. he was assigned to Company B, 132nd Combat Engineers. At Hingham, Mass. he received training as a combat Engineer, Winter training, mountain climbing and mountain combat. This training was for the European Theater.

The 132nd combat Engineers regrouped at Fringham, Mass. and moved to Fort Devons, Texas on 11 Sept.1943. They trained at Fort Devons until 12 Oct.1943. The 132nd next moved to the Naval jungle training center at Fort Pierce, Fl. They trained for jungle and amphibious operations. While at Fort Pierce the 132nd qualified with the "new" M-1 garand rifle. George scored Sharpshooter with the new rifle on 20 Oct.1943. The 132nd was at Fort Pierce until 22 Nov. 1943. The 132nd next moved to Camp Pickett, VA. and left on 7 Mar.1944. They were next sent to Fort Lawton, Seattle, Washington on 11 Mar.1944. They left Fort Lawton on 27 Mar.1944 on the Dutch ship . The 132nd arrived at Fort Base, Oahu Island, Territory of Hawaii on 13 Apr.1944.

The 132nd left Pearl Harbor on the U.S.S. Comet AP-166 (transport) enroute to the Pacific Theater on 9 Jul.1944. 'They stopped at Eniwetok Island (Marshall Islands). They left Eniwetok Island on 16 Jul.1944 enroute in temporary transportation Division 38.

23 Jul.1944 amphibious assault landings with the 77th Infantry Division at Agat Beach, Guam (Marianna Islands) - Eastern Mandates Campaign. All elements of the 132nd earned an arrowhead for this assault on the first major American Base retaken from the Japanese. My father told me (George J. Albert Jr.) they had received a star on the American Campaign ribbon for this action. (I believe that was the story at the time, they did receive an arrowhead on their Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal). As part of the 77th Division the 132nd Combat Engineers left Guam on the U.S.S. Callaway APA-35 (attack Transport) on 2 Nov. 1944. On 16 Nov.1944 they arrived at Manus 1 (Admiralty Islands) - Bismarck Archipelago Campaign (16 Nov-l8 Nov. 1944). At least B Company 132nd Combat Engineers engaged in the amphibious assault. Left Manus 1 on 18 Nov.1944.

Here I have a problem with my father's DD-21 4 (Report of Separation) which lists his next campaign as the Southern Philippines Campaign (27 Feb.-4 Jul 1945). The history of the 132nd Combat Engineers (Daily Diamond WWII Souvenir edition) gives the next campaign as Leyte, Philippine Island Campaign (17 Oct. 1944-1 Jul.1945). From copies of my father's military records I wrote for he was credited with the Leyte Campaign, so the DD-214 is wrong. Further more his medical records for the periods of combat are missing. I checked these records as my father (George J. Albert Sr.) had told us (myself George J. Albert Jr., my brother Jerrold G. Albert and my mother Mary Albert) that he had been wounded 2 or 3 days after the first landing on Leyte.

The story goes that a Japanese Zero strafed the beach where they were unloading materials, and a D-9 cat driven by PC George Alport (a friend of my fathers) caught fire. My father pulled Alport off the burning cat and rolled him in the sand, this caused burns to my fathers hands. PFC George J. Albert was not awarded a Purple Heart although he did have his hands treated at a first aid station. My mother remember this event and remembered receiving letters from my father written by others at the time. He wasn't able to use his hands for about 3 months. My father was told that the medical records of the 132nd Combat Engineers were lost off Okinawa. I believed this is very true for the medical records I did get on my father deal with the time prior to and after the combat period. A history of the Pacific Campaigns states that the 77th Division withstood intensive air attacks for the first 3 days of the campaign on Leyte. The History of the 132nd Combat Engineers and that of the 77 Division gives their arrival in the Letye campaign as the 23nd of Nov.1944. As far as I can tell my father was wounded on the 26th of Nov. 1944. The 132nd Combat Engineers earned the Philippine Presidential Unit award for the Leyte Campaign.

On 7 MAr.1945 the 132nd left leyte Island aboard LST 1260. On the 26th of Mar.
1945 they assaulted Kerma Rhettos (Western Pacific Campaign) they left the
same day. they next assaulted Toksahik Shima on 30 Mar.1945 (Western Pacific
Campaign). They laid off Okinawa and watched the naval bombardment. On 16
Apr.1945 the 132nd assaulted El Shima (little Island) (Ryukyu Campaign 26 Mar-
2 Jul 1945).

My father had some experiences on El Shima he told me about. One had to do with him and a PFC Albert Armijo who dispatch a few Japanese soldiers in a cave with grenades. On 2 July 1945 my father PFC George J. Albert participated in the dedication of the Ernie Pyle memorial. Ernie Pyle was very well known War correspondent, who was killed by a Japanese sniper while with the 77th Div. on El Shima. On 19 Aug.1945 PFC George J. Albert was an Honor Guard on the flight line at El Shima when the Japanese Peace Envoys landed and transferred from Betty bombers to C-54's enroute to General Mac Authur in the Philippines to receive the surrender terms and their return. The 1118th Engineer Group (132nd and 242nd) were the only units of the original invasion force that remained on El Shima after the 77th Infantry Division was relieved. My father was given a special booklet of the event with photographs.

2 Oct.1945 boarded LSM 499 for Japan. 4 Oct 1945 caught in a typhoon, which put a number of our ships out of commission. 17 Oct.1945 arrived as garrison
troops at Shikoku, Japan. First American troops to land except for a small
advanced party of the 24th Infantry Division camped near Matsuyama. 16 Nov.
1945 left Matsuyama for 11th replacement center. 17 Nov. 1945 arrived 11th
replacement center. Left 11th replacement center 3 Dec.1945 for shipment to
Seattle, Washington. Arrived in the United States (Zone of the Interior) 18 Dec.
1945. Sent to Camp Beale, CA and discharged from the Army 30 Dec.1945.
Highest Rank held Private First Class.

Awards Entitled to:
PURPLE HEART MEDAL 26 Nov 1944, Leyte, PI (Never awarded)
ARMY GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL
AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL
ASATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN MEDAL with 1 ARROWHEAD & 1 SILVER CAMP STAR
WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL
ARMY OF WWII OCCUPATION with Bar JAPAN
PHlLIPPINE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT AWARD
PHILIPPINE LIBERATION MEDAL with 1 ARROWHEAD & 1 BRONZE CAMP STAR
MERCHANT MARINE EMBLEM
SHARPSHOOTER QUALIFICATION BADGE bar RIFLE

[brøderbund Family Archive #110, Vol. 1, Ed. 4, Social Security Death Index: U.S., Social Security Death Index, Surnames from A through L, Date of Import: Aug 2, 1997, Internal Ref. #1.111.4.6133.111]

After WW2 George spent 2 years being treated at the veteran Hospital for Shell shock. He worked for Daries, as Bordens, and Golden State Daries. This continued until he surffered 2 detached retinas and had surgery. He could no longer work in the daries. Went to Mich. in 1958 to go in partners with brother in law Percy (Perry) Wraught, did not work out, Perry lied about debt. George and Family returned to Bay Area and lived with relatives wife's sister Amanda Berticelli and later niece Darlene Moyle. George got work as a janitor and gardener for fist East Palo Alto schools and late Sequioa High school in Redwood City. He retired on disability due to his eyes in 1976. He died in Redwood City May 26, 1980, He was a very good, fun loving, warm man. He is missed very much by all that knew him especially his family whom he loved dearly, And whom love him.


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