Korean War Legacy Project

Willard Maktima


Willard Maktima was born in 1929 on a Native Hopi Indian Reservation in Arizona. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean War and was stationed on the USS Furse destroyer ship after completing basic training. Unfortunately, he faced discrimination when stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, due to his American Indian heritage, which was enforced by the Jim Crow laws of the southeastern United States. He was later promoted to a second-class petty officer and was stationed at the air missile test center in Point Mugu, California. There, he was responsible for documenting court marshals and delivering confidential messages between test sites. He utilized the GI Bill to continue his education and obtained a GED and a college degree. After his military service, he had a successful career as a supervisor of all the purchasing for the Navajo Tribe.

Video Clips

Basic Training and Ship Duties

Willard Maktima recounts his experience attending boot camp where he was the only American Indian in his company but was able to interact with people from different backgrounds. He shares how basic training involved a lot of marching, learning about Naval history, and firing weapons. He recalls how, upon completing boot camp, he was stationed on the USS Furse destroyer ship which was docked at the San Diego Harbor. He explains their main responsibility was to protect battle and supply ships that sailed out at sea. He details how the crew would track foreign submarines and prepare to intercept any potential torpedoes.

Tags: Basic training,Civilians,Home front,Living conditions,Message to Students,Poverty,Pride,Weapons

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Discrimination in the Southeast U.S.

Willard Maktima explains that during the war, his squadron was split in half with one half being sent to Korea and the other half (to which he belonged) being stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, to prepare for the Cold War campaign. He shares how he, unfortunately, experienced discrimination while stationed in the southeastern region of the United States due to being an American Indian. He recounts how this discrimination was enforced by the Jim Crow laws which required him to use separate bathrooms and drinking fountains from White people. He recalls how, on one occasion, he informed a bus driver he was an American Indian, not White, and chose to sit in the back of the bus where African Americans were also segregated.

Tags: Civilians,Communists,Food,Home front,Living conditions,Message to Students,Pride,Rest and Relaxation (R&R)

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Submarines and Hurricanes

Willard Maktima shares a story about his squadron's mission to transport a detachment of United States Marines from Hamburg, Germany, to Sweden, in order to participate in the funeral procession of the Swedish king. He recounts how, during their journey, the ship's sonar detected submarines in the Baltic Sea, forcing the crew to be on high alert until they left the region. He recalls the ship encountering two hurricanes while sailing through the Atlantic Ocean. He describes the harsh conditions below deck and the ship's violent impact against the waves which he found to be a very frightening experience.

Tags: Communists,Fear,Living conditions,Monsoon,Physical destruction,Weapons

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A Desire to Learn

Willard Maktima shares his experience as a second-class petty officer at the air missile test center in Point Mugu, California. He explains he was responsible for documenting court marshals that took place on the base and delivering confidential messages between missile test sites. He notes how, during his downtime, he would often read books in the library. He reminisces on one of the librarians asking him about his future plans after the service which inspired him to obtain a GED and later pursue a college degree.

Tags: G.I. Bill,Home front,Living conditions,Message to Students,Pride,Rest and Relaxation (R&R),Weapons

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


I:          Today is June 30, 2018.  We are at the Museum of Northen Arizona during the Hopi Festival.  And I am interviewing, uh, Willard Maktima.

W:       Maktima.

I:          Maktima.  Thank you for correcting me, uh, who is a member of the Hopi Tribe.



He served uh, in the U.S. Navy from October 1948 to July 1955.  He was born at King’s Canyon in, um, 1929, right?

W:       Right.
I:          And uh, my name is Jolene Caruso.  On camera, I have Clint Lisk.  And so Willard, uh, tell me a little bit about your family background.

W:       Where do you want me to start?

I:          Wherever you’d like to, sit.



W:       Okay.  Uh, my mother and father are from uh, Hopi Reservation.  And uh, they came, they were born in uh, my father was born in [INAUDIBLE] Arizona.  My mother was born in uh, Hotevilla, Arizona on the Hopi Reservation.  And originally, uh, lived in Oraibi Reservation.



But they had a dispute there among the clans.  So, a group of the clans moved to Hotevilla.  Hotevilla wasn’t established at that time.  It was just land, uh, cedar trees there.  But since they were moved out of, this one clan moved out of the Oraibi, they needed to move out and go where they were supposed to go to





Another Indian site which was a little bit north of uh, Oraibi where they had a settlement there a long time ago.  But they left there in September and the winter months coming.  And they didn’t think they could make it that far to the old ruins.  So, they settled over at the cliff.  And at the end of a cliff at Hotevilla.



And they stayed there, and they just decided to settle there instead of going all the way up north to, where they were supposed to go, you know.

I:          Um hm.

W:       Out of the weather.  The cold weather was setting in.  So, they just built homes there and established the Village of Hotevilla.  And that’s where my mother was born.

I:          Okay.  And uh, so, your mother moved to King’s Canyon?

W:       No.



Uh, she got pregnant, and they had a government hospital in King’s Canyon.

I:          Oh.

W:       And then they went there, and that’s where I was born in the Indian hospital at King’s Canyon.

I:          Oh, okay.

W:       Yes.

I:          Alright.  And so, tell me about your childhood a little bit.

W:       Childhood, I was originally raised on the Hopi Reservation in Hotevilla until about, I was at the age of three years old.



My dad got a job at Winslow with the Sante Fe Railroad.  And so, we moved, they moved us to Winslow.  At that time, I had an older brother named Lauren.  And there was me and uh, that’s when we moved to Winslow.  And my dad had a good job there with the railroad there.  He worked in the machine shop for the Santa Fe Railroad.  And then he



Also worked at the icehouse where they make ice.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And uh, then all of a sudden, they had a strike at the railroad company.  And uh, people would go in asking for a raise.  And that’s when they were striking, raising wages.  And my dad was on the um, the side of the people that wanted a raise, you know.  So, he was one



Of the protesters.  But the Santa Fe went away, so all those that protested against the Santa Fe were fired.  So, he got fired from the Santa Fe.  But we never left Winslow.  We stayed there, and he got jobs in town, and they were here and there in town in Winslow, Arizona.  But every summer, we’d go to the Reservation, you know.


He tried to raise me out there to become acquainted with my culture and my people and my relatives and everyone, you know.

I:          Um hm.
W:       So, I’d go out there in the summertime almost every year after I was born.  And after that, after I got in the school age, uh, I went to uh, grade school in Winslow, Arizona, first grade up to uh, eighth grade and then to Winslow High School.



I went to school in Winslow my freshman year, sophomore year and my junior year. I finished my junior year.  I was ready to go in my senior year.  But I quit high school in 11th grade and joined the Service.  But uh at that time, uh,



I:          So, you didn’t finish high school.

W:       No.

I:          And you joined the Service.

W:       Right.
I:          Why did you choose the Navy?

W:       Well, my brother was in the Second World War.  And he told me about the good things he experienced while he was in the Navy at that time.  He said you get three meals a day, sleep in a clean bed.  He said join the Navy when you get old enough, you know.



So, he was more less, you know, gave me the inspiration of wanting to join the Navy.

I:          Okay.  So, where did you go to sign up for the Navy?
W:       Well, I signed up in Winslow.

I:          In Winslow.

W:       Right.  I went to Flagstaff for my preliminary, uh, physical exam.  And then from there, I went to Los Angeles to take a physical again.  And then from there, I passed the physical, and then they sent me to boot camp in San Diego, Naval Training Station.



Okay.  And had you ever been on the West Coast before, seen the ocean?
W:       Oh yes.  Uh, my dad when he worked for the Santa Fe, we used to go to LA for, you know, on his vacation.  We’d go to the beach.  He’d take us to the beach, and I’d go swimming.

I:          Okay.  So, it wasn’t a big surprise.

W:       No.  But it was fun when he was working, you know.  But after he got fired, our uh,



Economically, our family kind of went down, you know, cause it wasn’t a steady paychecks any more.

I:          Right.  What was boot camp like for you?
W:       Boot camp was uh, I enjoyed it, you know, because it was something new to me.  And uh, I met a lot of different nationalities, and I made friends which I never did in high school, you know.  Of course, I went to school in public school, and I met a lot of white kids.



But not from different parts of the country, you know.

I:          Right.
W:       And you learned about, you know, where they come from, what they ate, their way of living, you know, cause they were different nationalities in the Navy, you know.

I:          Um hm.
W:       Especially in boot camp.

I:          Right.
W:       You had people, you had Mexicans there, Spanish, coloreds and different Europeans, you know.

I:          Right.

W:       Uh,

I:          Any other Native Americans?
W:       No.  I was the only one there



In that camp.  But there were some there, you know.  But I just happened to be in the Company where I was the only Indian there.

I:          Uh huh.

W:       Um hm.

I:          Okay.  And how long were you there, in boot camp?
W:       Uh, I think we were there six months.  No.  Yeah.  Let’s see. I went in October, eight months.

I:          Okay.  And you enjoyed that?
W:       Yes.  I liked it because you know,



They taught you discipline.  They taught you, uh, leadership.  They taught you uh,              physical hygiene, you know.

I:          Right.

W:       You had to wash your own clothes, you bathed every morning and night.  It was a good experience for me.  A lot of the things we didn’t have at home, you know, when I joined the Service.

I:          Right.  Okay.  So um, what kind of military training did you get?



W:       In boot camp?
I:          Um hm.

W:       Uh, mostly just marching and uh, naval history, a touch of naval history.

I:          Okay.

W:       And they’d take you to the firing range over at the Marine base in town.  I think it was Pendleton.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And that’s where we’d get some small arms firing, you know.

I:          Okay.

W:       Get acquainted with, uh, weapons.  And uh, they taught us uh, firefighting on ships.



And gas, how to help with gas attacks.

I:          Um.

W:       That was really interesting.

I:          Okay.  And um, so after your basic training, where did you go?

W:       After I got out of basic training, uh, each individual in our company after basic training was assigned a permanent duty station.  So, everybody got assigned to a ship or shore duty somewhere, you know, in the United States.



Uh, I was unfortunate enough to get assigned to a destroyer ship uh, on the West Coast on the San Diego Harbor there.  They have a destroyer base there, and that’s where they sent me to get assignment on a destroyer.  And I was assigned to the4 USS Furse.  And uh,



A destroyer squadron there.  Their duty was to uh, protect the large ships when they go out to sea.

I:          Um hm.

W:       Battleships, escorting the supply ships, carriers, you know, in the case of torpedoes, you know.  We were the ones there to be the ones who tracked down the submarines or intercept a torpedo coming at them.

I:          Um hm.

W:       Like a kamikaze unit.





I:          So uh,

W:       So, after that, you know, we were just about then Korea was getting hot.  Korean War as getting hot.  So, our squadron was split up. Not only that, but we were sending the Cold War with Russia in the Atlantic Ocean.  So, they were anticipating the War to start in Korea.


So, they split our squadron up.  So, half of them went to Korea, and our half went to the Atlantic Coast.  So, we went down through the Panama Canal and went over to the Atlantic Ocean.  And our port there, when we first got to the Atlantic Port, was in Norfolk, Virginia.  That was our home port.  It was a big old naval base there.

I:          Right.  Huge.

W:       Yeah.

I:          Uh, how was the trip by sea?  Were you okay?  Or did you get seasick?



W:       Well, when I first got on the ship, I thought I was gonna get seasick.  But I never did get seasick.  I just, for some reason.  But all the guys on the ship that came out of boot camp, they all got sick, you know.  They were puking over the side. I never did get sick.  I don’t know why.

I:          I’m glad you were okay.

W:       Yeah.
I:          That can be miserable.  I’ve been seasick.  Um, when you got to Norfolk, then that was a completely different uh,



Part of the country and a different uh, bunch of people than in San Diego, right?
W:       Oh yes, uh huh.

I:          What did you think of that?
W:       Well, south of uh, Norfolk, Virgini, the people there were very prejudiced against coloreds or, you know, any coloreds other than white.  That’s what I experienced.

I:          So, you experienced some racial

W:       Oh yes, uh huh.



I:          Prejudice yourself?

W:       Cause I’d go down south through, I had a friend that was stationed at Camp LeJeune in the Marine Corps there on the base.

I:          Um hm.

W:       In North Carolina, and we’d stop at the bus station when I got there from Norfolk to Camp LeJeune, we started making bus stops and I’d notice that these bus stops had separate, uh, bathrooms from whites and others.



You know.
I:          Um.

W:       Which had coloreds or coloreds, Indians or.

I:          Oh my gosh.

W:       And even had drinking fountains, you could not drink where the white people.
I:          And you had

W:       You couldn’t go to the restraint with the white people.  That was really prejudiced down there.

I:          Yeah.  And you hadn’t experienced that ever because

W:       No.  In the West, we didn’t experience that cause we’re a mixture there on the West Coast, you know.

I:          What was your reaction?



How did you feel about that?
W:       I didn’t like it.  But you know, I didn’t make the regulations for the state, for the states in the South.  So, I remember one time when I went to Camp LeJeune with my friend, I got, just when I was getting on the bus, the bus driver said you don’t have to sit back there with them coloreds.  And you know, on the bus there’s a white line where the coloreds sit on the back end of that white line, and the whites sit up front.



I said well, I’m not white, so I’m gonna sit back there. [LAUGHS] So, I went all the way back and sat with the coloreds, you know.

I:          Good for you.

W:       Yeah.

I:          Good for you.

W:       Cause I wasn’t prejudiced against anyone.

I:          Yeah.
W:       They made the rules.  So, I was only abiding by their rules, you know.  I wasn’t white.  So, I sat with the coloreds.

I:          I be the, uh, other colored people



On the bus were appreciative.

W:       Oh I, yeah.  I sat with this one guy, I’ll call him that.  And on our way down to Camp LeJeune, we got settled on the bus.  And I had a pint of whiskey in my bag, you know. I  said man, I feel thirsty for a drink.  I was sitting next to this old colored man.  And he said I sure don’t have anything.  Otherwise, I’d give you a drink.



I said well, I got one.  Maybe we can have a drink together.  So, I opened it up, and I took a swig out of it, and I gave it to him you know, and he says oh thank you, and he took a big old swig.  And I says I don’t have a handkerchief to wipe the top.  Wipe the top of what?  He said well, I just drank out of it.  I don’t care.  I said it’s 100 proof alcohol, you know.  Tahere’s no germs around the lip of that bottle.  So, I took it back and took a drink.



We had fun going on to North Carolina, me and that old colored man.  [INAUDIBLE] we started talking, talking you know.  We became friends.

I:          Good.  Um, so your friend um, in Camp LeJeune, were you able to keep in touch with him?
W:       Oh yeah.  I spent uh, what was it, Thanksgiving down there with him on the base.  In fact, he was



He was restricted for the base, so we couldn’t get off the base.  So, I just stayed there the whole weekend of Thanksgiving.  And he happened to be [INAUDIBLE] we were raised together in Winslow.  But he joined the Marine Corps before I did, and I went second.  And he was there for training.  And he was also a boxer.  And he won the All Service



Middleweight Championship.  And that’s all Services.  That’s Navy, Army Air Corp.  He was well known.

I:          Nobody messed with him I bet.

W:       His name was [INAUDIBLE] House.  He was one of the first Indian representatives of Arizona in Phoenix.

I:          Cool.

W:       He was from the Navajo tribe.



I:          So, after you left um, left Norfolk, did you ever just go out on the destroyer and stay out for a month or two?
W:       Oh yeah.  We always had to be on for battle because we had this Cold War with Russia then, you know.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And Russia was uh, sending submarines out into the Atlantic.



So, we always had naval operations with the 6th Fleet.  That’s the whole 6th fleet or warships.  And we’d go down to the Caribbean for operation maneuvering, you know.  And then we’d come back to Norfolk.  And then we finally got assigned to a permanent station, base station, up in Newport, Rhode Island.  So, we transferred up to Newport, Rhode Island.



And in the winter, we’d go overseas to Europe, to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.  And so, I got to go to many countries in Europe.

I:          So, you did have some shore leave.
W:       Yeah, oh yeah.  Every country we went to in Europe, uh, they gave us leave on the weekends, you know.

I:          Oh, I bet that was really fun.

W:       Yeah.  So, I remember I was [INAUDIBLE]



I used to read about these different countries in high school in Geography books, you know.  And now there I am looking at all these places.

I:          Right.  What was your favorite?
W:       Uh, I liked Athens, Greece.  I had my picture taken there at the Parthenon.  And then, uh, Germany was a real friendly country to me.  I was treated very nice there.

I:          What?
W:       And England was good.



England and Ireland and the Netherlands.

I:          Did you, uh, when you were aboard the destroyer, uh, in those maneuvers, did you ever uh, find a submarine or they found you?
W:       We’d track them.  But as long as they don’t bother us, we don’t bother them, you know.

I:          Right.

W:       But soon as they attacked you around, [INAUDIBLE], they’ll take off and, you know, get away from you cause the destroyer runs almost 50 mph full speed.



They can catch up with a submarine once they find them.  And they catch up with them, you know, then we got sonar which penetrates the sound when you’re in water.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And that’s how we’d detect uh, submarines.

I:          Was there ever a time when it was really tense when you thought you

W:       Well, one time we went to, we went up to uh, Sweden.  The thing that Sweden had George King, uh,



George, King George V died in Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden.  So, we were there in Hamburg, Germany.  And so, the United States represented the military forces in Sweden.  But the further we took a detachment of Marines up there to march in the funeral parade.

I:          Huh.

W:       And when we went to, we had to go through the Baltic Sea



And when we entered the Baltic Sea, our sonar picked up submarines following us all the way up to Sweden.

I:          Oh my gosh.  I bet that

W:       All the way out, you know.

I:          Bet that made you nervous, didn’t it?

W:       Oh, battles were tense.

I:          Yeah.

W:       Soon as we got into the Baltic Sea, we had to all go to battle stations immediately until we got to Sweden, until we got out of there.

I:          Oh.  Okay.  Uh, were there any other incidences like that?



W:       Uh, the only other bad incidents we had, we managed to hurricanes when we were in the Atlantic.

I:          Oh boy.

W:       Knew when to come in.  And that’s really, I’ve never been scared.  That’s really scary, you know.  You’re ship goes up almost perpendicular.  And it comes down hard.  And when it’s hard,



The plates on the destroyer are plates and are just rooted together all way around.  As soon as that destroyer hits a wave again when it comes down, it just rattles it, you know.  And uh, the only people can maneuver around, you know, on foot, was the people that have to be on watch on the ship.  All the rest of the crew are down in their bunks where they sleep, and they’ve tied in cause you can’t walk on account of the hurricane.



I:          Oh my gosh.  How long did that last?
W:       It’ll last two days maybe, 2 ½ days.  That’s rugged.

I:          I’ll bet.

W:       Yeah.
I:          Where was that?  What part of the ocean were you in?
W:       Well, we were up in uh, let’s see.  We were in France when we first got the warning that there was a hurricane coming.  So, all the ships had to pull out of France cause that’s where were that weekend.  And once you got out into the Atlantic,



That’s where we hit the hurricane.

I:          Wow.  And you had two.

W:       Yeah.
I:          Where was the other one?
W:       The other one was coming in over from the United States over to Europe.

I:          So, before you ever even got there, you were in a hurricane.

W:       Yeah.  But you know, you go over there, the Atlantic is really rough, especially in the wintertime when the wind’s blowing.  That’s when the hurricanes start coming in.



And then the waves are about 50’ high then.

I:          That would have been really scary.

W:       Oh yeah.
I:          Yeah.  Only two of them though, right?

W:       Yep.

I:          And you survived obviously.

W:       Yeah.

I:          Here you are.

W:       We were tied into our bunks.  The only way they fed us is they threw a box of sandwiches down there, and you just pass them around in the compartment where we sleep, you know.  That’s how we ate.

I:          Gosh.
W:       Yeah.



I:          So um, you were on active duty uh, till 1955.

W:       Yeah.  Well, I spent my first three years on the destroyer, no, four years because during the Korean War, we were involuntarily expedited for one more year of Service by the President of the United States on account of the Korean War.  You couldn’t get out.  So, I couldn’t get discharged after I



Completed my three years.  So, I had to serve another four years.  So, at the end of my fourth year, when I was there on that ship yet, uh, they asked me well Maktima, you gonna enlist or do you want to get transferred to shore duty?  We got you lined up for shore duty.  I said where’s the shore duty at?  They said Point Mugu, California.  I said where is Point Mugu?  The guy said well, it’s



Over in, uh, near Oxnard, Arizona, I mean Oxnard, California, just south of Santa Monica.  It’s right on the coast.  So, I thought about it, and I said well, I spent four years in the Navy on a destroyer already, and I was tired of staying, you know, living on a ship.  I was ready to get out and go home.  I just so happened to be broke, too.



So, I said well, how about I’ll ship over and I’ll get 30 days with it, you know.  So, I took the 30 days on the ship for three more years.  And then I got transferred there at Santa Monica, I mean to Point Mugu, California.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And I spent three years there.

I:          What were you doing there?  Did you enjoy it?
W:       Well, while I was still on the destroyer, they found out I could uh,



I could type and take shorthand.  And when I first go aboard the destroyer, I was doing nothing but deckhand work like mopping the floors, I mean, the decks, cleaning the compartments, cleaning and washing out on top of the deck, painting the ship.  They were just general maintenance work on the ship.

I:          Um hm.



W:       But after [INAUDIBLE] they found I could type and do shorthand, they asked me in the office on the destroyer do I wanna work there, you know?  They were gonna try me out in the office to work as a typist, take care of personnel records and type up the weather report every day. I guess I did good cause they finally sent me to school for additional training in that type of work.  It was called Yeoman.



I was a Yeoman at that time.  I was asked to be transferred into the, working in the office on the ship.  They sent me to Class B Yeoman’s school in Norfolk, Virginia.  So, they flew me all the way from Newport, Rhode Island down to Norfolk.  And I was in Norfolk for six weeks for that type of training where they show you how to take care of, uh,



Enlisted men’s personnel records and officer’s records, you know, on the ship.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And then after I completed that course, I went back to my ship.  And that’s when I started being a Yeoman for the ship.

I:          Did you enjoy that? I bet it was better than

W:       Oh yeah.  It was better than doing deckhand work.


Mandatory.  They’d call for the morning doing nothing but typing.  I’d have to go to mass which is uh, like a court martial, you know, if anybody did wrong on the ship.

I:          Yeah.
W:       [INAUDIBLE] and I’d go to mass. I’d be the commander’s uh, stenographer more less cause I could take shorthand.

I:          Um hm.
W:       And I’d record the uh, findings of each person’s uh,



Findings, you know.

I:          What kind of things were court martialed?
W:       Well, a lot of them were fighting.  A lot of fighting on the ship, you know.  Uh, others are getting in trouble on the beach when you go out, get off the ship.  People get drunk, rowdy and all that, you know, and come back.  Or people overstay their leave.  When they leave the ship, they don’t come back on time.



So, those are the different types of punishment you get when you go to court martial.  If it’s habitual, you know, then they get rid of you, and you get a dishonorable discharge.

I:          And so, you did that for the rest of the time you were in the Service?
W:       Well, on the ship, yeah.  But then when I took the shore duty, I got transferred to uh,



Point Mugu. And they have an air missile test out there.  And they have a air station there.  So, when I first reported to Point Mugu, I was assigned to the hanger where they keep all these jet airplanes.  And what I did was at the hanger was uh, I was in charge of uh, having role call of all the enlisted men assigned to that air station.  So, that’s what I did mostly.



Well, after I was, after uh, I was assigned to the air station there, about a year I was there on Point Mugu Air Missile Test Center, uh, I got a promotion to Second Class Petty Officer.  And after the main office wound up on the



Base of that, I got a promotion.  They transferred me back to the main office where I started doing assignment work with the commanding officer of the base. I did the same thing I was doing on ship during court martials.  I’d go to court martials and record it, type up the findings and have the commanding officer sign it, you know, to all our legal papers.



And then on weekends, I’d uh, we’d have the whole base personnel inspections.  That’s where we had Marines and the Navy on the base there.  So, every weekend or once a month, we’d have a personnel inspection out at the airfield where all the Marines would march on the field, and the Navy personnel, and the commanding officer, we’d go



Row down row to each man, Navy and Marines, inspecting each personnel.  And any discrepancies the commander finds I take notes of names, and they’d get punishment for it, whatever they hadn’t done right, they didn’t dress right or something was wrong with their dress, you know, or their appearance.  And I had to take all those notes down.  And then after



Personnel inspection, I would, we would go to every facility on the base.

I:          That was a lot of responsibility.
W:       That was a lot of work, yeah.
I:          Yeah.  Cause you had to be very accurate.

W:       Oh yeah.  And then I, and then they assigned me to a base that they had about four missile sites where they practiced launching missiles.  And then during my,



I didn’t have any court martial duties to attend to, I’d be a personal messenger delivering top secret messages to these different missile sites. I did that on my own.  They assigned me a vehicle, and I’d go to these sites where these different secret operations were to deliver them.  So, I had a really responsible job there.

I:          Yeah, I’ll say.

W:       So, when I was there,



I hadn’t finished high school.  So, I became friends with a commander that was in charge of the library on the base.  And I used to go the library, and I used to read and check out books to read.  And he noticed I’d go there all the time, and he said what are you gonna do when you get out of the Service cause my time was coming up there too, you know.  I was about to complete my three years there.



And I said oh, I don’t know yet, I said.  He says you plan on going to school or college?  No, I didn’t even graduate high school, I said.  I don’t think I’ll be able to go to college, you know, without a high school education.  And he says well, I’ll tell you what he says.  [INAUDIBLE] he said you ever heard of the GED test?  I said no, I never heard of it.  He goes well, it’s just a test you take, and then you pass it and you get



A diploma equivalent to a high school education.  And with that, you can get into any college in the United States.  I said, is that right?  He says yeah.  He says uh, what’d you think about it he said?  I said well, it don’t cost me nothing, I might as well take the test.  So, I took the test, and I passed the test.  So, at least I got an equivalency test to show I had a high school education, you know.



And I didn’t know down the road that was gonna really help me.  I took it and passed it, you know.  And so, during that time, I was at my last years there at Point Mugu.  I got married to a high school uh, girl that I knew before I got into the Service.  And uh, went on leave, I got married.



And came back and, we came back to, I brought her back.  We went to the base.  We got housing on the base.  We lived in, they had special housing for uh, married couples.

I:          Um hm.

W:       On the naval base there.  And uh, we had our first child, my first boy was born there at the naval base at Point Mugu.

I:          What was the housing like?



W:       We lived in Quonset huts, two-bedroom houses, Quonsets you know.

I:          Oh.

W:       They’re made into two bedrooms.  That was pretty nice.  They furnished everything you want, all your bedding, your eating utensils, dishes.  Everything was furnished by the Navy.

I:          Wow.  Good.

W:       So, just moved in.  Just put, bring your rags and move in.  That’s what we did.

I:          And how long were you there?


W:       Oh, about a year and a half cause at that time, then my wife got city life and everything.  So, and I just got shore duty in Hawaii too, you know.

I:          Oh wow.
W:       So, I said how’d you like to go to no, no, no.  I wanna go home.  So, I said well, we’ll go home.  So, I got discharged, and we came home.  We all came back to Arizona.  And my wife’s folks were from Winslow, Arizona too.  So, her folks,



Her father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad, and he was still there working.  And then from there, I couldn’t get any decent jobs around Winslow, so we decided to go to Phoenix, and I got a job with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Dept. of Interior in Phoenix.  And that’s where I started with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  And it just so happened that



The Personnel officer there at the Bureau of Indian Affairs speaks, he was a Reserve Naval officer.  And he found out I was in the Navy.  So, he was the one who approached me when he hired me to work in his office, in the Personnel Dept. cause I had Personnel experience, you know.

I:          Um hm.

W:       So, after he got me in his office, he convinced me to join the Reserves.



So, I went back in the Naval Reserve there at my uh, previous rating, you know, Second Class Petty Officer.  But every summer, I had to go on summer cruise, you know, on the west coast down on the ship.  I was okay with that kind of vacation, you know.  I was paid.

I:          A cruise that you didn’t have to pay for.

W:       After I’d been there a while,



my former classmates and friends from Winslow, they got into the Service about the same time I went in, in ’48, and they were already out going to college in Flagstaff.  And then every time I’d meet them, they’d say why don’t you go to college, you know?  It’s not that hard.  It’s easy.  You’ll make it easy they used to tell me.  I said well, I don’t think I can make it.  I already got two kids I gotta feed and my wife, you know.  Said well, we got kids, too.



And they furnish, uh, married housing out there for veterans, you know, at the college.  There’s a place on campus there called Cottage City, and that’s where they stayed, you know.  So, they convinced me, and I said to my wife well, I’m going to college.  What?  She wasn’t for it, either, you know.  I said well all these guys are going to college and I’m out here doing, you know, making minimum wages doing little crappy work.



Cause if I can get a better job by going to college and get an education.

I:          Yeah.

W:       So, I finally talked her into it, so we moved to, I went to college in [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Did you use the GI bill?

W:       Yes, uh huh.

I:          Yeah?
W:       So, I got in with the GI bill.  I got a check from them every month.  I went in the campus, and in those days, in Cottage City where we lived on campus, the rent was only $35 a month, you know.



It was pretty good.  And then my [INAUDIBLE] work, I worked at the sawmill, you know.  So, I was getting good wages there, too.

I:          Good.

W:       So, it all worked out pretty good till I graduated in 1962.

I:          What did you study?
W:       I majored in Business Administration.

I:          Okay.

W:       And after I



Graduated from college, I went to work for the Forest Service.  I got a job in Holbrook, Arizona for the [INAUDIBLE] National Forest.  And I was there five years.  But I never could get a promotion.  And I think it was discrimination that occurred in that outfit.

I:          Could be.
W:       And so, I told my wife, we’re gonna have to move.  I’m not getting nowhere, you know.  I’d been there too many years.  So, I called



Phoenix again, and they said yeah, come on.  We’re gonna hire you.  We’ll promote you, you know, to take a job down there.  So, I thought oh well, I got a promotion over there.  And I got into the branch of contractor, Contract Administration which handled uh, purchases for different agencies.

I:          Um hm.

W:       that uh, beer, anything you’re responsible for



In California, Utah, Nevada.  They had a [INAUDIBLE] over there where you could purchase things for them, you know,

I:          Um hm.

W:       Like books, school equipment, you know, recording and all that.  And then I had this Hopi Navajo, I mean, dispute going on up there in Northern Arizona.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And when the Bureau of Indian Affairs opened an office in Flagstaff,



Right across from the courthouse in the bank or the building upstairs.  And uh, I found out about it.  I says, I told my wife, I said why don’t we move up to Flagstaff, you know? I says it’ll be a lot cooler than it is down in Phoenix.  So, she was for it, you know, to get out of the heat.  So, I applied for a job up there under the same branch from Phoenix.


So, they said yeah, we got an opening up there for you when it goes.  I transferred up here as an Administrative Assistant for the office there.  It was called the Relocation Office.

I:          Um hm.

W:       Where they were relocating all the Navajo tribe people that had to get out, uh, Hopi lands, you know, that they were living on.

I:          Um hm.
W:       And they were relocating more anywhere else out of, off the reservation.  And that’s when I started up here in Flagstaff



At the Relocation Office as Administrative Assistant to that office.  And uh, then uh, I don’t know.  We were here about four years, five, in Flagstaff.  And finally, things were being settled between the [INAUDIBLE] and Hopi tribe.  So, they decided to close this office down.  So, I called the



Phoenix office and said where are you gonna send me, and Phoenix had closed this down.  And they said well, we don’t have no place, no openings to send you to.  So, you’re gonan be on your own, you know.

I:          Oh dear.
W:       So, I said well, I better start looking for a job.  And it just so happened that one of the engineers that was assigned to our office here in Flagstaff, he got transferred to Gallup.  And he got a job there.  And he was the one that said, he called me in one day and he says hey Maktima, he says uh,



They’re looking for a Contract Officer over there if you want to transfer over there.  There’ll be a promotion, too.  So, I said yeah, I guess.  I mean it was a notification, you know, a Notice of Vacancy, and I applied for it, and I got the job, you know.  So, instead of me going, the whole family going to Gallup, my wife didn’t want to go to Gallup.  Her folks live in Winslow.  So, I said well, I told my wife, you can stay in Winslow, and I’ll take the job in Gallup



Cause you know, I’m getting older now, and I need to get as high in my grade as I can before I retire.

I:          Right.
W:       If it’s okay with you, I’ll just come home on the weekends from Gallup up there to Winslow.  So, she agreed.  So, we moved to Winslow, and she moved in with her parents there.  And I went on to Gallup and worked out of Gallup, and I’d come home every weekend on uh, to the family in Winslow.

I:          Um hm.



W:       So, I was there in Gallup until ’89 cause my true time I came out.  And at that time, I received the top job in contracting in Gallup.  I was a Supervisory Contracting Officer in Gallup for that branch.  And uh, the agency I was working for, it was called the Navajo Indian Agency.



Area Office. And we did all the purchasing for the schools on the Navajo reservation, all the school equipment, all food supplies, anything related to purchasing for the Navajo tribe.  And doing road construction projects, building houses on the reservation.  So, while I was there, I became the Supervisory Contracting Officer.



And I got promoted up to GS12 there.  And uh, I had nine contracting officers working under me.  I had four purchasing agents and four clerks I was responsible for.  For all the purchasing for the Navajo tribe from that office. So, it paid off to move over there, you know.

I:          Yeah, right.



W:       Also, it paid, I was getting my education to get that type of job too, you know,

I:          Um hm.

W:       It all came together in the end.

I:          Yeah.  Well, you were smart to do that.

W:       Yeah.

I:          [INAUDIBLE] Did you ever have any, during that relocation concept, I know that was very contentious.

W:       Oh yes.

I:          Did you ever have any problems with anybody?

W:       I didn’t really have any problems.



Of course, uh, what really saved our, uh, our problem with the Navajo tribe was that we got of there, we had a police force there that we were supposed to furnish officers on the Hopi reservation to make sure that these people that live in the Navajo land moved off, you know.

I:          Um hm.

W:       But instead of using the Hopi tribe policemen or the Bureau of Indian Affairs policemen in this area,



The office here hired policemen from Montanna, Billings, Montanna and North Dakota.  And we brought those Indian police from down there to Arizona.  And they did the police work on the reservation out here.

I:          That was probably good, you know.

W:       Yeah.  And those guys are tall.  They’re over 6’ tall in those shoes.  [INAUDIBLE] Most of them were cowboys, too, you know.

I:          Yeah.
W:       Pretty rough people.

I:          And they could,



And they didn’t have to live side by side until everything was over.

W:       Right.

I:          Well, that was smart.

W:       Right.  I’ve been through a lot of experiences, you know, in my life.  I went to places I never thought I’d go to.  And I met a lot of people, you know, different nationalities, tribes.  I had a good experience in life so far.



I:          So, from you, it really was true to join the Navy and see the world.

W:       Right, it really worked out that way.

I:          Yeah.

W:       I even met tribes way in the tip of Northern Maine that I became, you know, friends with.

I:          Uh huh.

W:       I mean, I went, I remember we moved to Eastport, Maine one fourth of July.  And we pulled into port there. And I didn’t even know Indians were living there, you know.  And we no sooner walked into this bar and me and my friend,



We sat at the bar having a beer, there was this big mirror behind, and I saw some people sitting in back in the booth.  And I noticed they looked Indian.  And I looked down and had to go to the restroom, so I got up and went to the restroom.  When I went out, one of those guys in the booth that I saw in the mirror came and followed me in there and asked me are you Indian he asked me,



And I said yeah, I’m Indian.  He says uh, I’m Indian, too, he said.  And he gave me a handshake, you know.  I said welcome to East Port.  I said are you Indian?  He says yeah, I’m Indian.  My tribe lives just outside of town here.  He said, East Port doesn’t really have any forces there, you know.  Field is beautiful up there.  And he said won’t you join us, me and my wife and sister sitting over here



Invited you to come over. So, I went over and sat with them and had a beer with them and started exchanging, you know,

I:          Um hm.

W:       Getting acquainted.  They said where are you from you say?  Arizona, Winslow, Arizona.  They said where’s that at?  Way on the west coast I said.  He says you mean they got Indians down there?  I said yeah, they got about 15 tribes stayed down there.



I:          More than in Winslow, yeah.

W:       Yeah, he was all surprised.  So, I made friends with a tribe there up in East Port, Maine.

I:          Um hm.  Do you, I know that you probably, or I assume that you probably spoke Hopi when you were a child.  Do you still speak it?
W:       Yes.  I have to, you know,

I:          Yeah,

W:       Just to attend all my ceremonial uh,



Customs and dances at the reservation.  And I go out there and do our traditional prayers, smoke, making our prayer feathers and all stuff.  I still do that.

I:          Well, good.  Would you like to say something in Hopi on your interview?

W:       Well, I just wanna say [INAUDIBLE] I’m here to have our people recognized before who I am.

I:          Um hm.



W:       And let them know that our people are friendly people.

I:          Absolutely.

W:       And we never mistreat anybody.  I think we got, we’re too friendly with the whites, though, because they overtook our country.  That’s the only problem we had, you know.

I:          Yeah.  Well, at least

W:       And I guess that happens in every country, the ruling hand in other words.

I:          At least you got uh, your, part of your traditional



Villages back on your reservation.
W:       Right.

I:          Yeah.

W:       But they took a lot of land from us, too, you know.

I:          Of course.

W:       As far as I know from the Atlantic Coast.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And we tried, we owned this whole United States before the Europeans got here.
I:          That’s right.

W:       And we were cheated out of it, you know.

I:          That’s right.

W:       But now that our tribe has been educating, they’re getting the youngsters to take,



You know, go to college for uh, lawyer degrees.

I:          Um hm.

W:       And we’re getting smarter every day.

I:          Good.

W:       And now we’re starting to turn back against the government and what they still owe us, you know.

I:          Good.
W:       Like right now, Trump’s trying to take out medical service away from the tribe.  And that was promised to us in the treaty way back in, you know, when they started first taking over the Indians.  And Trump wants to take that away from us.



So, he’s gonna have a big flag on his hand.  And the leading tribe that’s gonna do it is gonna be the Navajo tribe cause they’re the biggest tribe in the nation.  And all other tribes are gonna join and get behind him.

I:          Good.  Do you, um, when you, I interviewed a Navajo, uh, veteran not too long ago.  And he, no, wait.  I read this book, uh, about one of the original code talkers,



One of the original Navajo code talkers.  And in the book, he uh, points out that when he was discharged from the Marines, uh, the Navajo and all the native Americans were not considered US citizens.  By the time you came along, had that changed?
W:       Yes.  I’ll tell you what made the big difference in getting the GI bill.  After the Second World War,



Uh, we had the Mexicans, coloreds, Indians serving in the Second World War.  We came out of service, they were discharged.  And we didn’t get any benefits at all at that time when we got discharged after the Second World War.  And there was this American Legion club in Phoenix, Arizona, Post 41.



And they were the ones that started pushing for equal rights for those, uh,

I:          Native people?

W:       Native people to get equal benefits that the whites were getting.  If it wasn’t for that post down there to push it, we would have never got the GI bill or you know, other benefits that we now have.

I:          Was it Barry Goldwater, Senator Goldwater?  Wasn’t he involved in that, too?


W:       Well, he was, he belonged to the American Legion.

I:          Yeah.
W:       You had to be involved.
I:          He would be a good friend to the Hopi.

W:       Right.

I:          Yeah.
W:       If it wasn’t for that post in Phoenix, Arizona, Post 41, this GI bill would have never really got started.  That’s when they started complaining about equal rights.  And we had served our country for those rights.

I:          Sure.

W:       And we weren’t getting anything



When we got out of the Service.

I:          So, when did you get GI benefits? What year was that?
W:       I don’t remember.  But it was after the Second World War.

I:          Yeah.  But by the time you were out, that was already established.

W:       Yeah, it was.

I:          Yeah.  Okay, good.
W:       But when my father got out of the Service, when he was discharged coming back from Europe, they didn’t get any benefits at all from the government.  The only thing he got was maybe a tax deduction



From his property tax.  That’s all he got from the state.  But that was just from the state.

I:          Um hm.  Now this book I read, that code talker, they couldn’t even vote because they weren’t considered citizens in those days.

W:       Yeah, that’s right too, you know.  You couldn’t vote.

I:          Yeah.  Um, would you recommend military service for young people today?
W:       Well, it’s a good place for them, uh,



You know, like what happened to me, you know.  I learned discipline, leadership,

I:          Were able to use the GI bill.

W:       Yeah.
I:          Yeah.  Would you recommend it for young women as well?
W:       Sure.  If they’re willing to accept women, the women have a right.  And if they want to join, they should have that right to join, you know.

I:          Good.

W:       Cause women are needed all the time, you know.  They can always do a man’s work.



It’s being proven now.  You got women in the Marine Corps, in all branches of the service, even thought they have to go through a physical training, they still have that rope part that, you know, to complete their course.  They will complete it.

I:          Yeah.  So, you approve of that.
W:       And right now, they got generals, lieutenants, officers and women on all the corps.

I:          Yeah.  Good.



Is there anything you wanted to add to your interview?

W:       No.  Just that I’m glad somebody’s took notice of us veterans, you know.  We appreciate what you’re doing for us to make, uh, our comrades known, you know, to the American people.  And it’s very good training for kids that wanna go into the Service.

I:          Well, we appreciate what you did



And have done for our country.

W:       If moms and dads can’t handle you at home, the Service can.  You come out a better man.  You’ll be able to cope with life now and in the future, not only for yourself but for your future children, you know.

I:          Um hm.  Okay.

W:       Cause when I got out of the Service, I incorporated that training I got in raising my kids as being, you know, disciplined,



how to respect people.

I:          Oh.

W:       Not just certain types, but everyone.

I:          Um hm.  Well, thank you so much for participating in this interview.
W:       Well, I enjoyed it.  I’m glad I got it out of my system also.  Happy to have someone listen to me as far as my history of service, you know.

I:          It was a pleasure to listen to you.  Thank you.

W:       Thank you.