Korean War Legacy Project

Charles Earnest Berry


Charles Earnest Berry served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. As a black soldier stationed in the southern part of the United States, he faced numerous challenges, including segregation, prejudice, and discrimination. Over time, the United States Army became integrated, and he was able to witness this significant change. In the Korean War, he fought in the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir, where he was captured and later managed to escape. He recounts the horrors of the battle and how the war impacted his views on life. For instance, he contemplated fighting for a country that would not let him sit where he wanted. He takes pride in having served in the US Army for twenty-two years.

Video Clips

Integration in the US Army

Charles Earnest Berry discusses his first experience with integration. He recalls the Sergeant instructing the men in his unit to pick their bunks in an integrated fashion. He noticed that Black soldiers selected bunks on one side of the room, while the White soldiers chose bunks on the opposite side. He remembers the Sergeant then forcing the unit to integrate by instructing Black and White soldiers to certain bunks near each other.

Tags: Basic training,Home front,Pride

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Arrested in Greenville, South Carolina

Charles Earnest Berry discusses an incident where he and other Black troops were arrested in Greenville, South Carolina. He recalls the treatment they experienced from local police officers and a Military Policeman (MP). He provides details about the charges that were brought against the MP for his treatment of the soldiers.

Tags: Basic training,Home front

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Experiences with Chinese Soldiers and Rethinking War

Charles Earnest Berry discusses fighting the Chinese and how quick and mobile they were since they carried less equipment than the American soldiers. He explains how the Chinese would put human waste on their bayonets to increase the chances of wounds becoming infectious. He recounts finding an entire National Guard unit dead and hauling dead bodies from the front. All of this made him rethink war. He shares that when his mom asked what he would like her to package and mail, he requested liquor instead of cookies.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Jangjin,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Letters,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Capture and Escape

Charles Earnest Berry discusses the severe cold weather in Korea and being captured at the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir. He describes how he was able to escape and safely return to American lines despite the challenging circumstances. He recalls the massive waves of Chinese soldiers and heavy artillery bombardments that he and his fellow soldiers endured during their time in Korea.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Jangjin,Chinese,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,POW,Weapons

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The Role of Aircraft at the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir

Charles Earnest Berry remembers witnessing American aircraft attacking the Chinese and North Koreans. He saw pilots dipping their wings to American soldiers. He describes arriving at a bombed bridge and having to wait for the bridge to be airlifted, which rendered a loss of people and equipment during the wait. He describes how the USS Missouri firing on the enemy and how he was evacuated from Korea after being wounded.

Tags: 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir, 11/27-12/13,Jangjin,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Lessons Learned from the Korean War

Charles Earnest Berry offers an overview of how the Korean war affected his beliefs on mortality, on people, and on coming back to the United States. He recalls the challenges he faced upon returning home, despite having fought for his country. He shares how being denied the ability to sit where he wanted back home made him question the purpose of his service.

Tags: Home front,Living conditions,Pride

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


I:          Today is Thursday, February 13, 2003.  And this is the beginning of an interview with Charles Earnest Berry at the Earlanger [INAUDIBLE] Office, 975 East Third Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee.    Mr. Berry was born on January 9, 1929

C:        Nineteenth.

I:          Excuse me?

C:        Nineteenth.

I:          January 19, I’m sorry, 1929 and is now 74 years old.



My name is Michael Willie, and I will conduct this interview.  Mr. Berry, could you state for the recording your name and its spelling please?
C:        Charles, CHARLES, Earnest, EARNEST, Berry, BERRY.

I:          Okay.  And during which war did you serve?
C:        Well, I served in the uh, at the end of World War II.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Also, in the Korean War.

I:          Okay.



C:        And in the Vietnamese War.
I:          Really?
C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  So, you were there for a while.  And which way to the service did you sign up?

C:        I served in the Army.

I:          Okay.  And what was your highest rank attained?
C:        Uh, Master Sergeant E7 at that time.

I:          Okay.  Where were you born, Mr. Berry?

C:        Uh, I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I:          Okay.  And tell me about your family.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?
C:        Well, I have uh, one, I have two sisters uh, Leona Bradley who’s married to my brother-in-law Roosevelt Bradly.



But she expired about 10 years ago.  My father, he expired about 20 years ago, Milton Berry.  And I have one sister still living who’s Earnestine Carter who is a minister here and me.

I:          In Chattanooga, right?

C:        Yeah.  She’s in Chattanooga.

I:          Is that, are you visiting her?
C:        Well, the reason I’m here in Chattanooga is that we just celebrated my mother’s 95 birthday.

I:          I’ll be darned, 94.

C:        And uh, me and brother-in-law took her over to



Ryan’s for dinner and had the waitresses to sing happy birthday to her.  And then Sunday after church, we uh, gave her a dinner in the uh, the service area of the church downstairs.

I:          Um hm.  Great.  Ninety-four years old.

C:        Ninety-four.

I:          Aright.  Now uh, you were born here in Chattanooga.

C:        Yes.

I:          And were you raised her?
C:        Yes, I was raised here.  I went to um, to uh, West Main Street School

I:          Um hm.



C:        I went to Second District.  I went to Calvin Donaldson and Howard High.
I:          Okay.  So, I guess you’re keeping in touch with all the stuff going on in Howard right now, right?
C:        Well, through my brother-in-law, yes.

I:          Alright.  Now um, so you went to Howard High.  Did you graduate from Howard High?
C:        No, I didn’t graduate from Howard until later.  I went into the Service.

I:          You joined the Service?
C:        And then in the Service, I completed my education and got a GED through Howard.



I:          Okay.  Now why did you join the Service?
C:        Well, the reason I joined the Service was that as a youngster, I used to see the soldiers over at Fort Oglethorpe.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And they’d come in on Saturdays and boy, they didn’t have a lot of fun.  But I liked the dress.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And then here in Chattanooga, the only employment that you really had was working in a hotel or some type of menial, uh, work.  And I, I just, I wanted something better.

I:          Uh huh.



C:        Also.

I:          The uniform didn’t hurt, right.

C:        Huh?
I:          The uniform didn’t hurt either.

C:        No.  And I had a gal, girlfriend named Jerleen Jackson, and I wanted to get married, you know,

I:          Uh huh.
C:        But I wanted something where we could have a nice home and car and leave a couple dollars in the bank.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        So, one day I got off from work at the Reed House, and I walked past, I saw this sign that says US Army wants you.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, I told my sister and so we told mom,



And got all the paperwork done, and I joined the Service.

I:          How old were you then?
C:        I was 17.

I:          Seventeen.  Did she have to sign for you then?
C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.

C:        My mother had to sign.

I:          Did she have any problem with you going in then?
C:        No.  But when she signed the papers, she really didn’t read them.  And she didn’t know I was going till my brother-in-law and my sister told her.  But after she started to getting [INAUDIBLE] changed, she didn’t care.



I:          Okay.  How old were, you were 17 at that time, right?

C:        Yeah.

I:          What year was that?

C:        Uh, 1946.

I:          Forty-six.  Okay.  Alright.  So, you joined the Service.  And where’d you end up going from there?
C:        Well, I left, I left Chattanooga by Greyhound and went to Fort Benning, Georgia.

I:          Okay.

C:        When we got

I:          At that time, let me ask you real quick now.  Your girlfriend, she stayed here?  Did you guys get married before?
C:        No, she stayed here.

I:          She did, she stayed here.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  So, you go to Fort Benning, Georgia.

C:        Um hm.

I:          Okay.  Tell me about that.



C:        Well, when the bus ride to Fort Benning, Georgia at the um, bus station there, you know you had segregation there.  And they called you that old Southern name.  And we had to keep in the back of the bus and go to a fort.  So, just before the bus got ready to pull out, um, the driver said that one of you have to get off so this white soldier could ride.  So, a fight eluded from that.



I:          Um hm.
C:        And he didn’t ride.
I:          Where was that?  Was that in Chattanooga?
C:        No, it was at Fort Benning.

I:          It was at Fort Benning.

C:        Fort Benning cause I was catching the bus to go into Fort Benning.

I:          Gotcha.

C:        From the bus station.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And so, once we got into Fort Benning and they checked us in and read us the riot act and.  And that’s my first experience with the military which I thought was kind of funny cause I was used to segregation in the first place.
I:          Right.
C:        But it was not in such a harsh form.  So, after



they checked us out and they gave us our physical examinations and all this stuff that they put you through, tests, they had a big field house where they had everybody, then they started calling, these names that we call have been rejected.  So, I said I hope they reject me.  I’m gonna go back home.

I:          From the physical?
C:        Yeah, from all the tests that they gave you, intelligence tests and all this stuff.

I:          Right.

C:        So, I wound up with a IQ of 117.



I:          Uh huh.

C:        And I, and the guy said well, I didn’t know this until later.  So, they called out all these names and stuff, and out of 150 people, there was only about I guess 30 of us, 30 left that they didn’t call.

I:          Really?
C:        And so, this guy, big guy with stripes on his arm, he points and he said you’re in the Army. [LAUGHS]  I wish I could go back home.



I:          You were starting to reconsider.
C:        And the funny thing about it is that I had uh, I was taking my daddy’s suit

I:          Um hm.
C:        And uh, war head, and I had uh, $.16 in my pocket.  And uh, that’s where it started.

I:          I’ll be darned.
C:        But uh, Fort Benning was quite an experience.

I:          Well, talk about that.  What was it like?
C:        Well, it was just a holding company till they’d ship you out to your basic training.
I:          I see.

C:        And the next morning was, I think was very comical.  This guy,



all of a sudden, I wound up on the floor.  I was on the top bunk.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And he, get up.  It’s time to go to Revely.  I looked out the window, it ain’t even daylight.  And I crawled back and went back to sleep.  And all of a sudden, I wind up on the floor. And that’s when I was introduced to a 6 x 6.

I:          Oh man.

C:        I mean, it’s a whole 6’ wide and 6’ long and 6’ deep.

I:          Oh man.

C:        And then this guy walked up



And said well, you think you brought, what the problem was I hit the guy.

I:          Yeah.

C:        Yeah, I had a temper.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        So, after I had dug this hole and looking up at this guy, he said that’s a fine, fine hole.  I’m very proud of you.  And he gave me his hand and lifted me up and he said I so much I like that hole, he said, you see this paper?  I said yeah.  He threw it in the hole.  He said now bury it.



I said what for?  So, he said because I want to read it.  I said but it ain’t, he said I said bury it.  So, I shoveled the dirt back and packed it up and made it like a grave mound, you know.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        Shoot man.  That dude told me I told you I wanted to read it.  So, I had to dig it up and get it.  But when he left, I got slick.  I knew exactly where I put that paper went there.  So, I just dug an angle to it and got it.  And when he came back, I had the paper, and I closed the hole back up.



And boy, so he said you’re just too smart.  So, that’s how I was introduced. And then the funny thing, too, was that I went in the Mess Hall, and they had something, I can’t remember now what it was, but I didn’t like it.  So, I seen all these buildings.  So, I went to the last one, they had the same thing.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I went to the next one, they had the same thing.  There were six of them there, and this is about a mile stretch.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And after I got to the last one,



I just went on and ate.  That’s when I found out that every mess hall on an Army base served the same thing at the same time.  That was kind of comical.

I:          Okay.
C:        And then, they took us down and issued our gear and stuff.  And I had my, and you had to turn your civilian clothes into the Supply Sergeant.  So, I turned my stuff into the Supply Sergeant, my civilian stuff which was my daddy’s suit now.



I:          Uh huh.
C:        And I went back to the barracks, and somebody had stole all the issued clothes they had given me.  And so I went back to them and they said well, you gotta sign this paper and get some more clothes.  I didn’t know that was a statement of charges, for money to be deducted from your pay.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        Cause we was only making, I think it was $30 a month.  And when payday came, all he kids would all go to town and shaking, I wanted me a good barbecue sandwich and some chitlin’s.



And they called my name, and I signed it, and he said you ain’t got no money coming.  I said why?  He said because you signed a statement of charges for some clothes.  And I told him.  He said I can’t help you.  You signed it.  So, that concluded our, uh, our uh, time with the military at Fort Benning.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then from Fort Benning,



we got on the troop train, and we had a stopover in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I:          Okay.

C:        And we came to the [Inaudible] Station, and I was the bigshot cause I lived here, and I knew where the Hollywood Restaurant was there up on Main Street right off of Cowat.  And so, the officer said uh, Berry, you live here, don’t you?  Yes sir.  He said you know where the Hollywood Café?  I said yes sir, I do.  He said, well, you lead us down there.  So, you know, I called Momma, my girlfriend and all of them.



And here we go marching down to the Hollywood Café down Main Street and across Williams and across Towan.  And then, the lady, and she knew him.  And she saw, she didn’t know I was in the Service.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        So, we all ate then.

I:          Ah, yeah.
C:        And then we marched back and got back.

I:          You were a big shot then.

C:        Oh, I was, I was King of the Hill.  So then, we took and uh, got back on the train and went to uh, Fort Lee, Camp Lee for dinner.

I:          Okay.  Did you say Camp Lee?

C:        Yeah.



I:          Alright.  Okay.  Now, you get to Camp Lee.

C:        No wait a minute.  Yeah, Camp Lee, Virginia? Yeah, that was Camp Lee.

I:          Okay.  What was Camp Lee like?
C:        It was nice.  That’s where I took my uh, basic training.

I:          Okay.

C:        And that’s where we learned to get up at uh, 4:00 in the morning, 5:00 in the morning.  And uh, that Friday, the Sergeant told us that we’re gonna have a GI party.  To me, hey, we’re gonna have some beer and some food and some gals and some dancing, you know.

I:          Um hm.



C:        So, he said after supper, you’ll assemble for the party.  So, I said to myself why eat supper if you’re going to a party?
I:          Um hm.

C:        It didn’t make sense.  So, I found out what the party was.  And so, when I complained about it, he said I got a special job for you.  He said go get your toothbrush.  So, I went and got my toothbrush.  And he said now I want you to get a bucket with this DI soap.  I want you to scrub this floor.  And that’s what I used.  And after [INAUDIBLE] gonna have to use the side of it.



You know, the point of it.  So, I learned to keep my mouth shut.  But the training was good.  Uh, they took us to what they call AP Hill.

I:          Okay.

C:        That’s when I had my first encounter with a water moccasin.

I:          Oh.

C:        I guess, he’s a big snake.
I:          Um hm.

C:        And uh, it’s a funny thing that before you get in your pup tent at night, you’d better shake everything cause one night one guy, one evening we come in off the, off the shooting, and uh, an obstacle course.



And this dude jumped in his tent and laid down and he went straight up out of that tent.  A snake was in with him.  But uh, but the training was good.  And after we completed and parades, and I had a very high [INAUDIBLE]  I didn’t think that nothing was better than the military.

I:          Right.

C:        I thought I was really King of the Hill.

I:          Right.

C:        But I didn’t have any stripes.  And I noticed all these guys that had stripes couldn’t speak English



and do Mathematics and stuff like me.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And write.  So, they had somebody to do it for them.  And that’s when I found out that we had a First Sergeant that couldn’t read and write and could, but he knew every man in there by name.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And that was really something.  But uh, after our basic training, I took tech training which they learned me how to drive a truck.

I:          Okay.

C:        I didn’t want to drive no truck.  I wanted to do something bigger.  I had always wanted to be a pilot, go to pilot school.



But then they said no.  Then I wanted to apply for OCS, and they told me they had enough officers, black officers, Negro officers.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And I said well, so I learned the truck driving.

I:          Where was that?  Was that there in

C:        That was uh, Camp Lee, Virginia.  No, that was Fort Lee.  That’s what it was, Fort Lee.  And then I had uh, I had four weeks of vehicle training.

I:          Okay.  At this point, you said, you [INAUDIBLE]

C:        Still were.



I:          So, you think in this Korea

C:        Yeah, I think Korea now.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        But I hadn’t got into the bad part of being a military man.

I:          Okay.

C:        So, after we had our technical training, uh, we were given a furlough, and then I went, uh, came back to Chattanooga,

I:          Um hm.
C:        In my uniform, went to Frontier Baptist Church with Mom, sitting up there all proud and my sister and.



And I used to think about when uh, when my sister was going with my brother-in-law, Roosevelt Bradley and uh, I’d go out to the sidewalk and watch for them to come around the corner,

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And when he hit that corner, I knew we were gonna have a good dinner that evening after church.  That was my original Sunday morning.  And I’d go and I said Leon, he coming.  He’d be stepping, too, you know.



But uh, I’m real thankful that I have a wonderful brother-in-law, yeah.  Never had a cross word with him all the years.  Course he used to get on me, you know, and ask me uh, about all the gals I used to date and stuff, you know.  Momma used to call the White House when I was home.  But after that, uh, after uh, having a little leave at home,

I:          Um hm,

C:        I went back and reported into uh, San Francisco, California.



And then we went to uh, to Puerto Rico.  And then we stopped over in Puerto Rico for two days.  And then we proceeded on to Hawaii.

I:          Okay.
C:        And in Hawaii, on the outside of Honolulu on a little island called Sand Island,

I:          Uh huh,

C:        We were assigned to guard the Japanese POWs.

I:          Okay.

C:        And.

I:          Let me ask you this real quick.  Have you ever been out in the ocean before?

C:        Pardon?
I:          Had you ever been out on the ocean before?

C:        No.

I:          How’d you do on the ship?



C:        Man, I got sicker than a dog.

I:          How long did it take you to get there?

C:        About two days before we got to land.  At that time, the uh, Negro soldiers, we didn’t have the luxury of all the other things like the Caucasians did, uh.  My bunk was located on top of a shipping crate, and we slept on the decks and stuff.  And the others had, the Whites



had uh, bunk beds and all that stuff.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And of course, I might say that there were quite a few fights uh, yeah.  And it was normal.

I:          Yeah.
C:        Yeah.  It was very normal.

I:          And let’s talk, I mean.  So, was there a lot of tension then at that time?
C:        Yes.  Yeah.  I was, I think I was called the N word more times between the time I left Chattanooga and the time I hit Hawaii.


And then when we got into Hawaii, the first time that we went on, we were on an island called Sand Island.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And the POW camp was right there, too.

I:          Right.

C:        And I don’t know.  They had quite a few, uh, POWs there.  And we went into Hawaii, into Honolulu, and we experienced, I thought I was back in Chattanooga, Mississippi.  I mean, it was, the White soldier was just everywhere. And they said you can’t go in there.

I:          Really.



C:        And I said I couldn’t believe it.  So, we said okay.  We went down to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

I:          Yeah.
C:        And they wouldn’t let us in there.  And so, what we did is we formed a, a line of sleep in it.  Each side of that door we left a pass way through.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And slept on newspaper on the concrete.

I:          You’re kidding me?  I had no idea.

C:        Oh yeah.

I:          I had no idea.


C:        And then the cops came and said well, they ain’t bothering nothing.  And I, and so we told them that uh, we are not doing anything.  All we wanted was a room.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, I think maybe that was probably the first uh, sleep in or whatever you want to call it.  But it did happen.  And, but there were quite a few fights.  We used to have um, a bar out there in Pearl City which is right outside of Honolulu.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Called Pearl City Tavern.

I:          Um hm.



And they got markings in there running around in the back of the bar.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And you see those guys getting high and talking to their mothers.  But uh, so we went in there one night, and uh, the Caucasians on this side, the Negroes on this side.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And the bar is here.  And the markings behind.  And so, at that time, they was drinking what they called Redd Fox Beer.  And they, the Caucasians had made a big pyramid up there.



And I had about six beers, and I kept looking at that pyramid, and my buddy said well, we stood up and threw cans and just tore that pyramid up.  And a fight ensured after that.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then years later, I took my wife to Hawaii.

I:          Um hm.
C:        We visited that same bar.  As soon as I walked in, that woman hadn’t forgotten me.  No, no fighting this time.  No fights, she said.  [LAUGHS]



But that was a lot of fun.  And then uh, we got orders to, to ship out.  Now in Hawaii, most of the duties that we performed were stevedores, guard duty, and truck drivi9ng and engineering.  Uh, we knew that we had some black pilots and stuff.  But I had never even seen a black officer in all this time.

I:          Let me ask you something.  Now, from, I mean in theory, the whole point of basic training is to



break you down as an individual and then build you back as a member of a team, right?

C:        It’s to take the civilian out of you and put the military in.

I:          Right.  Okay.  But it seems like, is it separate for you? I mean, you’re trained all together.  And then.

C:        No, no.  We didn’t train together.

I:          Oh, you didn’t train together.

C:        We trained separate.

I:          Oh, you did train separate.

C:        That’s right. We had all black units.

I:          Yeah.

C:        Yeah.

I:          See, I had no idea.

C:        Oh yeah.  We had all black units.



And I tell you.  We had real Supreme Court, especially when we’d parade.  We had that rhythm, man.

I:          Yeah.
C:        And we could march, too.  And I used to carry a guide arm.  We were good.

I:          I had no idea.

C:        Yeah.

I:          I honestly didn’t know that.
C:        No, um um. It was fierce competition between the White and the Negroes.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And the thing about it was at one time, we had a guy from Cuba was sent to a White unit.



But they sent him to us cause he was very dark.  But he was Cuban.  And he didn’t like us.  And we sure didn’t like him.  So, but he had to stay though.  They put him in a separate room until he learned to, you know, what he had to go through.

I:          Right.  So, how long were you in Honolulu for?
C:        Uh, about



About a year.  At that time, Hawaii was beautiful except for the uh, the battleships were sunk and stuff like that.

I:          Right, right.  I mean, actually, was there still a lot of that left?

C:        Um hm, yeah.

I:          Okay.  And during this time, are the prisoners just staying there, or are they being moved out or moved back?
C:        Well, they stayed there.  And I made friends with one of them.

I:          Um hm.


C:        And uh, he was a little sick.  So, I served him some medicine.  I had a buddy that was in the Medics.  And then I’d give him cigarettes.  And this same guy, when I went to Japan, uh, I met him cause he got [repatriated].  And I met him.  I met his family, and I had a real wonderful time with him.

I:          Isn’t that something?  But what were they?  What were, I guess you can’t really generalize it and say what were they like?  But I mean, were they arrogant?  Were they nice? Were they cordial?  Were they humble?



C:        The POWs?

I:          Yeah, the POWs.

C:        They’re still dangerous.  We caught them with armed weapons.  We didn’t, we had some bad ones.  And then you had some pretty nice ones in there, too.  But I still didn’t trust none of them.

I:          Right, right.  And what kind of a holding cell, I mean

C:        Well, it’s just like a stockade.  It’s uh, they had uh, tents.  And they had big, barbed wire around them.  And this was probably about uh, 12’.

I:          Okay.  With armed guards, right?



C:        Yeah, with armed guards.  There was an armed guard about every 150’.

I:          Okay.  Ever had any problem with them trying to get out?
C:        No.  I never heard of one trying to escape.

I:          Okay.  Now um, anything else about this time in Honolulu before we move on?
C:        Except for the predators and you know, like uh.  But I’ll tell you one thing about it.  They had a drink they called a Zombie.



I:          Uh huh.

C:        And one night, uh, I got paid.  And me and Steve went over, and at the time, they had to catch a little ferry going to Honolulu.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And we went into the um, High Grace.  And we had a steak dinner, and then we went to the bar.  And so Steve said hey Berry?  Yeah.  Let’s try the Zombie.  I said okay.  Me and him drunk four of them things, went to the ferry, jumped in the ocean and tried to swim back to the island.



And the next morning, they caught a 550 lb. shark in there.  And I didn’t do that no more.  But I was young, full of you know, vinegar.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        I didn’t care, you know.

I:          And Zombies.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Vinegar and Zombies.

C:        Boy, that Zombie’s a drink, man.

I:          Okay.  So, you’re there for about a year.

C:        Yeah, um hm.

I:          Okay.  And then where do you go?
C:        I was shipped back to Japan.



I:          To Japan, okay.  So, you got to Japan.  Now, what about Japan?  What is it like?
C:        Well, Japan was very beautiful, especially with the castles and architecture and all that.  Absolutely fascinating.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Uh, the people are still hostile.  But a lot of Americans made them hostile, too.

I:          Yeah.
C:        Cause we had a lot of rapes and stuff going on.  And most Americans wore it with a big head anyhow.

I:          Right.
C:        That they the conqueror; you do what I say to.

I:          Right.



C:        But other than that, everything else, it was real nice.  They had uh, they treated me nice.  And that’s when I met my buddy that uh, POW.

I:          How’d you find him, or did he find you?
C:        Well, I was sitting at a little, like a open restaurant where they take this fish and chicken and steak and fry it in a deep fat.

I:          Um hm.

C:        In little, uh, wok.  And I was eating that.  And somebody touched me on the shoulder, and I looked around, and it was him.



And he said no more of this, you know.  So, then uh, yeah.

I:          That is, sounds nice.  So, you, I mean, did you go to his house?
C:        Yeah, um hm, yeah.

I:          That is something else.

C:        Yeah.  I met his family and everything.

I:          Um, was there any sign of war there?  I mean, could you tell anything

C:        Yeah, um hm, yeah, um hm.  Well, the little village that we was in was called uh, Majima, uh.  And it was right outside uh, Osaka.  But uh, you could still see, uh, evidence of



the bombing and stuff.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And I went to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I:          Oh, you did.

C:        Yeah.

I:          What did it look like?  That was in what, ’47 at this point?
C:        Yeah, um hm. It was devastated.  It was, it’s just like you saw, see in the pictures, yeah.  But uh, it made me think how cruel war is.

I:          Yeah.

C:        And there are no winners.

I:          Right.  It’s just, my perspective has totally

C:        Yeah.

I:          Changed from this interview.

C:        And uh,



there was a lot of hatred from Americans, too.

I:          Yeah.  Were there still people who were, I mean I know there was probably bitterness and anger.

C:        Oh yeah.
I:          Were there people who were, you know, violent, aggressive against the Americans there?
C:        Well, I had, there was talk of some of it being up in Kyoto and around Yokohama and Tokyo and down in Fukoka.  But uh, when I went to Fukoka, too.  But I didn’t experience anything.



In fact, the people were nice to me.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Course, we were having fun with the Japanese girls, you know.  And I got engaged to marry a Japanese girl.

I:          Did you really?
C:        Yeah.  But uh, the reason for that is cause the one I had back here was messing up.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        But uh, she caught pneumonia and died.

I:          Oh no.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Back here?

C:        No.  She was in Japan.

I:          The one in Japan.  Caught pneumonia and died.

C:        Yeah.

I:          While you were there?

C:        Yeah.  And she came from a real nice family, too.



Her father was a doctor.  But he couldn’t save her.

I:          Now, what were you actually doing in Japan?
C:        Well, they called us Occupational Forces.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But the only thing we were doing is driving trucks, hauling dirt and bricks around on the tommy Air Base and off the mountains from the quarries and to different places around.

I:          Okay.  But you guys were basically kind of [INAUDIBLE]

C:        Yeah.

I:          Air bases?
C:        Um hm.  And also a lot of the roads and stuff.

I:          Okay.  How long did you spend in Japan?



C:        I left Japan in uh, ’49 I think it was.

I:          Okay.
C:        Yeah.

I:          So, you were there maybe two years?
C:        Um hm, something like that, yeah.

I:          Okay.  So, you’re in Japan for a couple years.  What, talk about your facilities.  Where did you stay there?
C:        Well, we didn’t have the best of facilities.  But we did have uh, roofs over our head and stuff and buildings.  But we used to, still used to look where the Whites stayed and



and compare it to what we stayed.

I:          Right.
C:        Uh.

I:          What compared it?
C:        Well, I’ll put it like this.  If you live in a, in a, in the Reed House, the Whites are living in the Reed House,

I:          Um hm.

C:        And we had Tent City.  That’s your comparison.

I:          It was that blatant.

C:        Yeah.  It was that blatant.  And then uh, In Japan, they had tried to instigate



Uh, price with us.  They also tried to practice the prejudice that, that’s here in the States against blacks and whites.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And a lot of times, they succeeded.  They even got to the place where if a Japanese girl was going with a colored soldiers, you called it then, and she was with them.  And the other one was going with a white one, she wouldn’t speak to the other one because he wouldn’t let her speak



because they was feeding them, too.  There was a shortage of food and all that, too.

I:          Right.  But they,

C:        You couldn’t believe that Americans had just gotten with a hostile action, a war.  And the soldiers acted like that.

I:          Right.

C:        And we had fights, knock down, drag outs because, like in the Kabuti in Japan, the, like I said, it was segregated.



Whites on one side, and the blacks on the other side.  And some places, you couldn’t even go in.

I:          Right.

C:        So, we couldn’t go in their places, and they didn’t come in our places.  And sometimes when they wanted to fight, they’d come in our place.

I:          In Japan.

C:        Yeah.  And then we want to fight, we, and then they had the 11th Airborne Division there.  And they didn’t want you wearing their jump boots.  So, one of our guys, they called up in the town there and uh, cut his boots off and beat him up.



We, we, we got our stuff together and went up there and tore them up.  I don’t know how many of them went to the hospital [INAUDIBLE].  But we had a knockdown, drag out.

I:          So, it was basically Americans against Americans.

C:        It was.

I:          Over

C:        Yeah.

I:          Over really nothing that.  I mean it was

C:        The American soldier was so prejudiced against the Negro soldiers that they tried to institute their belief on the Japanese.  And it didn’t come true.

I:          Right.

C:        Some of them it did.  But not all.



I:          Well, the Japanese are more um, traditional and culturally sensitive.

C:        Right.  And if you don’t have no sense of family value, hey, you7 can forget about it.

I:          Oh.

C:        And that’s why I’m glad my mother, Ella Ruth Berry, taught me family values.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  So, you’re there in Japan for a couple years.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  And then where were you after that?

C:        Fort Knox, Kentucky.

I:          Fort Knox, okay.  So, you came back to Fort Knox.



Did you get to go home at all in between?

C:        Yeah, I came home.

I:          To your own girlfriend?
C:        Yeah.

I:          What was that like?
C:        Well, she had a baby.  And me and my sister and my brother-in-law, we took off and had a party.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Up on 17th and Broad.  I mean, 17th and Main.  [INAUDIBLE]. Upstairs.  Yeah.  And then I, I said well,



ain’t nothing here for me now.  So, I’m going back to the Service.

I:          Right.  Okay.  And you’ve been in this time for what, 3 1/2 years?

C:        Yeah, something like that, yeah.

I:          Um hm.  Okay.  So um, you guys, I’m sorry.  Did you say Fort Campbell or Fort Knox?

C:        No, I went to Fort Knox.

I:          Fort Knox.

C:        Um hm.

I:          Okay.  Now, what are you doing in Fort Knox?

C;        Well, let’s back up.  When uh, when I came back from Japan

I:          Okay.

C:        I went to Camp Stoneman.

I:          Camp Stoneman.

C:        California.

I:          Okay.

C:        Where I was discharged.



I:          Oh, you were discharged?

C:        Yeah.  And then I came back to Chattanooga.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And that’s when I found out about my girlfriend.  And then uh, I tried to get a good job in Chattanooga but just, I didn’t want to go back to the Reed House, the hotel pattern.

I:          Right.

C:        Any kind of menial job, you know.

I:          And this is around what, 1950?

C:        Uh, this is the latter part of ’49.

I:          Forty-nine.

C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.

C:        And so,



uh, no, that was ’50, yeah.  Early part of ’50.  So, I caught the train and went back to uh, Camp Stoneman, California.

I:          Um hm.
C:        I went out in the Reserve.  That’s the only reason I could get back in.
I:          Okay.
C:        And I went back to Camp Stoneman and asked to be called from Missouri back to active duty, which I was.  And so

I:          Okay.

C:        And from Camp Stoneman, I was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky.

I:          Okay.



Okay.  And what are you doing in, now first of all, are you back in your same unit?
C:        No.  I was, I came to Fort Knox, which is the Army center, full of tanks.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And um, I was assigned to this trucking company.  And then they also had a car company.

I:          Um hm.
C:        So,

I:          It’s also segregated?
C:        Yeah.  It’s still segregated at that time.  So, then we had, they had a meeting.



And they said uh, President Truman said that the Armed Services are gonna be integrated.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I said I don’t like this because we had some pride, you know.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And we, and to be the best, you had to be black or colored.  You had to be the best.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Because like the first time, it was the first time here with blacks,

I:          Um hm.

C:        It was the same in the Army.



If you caught VD or something and they say you had it, they put you out.  That’s the way it went.  If you had a court martial or anything, you was out.  Anytime insubordination, they’d put you out.  And we had southern officers would call you that name right in a minute.  There was nothing you could do about it.

I:          Does that make you work harder, or does it make you angry?  How do you deal with that



because on a

C:        It made me wanna show that I’m an American citizen.  I am a man of color.  But I’m also a human being.  And if the Constitution of the United States said all men are created equal and die for the government, for the power that I wanna share that.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I don’t wanna be a sacrificing American.

I:          Okay.
C:        I want, if I’m in the Service and I come back, I wanna be proud when I wear my uniform.

I:          Right.



C:        Instead of having to be a sacrificed person.

I:          Right.  Let me ask you because as hard as you had to work and as fine a line as you had to walk, do you feel like in doing this and making yourself an elite unit, do you feel like you’re doing anything to make those changes?
C:        Oh yeah, oh yes because when the time when we’d get out on the parade field and we’d strut our stuff and win the first place



Which we did,

I:          Um hm.

C:        A lot of times they wouldn’t give it to us.  But we knew we won it.

I:          Right.

C:        Uh, our equipment was always high.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Uh, everything we did, we were proud.

I:          Right.
C:        Now, we had some misfits now.  I tell you, we were no, but I tried to be the best I could be.

I:          Um hm.

C:        But Fort Knox was very, very segregated, uh.  One night we had a

I:          Talking about the base?

C:        The base, Fort Knox.  Fort Knox was right outside of Elizabethtown, Kentucky,



In between Elizabethtown and Louisville.  And they had, we had our own service clubs which wasn’t very good.  They had a few stuff like pool tables, ping pong paddles and a little entertainment, little lounges and stuff.  But they had a white one across the parade field over there.

I:          Um hm.
C:        It was in a big, beautiful building.  So, we went over there one night.  And we got inside the door, and they, the crowd made a U around us,



and I looked in there, I couldn’t believe it.  And I mean, they had beautiful lights, beautiful seats, beautiful decorated items, you know, even paint.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And I said man, look at this.  But they crowded us and told us that old word, get out of here.  We’re gonna kill you.

I:          Um hm.
C:        So, we just banged on out.  And I said then I won’t stay in this thing.  I said, cause it’s the same there as it is at home.



It ain’t no different.  So, I might as well stay here and get paid for it as to stay home and don’t get paid.

I:          Right.
C:        That’s the attitude I developed.  But I’m still gonna be the best I could be.

I:          Right.
C:        And then like I said, we had a meeting, and they said the military was gonna be integrated.

I:          Um hm.
C:        So, I was, about half the company was shipped out down about six blocks to another company.  And the sergeant picked me to be a squad leader.



And then he had all the whites and blacks, he said okay, you all go in there and pick your bunk, and then I’ll be in there.  Now, when they went in the barracks, the whites got on this side, and the blacks got on this side.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, this sergeant walked in, and he said I said we are integrated now.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Now fall back out.  So, he said one black, one white.  One black, one white.



That’s where you got bunks.  That’s where he integrated.  But then a lot of the, I got to say a lot of whites, they don’t take baths.  I tell you.  I’m gonna be frank with you.  But we had a problem with that.  And then uh, a lot of the food that we eat, they didn’t like, you know.  And then a lot of religious beliefs were different.

I:          Yeah.

C:        Well now, each person has to respect another’s religion even though you may not like it.

I:          Right.
C:        But it’s not for you to decide what religion that person is gonna have.

I:          Right.



But it got better, it really did.

I:          It got better.  But how much friction is there, and how long does it take?
C:        It was so tight, so thick you could cut it with a knife.  It was just like you was out in the desert.  I mean, and some of us, and you could hear them saying man, them niggers [INAUDIBLE].  And so, I had a squad.  And I called them all together.

I:          Um hm.



I said the first one to use that word is gonna fight me.

I:          Right.
C:        I said I’m not gonna fight you in my place.  I’m gonna call you to stand at attention and I’m gonna hit you with a rifle butt.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I said a man says we got to live together, then let’s live together.  I said we take care of each other.  We uh, cook with each other.  And I said a lot of you whites have been raised by black women.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        I said yet you’re not good enough to socialize and sleep?



I said well, you’re gonna learn.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And so, then we got orders to uh, to uh, oh wait a minute.  Before [INAUDIBLE] when I came back, we went to Korea.

I:          Oh, from

C:        From Fort Knox.  We went to Korea.

I:          Oh, so you went to Korea.

C:        Yeah.  And also, while I was at Fort Knox, we went on maneuvers in Greenville, South Carolina.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And that was one of the worst maneuvers that we’d ever been on.



As far as the maneuver was concerned, it was okay.  But uh, my sinus, uh, we left Fort Knox and went down to Greenville, South Carolina to the air base.  And as we’re going through the towns and stuff, I was driving a Jeerp with the Commander.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And man, we’d go through them towns and a guy was up on them 50 calibers, you know, throwing the ammunition.

I:          Right.



And then we’d stop in these towns and women call up, kissing all of us and stuff.  So, we got to Greenville to the air base, and it was really nice.  And we had nice maneuvers.  So, we went into town.  So, we asked this lady at the bar, a restaurant with a little bar in it, too, to serve beer.  We asked her how much would it cost if we rent this place and you fix dinner for all of us?

I:          Um hm.
C:        And she told us.  That payday, we pooled our money, and she had already cooked.  And gals came up and man, we had a good time.



And one of our guys was sleeping up on the chair in front of the restaurant.

I:          Uh huh.  Now, this is before the integration, right?
C:        Yeah.  And so, we went to um, we all had been drinking beer and soda pop and eating.  And all the girls were there.  So, all of a sudden, we hear a clear ow.  And we heard these voices.


We knew they were cops.  So, we went out there, and they had hit him on his feet, and he was taking treatments for his feet.  And they told him stand up, called him all kinds of N words, you know, all kind of, assortments of N words.
I:          Is he in unciform?

C:        Yeah.  And uh, we was in Khakis.  And then uh, when we came out, they drew their guns on us, and they took me and 10 more to jail.  And in the jail,



we were treated just like uh, like a murderer.  They took our shoestrings out.  They took our shoes off of us.  They took our belts.  They had handcuffed some of us, uh.  The white MP was calling us all kinds of names, and the cops were no better.  And I told this MP, I said when I get back to base, I’m gonna deal with you.  I said you’re out here now, you’re a gunnery.  But when I get you on that base, I’m gonna show you something.



And I got hit a couple times, too, by him.  So then, uh, this lady, we had told her, one of the guys had told her to call our company.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And ask to speak to the First Sergeant and tell him what happened.  So, the Company Commander, we had a white Company Commander.  But he was a good man.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And he was a Southerner.  And he came and uh, when they got us out of jail, and they called him an N lover,

I:          Um hm.
C:        And he said we are American soldiers.



And these men will be treated as such.  So, this white MP, one of them said they ain’t nothing but a bunch of cowardly N’s.  So, when we got back to the post, charges were brought on that MP, and he was discharged out of the Service.  And that Colonel told me, he said there’s not gonna be that here.

I:          Um hm.
C:        But we weren’t integrated thought at that time.

I:          Right.
C:        Then we went to Korea.


From Fort Knox, we went to Korea.  And in Korea, I served with the um, with the uh First Marine Battalion.  And also, we were driving, I was put in a trucking company we were.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And we’d haul supplies from Pusan up to the uh, DMZ, what they call now Panmunjom.  And we had a lot of ambushes there, uh.  One day we came up on a bunch of Marines,


I guess about 40 of them were dead.  And they had this little boy uh, little Korean boy.  And he walked up to one of our guys on the truck and called him GI.  And then he just opened his arms up, and two grenades come out and blew them all up.  And they had told us to be nice to the kids and stuff.  But I told my people, I said I’m gonna tell you something.  If they come up, shoot them.



I said your life is worth more than theirs.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        I said if you get sentimental, this is war, and you better ask to be shipped home.  And a lot of problems, I had two guys wouldn’t fire their weapons.  They were so believed with their faith in God, they would be saved, and they couldn’t keep them.  The Bible says thou shall not kill, and they’d bury them. And that’s a problem.  But uh, we got caught up in the Frozen Chosin in Korea.

I:          Uh huh.



And we had

I:          My next interview is with a guy that was there.

C:        Yeah.  And uh, them Chinese would stand up on the side of the hillside and shoot down at them.  And it was so cold, you could be hit and not even know it till you, a lot of guys were hit, and I got knicked a little bit, but I didn’t get a Purple Heart or nothing.  They said it wasn’t enemy action.  But I didn’t care.  But um, in Korea also, we had uh, we was out on a,



they needed somebody to go out with some guys that had infantry training.  Well, I’d been in the 24th Infantry in Japan.
I:          Um hm.

C:        And I was in the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon.  And so, they’re putting me and two more guys.  And we went with them cause we’re still fresh in our minds what to do.

I:          Right.

C:        So, we got a prisoner.  But one of the guys relaxed while we were looking for some other stuff, and he got captured.  And we didn’t know he was captured cause he couldn’t tell us.



And when we walked in, they got us, too, when we come in.  But we were only there about three hours.  But I got no credit for it.  And we killed the guards and escaped.

I:          You’re kidding me.

C:        Yeah.
I:          Well, talk about that situation.  What happened then?

C:        Well, the guard made the mistake of turning his head on all three of us.  And when he made that mistake, the other guards were, I don’t know what they were doing.  But we took and propped him back up against a tree with his weapon, and we crawled away to a certain distance.  Then we ran.


I:          Man, how scary is that?
C:        Not really because we knew they would kill us.

I:          Right.

C:        Later.  We knew that.  But the Frozen Chosin was one of the most worse things I ever seen.  I’ve seen the gun barrels on a 50 so hot they wouldn’t fire.  I’ve seen the


Chinese just wave after wave come over their own dead.  Just a human sea of humans.  And the bombardment of body parts falling all over you and stuff.  And a lot of these kids today talk about Iran.  They want to go to War.  They’ve seen too many movies.

I:          Um hm.

C:        War is hell, man.

I:          Um hm.

C:        It’s dangerous, and you can be killed.  But see, the Americans didn’t think that the Chinese could fight.


They made a mistake.  The Chinese could fight.  The North Koreans could fight, but not as good as the Chinese.  And the Chinese had them weapons, their weapons, a bayonet was dipped in human waste, and it was dried on it.  And when you get stuck with that thing, you got an infection that can’t stop.  Yeah.  And where we were so heavy weighed down with gear, all they had was their weapon, the bayonet on it, some ammunition and some rice and some [INAUDIBLE].



That’s all they had.  And they had all them uh, those clothing that they wear to keep them warm, and we were freezing.  And then there was a National Guard unit came over there that we came up on.  We were supposed to haul them out.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Every one of them was dead.  As far as they could determine, the sentries went to sleep.  And that’s when the Chinese slipped in there and killed them, killed every one of them.  A lot of them were still in their sleeping bag.



Yeah.  But uh, Korea was uh, was really something that opened my eyes.  That’s where I seen, I was standing against what I thought was some casing, and it was a dead body.  And I bet you there were 300 there.  And we used to haul them down from the front.  But



it made me think twice about war.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I used to write my mother.  I don’t know if I’ll come out of this or not.  And then uh, the funny thing about that, my mother said the church gonna send me some curtains.  I told her    have them send me a bottle of liquor. I don’t need no curtains.  I don’t think she ever told them that.  But uh, I belong to the Friendship Baptist Church, Reverand [INAUDIBLE].  But uh,



Korea was um, was a lesson in mortality. It was a lesson in your religious belief.  It was a lesson for you as a man.  And most of all for me, it was I’m an American.  And when I go home, I can’t even sit and eat where I want to.

I:          Right.

C:        I cannot ride the bus.  I can’t get a job I’m qualified.  Then what the hell am I fighting for?

I:          Right.  And you’re still segregated in Korea, right?



C:        Yeah.  We’re still segregated.

I:          You’re fighting with, you’re actually fighting with the whites, right?

C:        Yeah.  Then I was assigned to the First Marine Division.  That’s how I got caught up in the Frozen Chosin, the Chosin Reservoir?

I:          Yeah.
C:        Yeah.  And I tell you, it was something too, man.  Whoo.  That’s when one of them American fighter pilots would strafe, you could see them killing them.



And you could see them come right down on them from the plane.  That was something.  And then the pilot would bank, and he’d do this here to us, you know.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        Yeah.  And then uh, as we were coming down that mountain out of the Frozen Chosin, the Chinese bombed the bridge there.  Now, here’s all these vehicles and everything uh, stopped.



So, they had to airlift the bridge in there.  So, finally they dropped it where it could be put up.  And we lost a lot of people and a lot of equipment.  And then when we got down to uh, Hung Nam, uh, they had uh, they couldn’t figure out how so many Americans were getting killed and how the artillery was coming so accurately.  And right on the base there, they had a uh,



what they called um, a Korean uh, liaison thing for the Korean Army and the American Army.

I:          Um hm.
C:        They had uh, they were spies.  And they were calling in artillery.  But then when we evacuated, we had all those aircrafts, ammunition, food, trucks, tanks, everything on the beach there.  And that’s where the big, Missouri, battleship Missouri?

I:          Uh huh.

C:        She lit it up.



You could see three shells going over.  And boy, she lit that place up.  And then the Americans were so intent on saving the Koreans that we was all on a LST

I:          Um hm.

C:        That they couldn’t get the LST uh, back off.  So, what they had to do was gonan have one of the battleships, they’d come in and anchor it up to it and have to pull it off.  And we left and went back to Japan.



But that LST was leaking, too.  But boy, it was scary.  But uh, that was quite an experience for me.

I:          I bet.  And how long were you actually there in Korea?
C:        Uh, in Korea, I was there, I got hurt, and I was evacuated to the, uh, to Japan.
I:          Um hm.
C:        And I came back from Japan, and I came home.

I:          Okay.  So, were you hurt when you were with the First Marine Division?

C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.  How bad were you hurt?



My arm.  I had, this hand was uh, a shell blew us up, and I fell on it.  And I stuck it onto a piece of metal and broke all the bones across here.

I:          Oh boy.  So, you ended up getting sent home, right?

C:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.
C:        Well, I had enough time to come home.

I:          Okay.  Gotcha.  Now, so that’s when you were discharged then, after that, or did you go back for 10 more?



C:        No.  When I left there and come back, I went to uh, I went back to Fort Knox, Kentucky.

I:          Okay.

C:        And I was assigned to the 515th Station Company, no the 515.  500 Car Company.  That’s what it was.

I:          Okay.

C:        And that’s when we integrated.

I:          Okay.

C:        And then from there, as I said before, we integrated.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then I went



Back to Germany.

I:          Okay.  To Germany.  Now, how long had the Army been integrated?
C:        Right after Korea.

I:          Okay.  How long had it been integrated by the time you got to Germany?
C:        To Germany?  Oh, probably um, I say maybe two years.

I:          Two years.  So, were you seeing changes?

C:        Oh yeah.

I:          Not the changes in the, were you seeing changes in



The minds of the men as opposed to just the

C:        It was a change because it had to be.  But it was still there.  The prejudice was still there.

I:          Okay.
C:        It was still there.  We still slept together, ate together, but we didn’t socialize together.

I:          Right.
C:        Finally, I made friends with a guy from Chattanooga.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And one of the guys was from Texas, white guys.  And uh, we got to be real good friends.

I:          Okay.
C:        Yeah.



I:          So, you end up going to Germany.

C:        We came into [BRINMAHOLAN] Germany, and we were supposed to be stationed at Nuremburg.  We got our orders changed, and they shipped us into France.

I:          Where in France?
C:        I went to uh, it was [Mombalomagran.]

I:          And where are you based in?

C:        Uh, that was, we were based in Toul, France.  That’s right outside of Redonne.



I:          And what did you do there?

C:        Um, by that time, I had applied for a language.  I knew some language training.

I:          Um hm.
C:        In Japanese.  And then I got some training in French, in the French language.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And so, I, they needed, I was with a trucking company then.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then they needed some guys to train for



police work.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And so, I got the job.  I learned to be an investigator.

I:          Oh really?
C:        Yeah.

I:          What was that training like?
C:        Oh, it was nice, regular police work.

I:          Okay.

C:        And it was nice.  And then uh, well the thing about it, there’s none of it in my record.  And uh, and in France, I stayed there for uh, quite a while.  But it still shows I was assigned to a transportation company.

I:          You’re kidding?

C:        Yeah.



I:          Well, you’re being trained by Americans, right?
C:        Yeah.

I:          In the Service.

C:        Yeah.  And so, after that, um, then the French ordered us out.  And at that time, I met my wife over there.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And uh, then later on, we had one girl.  And uh,

I:          While you were in France?
C:        I met my wife in Germany.  I went to school in Germany.

I:          Okay.



C:        And then they, uh, and I graduated number one out of the class.  But they wouldn’t give it to me because I was black.
I:          You’re kidding me?
C:        So, they made me number three.  But it was true because the uh, Assistant Commandant of the school told me.  He said uh, Private Berry, I was a PFC.  He said you made number one, he said, but they won’t give it to you.  I asked for it.  But your grades are here, and he gave me a copy of the grades.
I:          Um hm.
C:        And I had a,



grade point was I couldn’t believe cause I just did everything that you’re supposed to.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I excelled in Instructional Behavior, uh, Personal Behavior, Military Behavior. I excelled in all of them.  And so, he, then I was offered a commission.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And, as a Warrant Officer,

I:          Um hm.
C:        And I turned it down.  I was on my way back by train from uh, Munich, Germany back to uh, Redonne to go to my unit in France.

I:          Um hm.



And I met some old buddies on the train.  So, we were back there shooting dice, and I ran out of cigarettes.
I:          Um hm.
C:        So, I said well, I’m going back to get my some cigarettes because I was smoking Lucky Strikes,

I:          Um hm.
C:        And none of them had Lucky Strikes.

I:          Um hm.
C:        So, as I went to the train and I went to this one compartment door, the train lurched, and I threw this beautiful girl in my arms.  I said whoa, hello.



And she acted like she didn’t speak no English.  And so, I had

I:          German?

C:        Yeah.  She was German.  And I had a, I tried to talk to her then.  I couldn’t.  So, uh, I had a book called, a Magazine called Ebony.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And I showed her that.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then uh, some guy came through and was speaking to her.  And I asked her what did he say?  That’s when I knew she could speak English.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And she told me



that he said that a nice girl like her shouldn’t be talking to a person like me.  And she asked him why.  And he couldn’t say.  So, when he came back through, I stepped in front of him and I said you tell him this.  If he wants to arrive in Redonne, he better not come by me again.  I said you tell him exactly what I said.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And boy, I didn’t see him no more.


When we got to

I:          He was a civilian, I mean?
C:        He was working on the train.

I:          Okay.
C:        Yeah.  So, then she didn’t have a place to sleep.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And I asked her.  I said well here’s my key, and here’s my compartment.  Take your girlfriend and sleep in there.  It’s big enough for both of you.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Because I’m gonna be shooting dice.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And talking to my brothers.  We were having a good time.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, when we got to Frankfort, she had to get off the train.  And I got her address, and I gave her the book.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I told her, I said I’m gonna marry you.



And she laughed.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And so, I wrote her, and she answered back.  And we corresponded for about uh, over a year.  And then we, I told her I wanted to marry her.  And so, I met her, what was left of her family was her uncle and aunt.

I:          Um hm.
C:        They didn’t want me to marry her.  It wasn’t because of being a Negro cause I didn’t have no title or no money. And uh,



I told them, I said uh, I’m a PFC in the Army, and I make money.  I never asked you for nothing.

I:          Um hm.
C:        So, I told her, I said look.  We’ll wait a year.  If you still feel that way, then we’ll get married.

I:          Um hm.

C:        She said no, we’re not gonna wait a year.  You get the papers, and we’re gonna fix it.  So, I sent her the papers, and we got them done.  And then I had trouble with the military.  If it didn’t have a period where you were supposed to have them,



a semi-colon or anything, they sent them back.

I:          Um hm.

C:        It took us two years to get the papers approved.

I:          You’re kidding.
C:        So, finally I went to a French lady that worked in the Marriage Office.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I took my future wife with me.

I:          And you spoke French?

C:        Yeah. And she spoke French, too.  My wife speaks five languages.  And any national foreign language to her, she speaks better English than I do, knew more about America than I did.  And so, um,



I told her.  I said we’ve been trying for two years, and each time they’d send the paper back.  She said just a minute.  So, she took a while.  I don’t know where she went with them.  They told me she took them to the General.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And he said I want them married in a week.  And he signed them.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And that’s how we got married.  And then we went to Frankfort at the Army Chaplain.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Uh.  He wouldn’t marry us.



So, I asked him what is his reason.  He says well where he comes from, this don’t happen.  I said but you’re not where you come from.  You’re supposed to be a man of God.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I said what religion do you practice?  And so, finally he did consent to marry us because a Colonel walked in the door of the chapel,

I:          Um hm.
C:        And that’s when uh, we were married.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, I had to get married twice, by the German government and by the American government.



I:          Open door.

C:        But the Germans were just absolutely fantastic.

I:          Um hm.

C:        You don’t even have to set up the church.  They do it all.  It’s got a special hall for the, called the [INAUDIBLE] office.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And that’s where you marry.

I:          Um hm.  So um, was she able to live with you there?

C:        Yeah.  She caught hell.  Uh, the American women made sure that when they, like in the quarters, uh, she’d be washing and they’d cut all their washes over, and she couldn’t hardly draw water.



Uh, she left her clothing downstairs in the washing stuff.  Uh, they threw sand, and one of them threw pee in the thing, uh.  It was just horrible.  They’d call her a nigger lover and all that stuff.  And they used to, my first daughter was born, Emily, uh, they were calling her a half-breed.  But she was excellent in school.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And I said this is the way you come back from.

I:          Right.

C:        And she asked me

I:          Day school that she went to on the base?



C:        Yeah.  But first of all, the wife sent her to German school.   But the base commander told me I had to take her out and put her in American school on the base.  They learned more in the German school than they did in American school.

I:          I bet they did.

C:        And when they went to the American school, they were three grades ahead of them.  But I had to take them out.  But uh, but I learned them how to be proud of themselves.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And my wife used to ask me, she said how can America be the Land of the Free when you don’t have freedom with each other?



I said, she said well, I knew this.  And then when we first got to the States, in New Jersey,

I:          Um hm.

C:        The first words she heard was nigger lover.  And she, my wife always liked the Hamburger Deluxe that we called it then, with everything on it.

I:          Yeah.
C:        French fries and a chocolate malt.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And that’s how we had our first date was over that.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And uh, the funniest thing about that when we had the hamburger,



she got a knife and a fork.  And I couldn’t figure out what the knife and fork was for.  So, she took and cut the hamburger, ate it with a knife and fork.  And she, you don’t eat it with your hands.  Yes, I do.  She said no, I had set that hamburger with my knife and fork.  And then when I was invited to her people’s house,

I:          Um hm.
C:        I didn’t know about all those glasses and all those knives, forks, and different spoons and stuff.

I:          Right.



C:        So, I was following her lead. And she tricked me.  When they were serving the, uh, hors d’oeuvres, not the hor d’oeuvres but the appetizers,

I:          Um hm.
C:        I grabbed, she grabbed a big for, and I grabbed a big fork, but I didn’t see her put it down.  Here I am trying to get this little thing [INAUDIBLE].  And then uh, we went to the club out on the base, and I took her people watching,

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I ordered chicken in a basket.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And they bring it with French fries on it.

I:          Um hm.



C:        And uh, the wife had schnitzel.  And her uncle had trout, and Katie had fried chicken.  But her’s was served on a plate.  And they used a knife and fork, and I had my hands in it.  I felt something kick me, ow.  She said, I said yeah.  I said look, don’t kick me no more.  I said we eat chicken with our fingers. [LAUGHS]  But getting back to the States, uh,



she caught hell in the States, uh.  It got so bad, like in New York, she went and found a place to live when I go, no.  So, I met a preacher there who’s a Mason.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And uh, I’m a Mason, too.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Of Prince Hall. And uh, we lived in his home till I shipped back to Germany.

I:          How long was that?

C:        Uh, we stayed in the States about a year.  But I stayed overseas more than I did in the States.



And I never made a promotion in the States.  All my promotions were made overseas.  And speaking of promotions, I stayed in grades so long doing all these jobs and stuff.  But my MOS was frozen.  But I trained Caucasian soldiers, and they were awarded over me.

I:          Right.
C:        And so, finally a white sergeant named Simmons, he went to the Colonel and told him.  Now he said Berry has got all these qualifications in the school,



got college degrees, and he still can’t be promoted.  Why?  So, the Colonel looked at him and said we’re gonna promote him.  So, I went three grades in less than six months.

I:          It was a long time coming anyway.

C:        And see, they had a criteria for grading you.  But by keeping this, not only me but a lot of the blacks were held back.  So, when this was instituted,



we went to the head of the list.  All we had to do was walk in, salute, report, and we matched them.

I:          You already met everything.

C:        Yeah.

I:          A long time ago.

C:        And that’s what backfired on them.  That’s why so many blacks or Negros were elevated in the military in the enlisted ranks.  And then, I think the most wonderful thing for me was uh, not coming back home.  That was nice, too, in uniform.  But when I saw a black officer, a Negro officer, I couldn’t believe it.



And I saw him, I mean, I crossed the street to salute him.

I:          Uh huh.
C:        And then I ran way in the front of him and walked back to salute him, yeah.  And he stopped me.  He said um, why are you doing that?  I said cause you’re the first one I’ve seen.  And he said well, he said uh, it’s a little rough.  But uh, we had a white guy who wouldn’t salute, yeah.  The military was rough.  I ain’t gonna lie to you.  And even in Germany, uh,



one night we were sitting in the club, and I went to the restroom.  And I come back, and these white guys were pulling on my wife wanting to dance.  And I said what you guys doing?  What do you care about it?  I said that’s my wife you’re pulling.  So, I had to give him a little uh, uneducated religion, yeah.,

I:          Um hm.

C:        But uh,

I:          So, at this time, though, was it more tolerant than overseas, I mean, in Germany?  Did you feel more comfortable there?



C:        I felt more comfortable with the German people than I did with the browns.

I:          Right.  Did you feel more comfortable in saying that in Germany than you did back here in the States?
C:        Oh yes.  In fact, I was given a medal for being an outstanding gentleman, uh, in Germany.  And it was presented to me at a banquet, yeah. And then they went to the Colonel and asked him if they could keep me over there for six more months.  And I said no way.



So, the Colonel, he said uh, Sergeant Berry, you are going to stay six more months.  I said no sir, I’m going home.  He said Sergeant Berry, you are going to stay six more months with a promotion, aren’t you?  I said yes, sir.  [LAUGHS]

I:          So, you stay in Germany.  And what are you doing there in Germany?  What is your routine like?


C:        In Germany, believe it or not, I had went to computer school.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And um, I was what you call tech supply supervisor of data processing.  And I was one of the first blacks in that. And I caught hell in the school, too.

I:          I bet you did.

C:        They did everything they could to flunk me out.

I:          That’s state of the art, right?  I mean that’s

C:        Well, blacks were unheard of in computer.

I:          Oh.

C:        Yeah.

I:          I mean about the only other place you could do that



training was in like the best schools here in the country, too.

C:        Yeah, it was in Philadelphia.

I:          Okay.  So um, you stayed for another six months, and, hold on one second please.

C:        It’s a funny thing that you stay in America which is your home, yet you have to go out of the country to have some peace of mind.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then when you get over into a foreign country, you still got the American culture and hatred



and prejudice to continue it.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And it’s unbelievable.  But it rings a bell.  It rings that bell uh.  But I was assigned to the um, the 903rd Heavy Equipment Company in Nellingen, Germany.  I checked in that night.  And the next morning in the washroom, this guy walked in, hey boy.  What’s your name?  I didn’t move.  I didn’t know who he’s talking to.  So, I finished washing and shaving



and walked on back to the room I was in.  And so I could hear him in there talking.  Who is that man, you know?  And he’s Cuban, Spanish.  And his name was Garcia.  So, during the Revely sounded, [INAUDIBLE] for Revely, and I fell out, and I fell out in the back.  And he hollered hey boy, come up here.  I stepped up and I said you see this rank on my arm?  That’s what you address me by.



Now, let’s hear it.  I [STUTTERING]  I don’t want no I.  I want to hear it.  And so, he addressed me.

I:          Right.

C:        And then I stepped away.  And then the uh, and then I had to go into the laundry room and stuff.  But then I was assigned to take over and shape up the technical supply there, the office.  And when I walked into this office and checked the records and stuff, it was the worst I’ve ever seen.  So,



I had to read the regulations, and I had to go to supply school for over there cause it was different.  Still the same uh, SOPs and stuff and regulations, but it’s more related, correlated wo the European operation.  So, I had to go to school for four weeks.  And it was a supervisor’s training.  And then I had to go back for more, four weeks for the initial training and then I went back for supervisor training.



But they gave me the supervisor training before the initial training.  And that’s rough.

I:          I’ll bet.

C:        So, I spent five days just reading.  I’d take a shower, go to bed, get up early, reading.   But I made it.  I came out with a B average.

I:          Amazing.

C:        Yeah.  But um, when I took over this unit and I had all Caucasians except one working for me.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I called them together and I told them.



I said look.  I’ve never seen an office run like this.  I don’t know what y’all’s problem is.  I want you to tell me.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And we’re gonna work out something.  We’re gonna do something.  So, this guy said I don’t want to work for a, I said just a minute.  Come here.  I said front and center.  So, he walked over, and I said what does this say?  He said it says Berry.  I said what does this say?



U.S. Army.  I said what does this say?  You’re a Master Sergeant.  I said that’s what I want to hear.  Now let me hear it.

I:          Um hm.
C:        I said anymore questions?  I said fall back.  So then, I said now here’s, what kind of place would you like to be?  When you get inspected, that you are high on the totem pole or low on the totem pole or in between.  So, I had one little boy.



He was from Mississippi.  He said I’d like to be on the top. That was my first one.  I had 14.

I:          Um hm.

C:        So, they said they wanted to be on top.  So, I said okay, here’s the plan of action.  I said here’s the regulations.  I said you’re my clerk.  I want you to set me up a file for all these regulations.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Also, I want you to set me up another file, a separate file, for Army SOPs or Europe Corps,



for Regimental, and for the company and battalion.  I want all the.  He said well, how I do it?  I said you make them all the same.  We just put one thing company battalion.

I:          Um hm.

C:        He said oh, okay.  Then I got to the um, the man who checks the requisitions when they come in, told him what I wanted

I:          Um hm.

C:        And then I got to the guy who also showed, keeps a record of what comes in and goes out.  And I showed him what I want him to do.  Then I went into the warehouse.



Showed him what I want him to do.

I:          Um hm.
C:        They had not uh, put in the new um, vocational stuff that the Army wanted in Europe for the warehouse.  So, I showed him how to do that.  This was a highly secret, uh, they were having atomic capabilities, we do.

I:          Right.
C:        And we had atomic capabilities in there.  And then when I went to the atomic section, this guy didn’t want to let me in.  I said,



well, I’m in charge of this place.  You open that door.  So, he said I’m not gonna open this door.  I said do I have to go get my 45?  So, finally he opened the door.

I:          Um hm.

C:        He said but I had to make sure it was you.  I said I’m glad to see that.  So, then um, I checked the amount of the atomic stuff that we had, and everything checked out.

I:          Um hm.

C:        Every type of armament we had, everything checked out.  So, then we got set up into something,



and I went out in the yard and set that up.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And then I went into the maintenance part of our vehicles and made sure that was, and I went into the building where they lived and I told them, I don’t believe in Friday night GI parties.  That’s what it was called in the Service.  I said if you got the GI on Friday, it shows you’re living like a pig all week.  I said I don’t want that.  I said on Friday night, you should be able to finish work, come up here and take your shower, go eat, downtown in the Mess Hall,



and bring some beer and go see your girlfriend in Hawaii.  And that’s what happened.  I put them all in for promotions.  Oooh, that raised a stink.

I:          Oh, really?
C:        Yeah.  The Commander called me. You can’t put all these people in for promotions.  I said why not?  I said I’m gonna submit it.  You rejected it.

I:          Yeah.
C:        So, what happened was I had a name over there, a reputation for doing right.  And the Colonel had picked me to go to this company to straighten it up.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And being a tolerant capability,



it had to be correct.

I:          Right.
C:        And it got so good that they sent people in for the reports that come up from Washington over there.  And they gave them high excellent, first time in history.  And the Colonel was a Lieutenant Colonel, he got made Colonel.  The Executive Officer got made Lieutenant Colonel, and I got a promotion, too, and my men, all of them got a promotion.

I:          Alright.

C:        So, that was one of my proudest moments.  And then when I got orders to go to Viet Nam, that’s when um,



my wife stayed with her people.  But then when I got ready to leave that morning, she can’t come down at night cause the Colonel asked me to have her come down, her and the kids,

I:          Um hm.
C:        So, he said, they came down with her family.  And that morning when I went into the company with them, shook hands with everybody and walked out, all the men were lined up.  And they shook hands with me, and they had a staff car waiting to take us to Frankfort.

I:          Oh.



C:        That was a highlight of my life.  I cried.

I:          I bet.
C:        And then when I got to Viet Nam, I met some of those same men that served with me.  And I got them over there with me.  And Viet Nam was, I was never called the N word more in my life than I was there.

I:          You’re kidding me?

C:        I’m not kidding you.  It was so degrading.  Yet we were supposed to be uh, Army.  The dope that they smoked, the drinking.



Everything was just unbelievable.  And those Vietnamese, and the um, I was in charge of the first deck there.  They would steal; they would steal more than you could ever see.  And uh, I remember one day I was at the hospital, and I saw these Vietcongs they had.  And we had some bodies of Americans they just brought in in body bags.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And one of them



spit on it and I pulled my 45.  I was gonna blow his head off.  But something made me stop.  And so, one of the MPs said Sarge, he said, please don’t do it.  They ain’t worth it. And I put it back in my holster.  That’s how they inspect the dead.  And then they had some Vietcong prisoners that went on strike.  They wouldn’t eat, yeah.  But there was a lot of friction there in Viet Nam between the white men and colored soldiers.



Now when Martin Luther King got killed, I had a war like that between the white and the blacks.  And I called all of them out together, and I told the biggest black and the biggest white to come forward. I said now I want you to fight.  Ain’t gonna be no mass fighting.  It’s gonna be you two.  If you don’t, I’m gonna take this over for you.  But they come to agreement, and that’s solid.  But it was very tense over there.  But they had some



hard fighting between blacks and white in other places.  And it was very, very dramatic.  It was very serious.  And then uh, I almost lost my career because of a Vietnamese girl.  I was in the Officers’ Club, an NCO Club, too, and, with her [INAUDIBLE], and this girl went and told the manager that I had pinched her on her posterior.

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I had not.



I didn’t like the Vietnamese.  I still don’t.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Cause I don’t think not one body we lost over there is worth it.  There was nothing in our interest.  Of course, I was called down for my speaking.  But anyhow, uh, I thought I was back in Mississippi when I was in Viet Nam.  And then when I got, they were gonna put me back in the Service in Desert Storm, I said I’m not going.



But I don’t have no regrets being a military man.  You did a lot of good.

I:          How long did you actually stay in the Service?
C:        Twenty-two years and two months.

I:          Twenty years.  And when did you finally retire from the Service?
C:        Uh, ’68, February.

I:          Okay, February ’68.  Now, talk about what, were there any advances?  I mean, was there any progress made during this time when you were in the Service?



C:        Yes.

I:          As far as racially.

C:        Like I was telling, when all those troops that were amassed, when me and the wife and my kids walked through,

I:          Um hm.

C:        There was only four blacks in the whole bunch.

I:          And that was for an individual.

C:        For me.  They were my people.

I:          Right.

C:        Yeah.  And it was unheard of a black being in computers and in charge of whites like that.

I:          Right.
C:        I’m telling you.

I:          Right.  And so, you did it.  You stuck with it.

C:        Yeah.

I:          And, I mean, you had



to really fight your way.

C:        I had to fight.

I:          Just to get it.

C:        I had to be the best in anything.

I:          Um hm.

C:        I spent long hours making sure the paperwork was right, supplies coming in, you know.

I:          Yeah.  Now, what would you say now?  I know you said that now it’s still just a job.

C:        Well, to an extent it is. I look at the relationships, especially the promotions a lot better now.

I:          Um hm.



C:        Uh, the accommodations for families is good, for an individual who doesn’t have a family is good, the housing and stuff.

I:          Um hm.
C:        Um, equipment’s good.  And the money they make is good.  But if I could make the money they’re making now, I wouldn’t, ooo.  But that’s a lot of progress there.

I:          Um hm.

C:        There was a lot of understanding, uh.  Even in the hospitals is a lot different.  You got a different, more educated person now you get.


A lot of the people from the South and North see that we have to live as buddies, and we’re gonna fail.

I:          Um hm.

C:        We can’t continue to say I’m better than somebody else.  But I still say until all the old die, then we’re gonna still have it.

I:          Right.
C:        You still got it right here in Chattanooga.

I:          I agree.

C:        Oh, you could see it.

I:          I know I’m being stupid to tell you I didn’t see it.

C:        Yeah, you can see it.  All you gotta do is watch when an interracial couple come in or a nice dressed black couple.



And some of them are prejudiced against whites.  And it works both ways, black and white, you know.

I:          Let me talk about real quick now from the time you leave Viet Nam and come back.  Did you get discharged after you leave Viet Nam then?
C:        Yeah.  I had put in for retirement before I left Germany.  But a Sergeant there who was prejudiced, uh,



My request never got past his desk.  And when I received orders, I told, you write Washington cause I requested to be retired six months ago.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And if he had requested already, they probably would have let me out, but they didn’t.

I:          Um hm.
C:        So, I had to go over to Viet Nam.

I:          So, afterwards, you come back.  What do you do after you get out of the Service?

C:        Well, when I got out of the Service, I started working for a bank.  And then

I:          Where was that?

C:        In Tacoma, Washington.



I:          How’d you end up in Tacoma, Washington?
C:        Well, I was stationed in Fort Lewis.  And my wife liked the area, and I did too.  There’s good fishing out there.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And so, we just bought a house there.

I:          Okay.
C:        We rented it out while we were gone all the time.

I:          Uh huh.  Alright.  So, you go to work in Tacoma.

C:        Yeah.
I:          And then, is that where you are now?

C:        Yeah, um hm.
I:          You’re still [INAUDIBLE]

C:        Yeah.  I uh, I started working for a bank.  And then I had



I’d always liked to have been a mortician, too.  So, I started working for a funeral home there.

I:          Um hm.
C:        And uh, around 1970 I think it was.  And I learned and everything, you know, things to do for everything,

I:          Um hm.

C:        And I stayed with the funeral home for about 20 years.

I:          I see.  And now uh, your wife, and how many children do you have?
C:        We have three.

I:          Three children.  What are their names?



C:        We have Amaly, Ella and Charmaine.

I:          Amaly now is how old is she?

C:        Amaly is 55.

I:          Okay.  I was gonna say she

C:        No, she’s, well anyhow, she’s uh, she was born when I was 22.

I:          Okay.  [INAUDIBLE]

C:        Uh, Ella is married.  She has got uh, two children, a boy and a girl.

I:          What are their names?
C:        Uh, Germaine and Natalie.  Natalie’s gonan have a baby in August.

I:          I’ll be darned.

C:        Yeah.
I:          Where do they live?
C:        Uh, San Diego, California.



And then Amaly, my daughter, she’s married.  And she only got a little dog named Rosie that is so human.  And she lives in Vancouver, BC.

I:          Okay.

C:        British Columbia, Canada.

I:          How’d she end up in Canada?

C:        Well, she said daddy, she was just tired of all the prejudice she was experiencing.

I:          Uh huh.

C:        And we were up in Canada camping, and she met some people.  And she, I said go for it.  And so, right now, she’s a criminal investigator for the Hudson Bay Company.

I:          Wow.  Well, your family’s spread out all over the country.

C:        Oh yeah.



I:          West coast and
C:        And then I have my youngest daughter, Charmaine, uh.  She lives in Maple Valley which is about 20 miles from us.  And she’s married to Nole, and she has two sons, Matthew and Mark.  And Matthew’s in the University of Washington as a straight A student.

I:          That’s great.  That’s a lot to be proud of.

C:        I’m very proud.

I:          Yeah.
C:        I’m very proud.  And the thing about it is my wife, when she came to the States, she wanted to teach, she had to go back to the University



over in America here in order to teach.  And they couldn’t teach her nothing.  Her education was already great in Europe.  And me and her and Etta graduated the same time.

I:          That’s amazing.  Well, we have 45 seconds.

C:        Okay.

I:          Is there anything you’d like to say that we didn’t cover in the interview?
C:        No.  I’m very proud to have been a serviceman.  And I ‘m a very proud Tennessean.

I:          Thank you for your time.

C:        Okay.