Jump to: Tape 02, Tape 03
WWII Veteran Transcript
Subject: Donald Dugan
Interviewer: Bobby Alan Wintermute
Tape Number: 01 of 03
Interview Date:

Transcription Date:


Interviewer: Today is September the fifth, 2008.  It’s Professor Bobby Alan 
Wintermute at the home of Joseph Donald Dugan, and his wife, to conduct a 
preliminary interview with regards to Mr. Dugan’s military service and his 
experiences at Queens College.  Mr. Dugan what was the highest rank or grade you 

Dugan: Oh, I was a corporal. Corporal.

Interviewer: Corporal?

Dugan: Yes.

Interviewer: This was in the United States Army?

Dugan: United States Army.

Interviewer: What particular branch of service were you attached to?

Dugan: I was in the medical department of the United States Army.  For the entire 
time, three years.

Interviewer: What division were you attached to?

Dugan: 75th Infantry Division.

Interviewer: Do you recall the Regiment?

Dugan: 291st Infantry.

Interviewer: Two-Eight-

Dugan: Two-NINE-one

Interviewer: Two-NINE-one. Do you recall the battalion?

Dugan: Well, we switched around, it wasn’t just one, but it was the first 

Interviewer: First Battalion? Okay.

Dugan: It was also the third but [?]

Interviewer: I’ll forgo asking you about your commanding officers now, I’ll let 
you gather that, collect that. When did you enlist?

Dugan: I was, I was drafted.

Interviewer: You were drafted?

Dugan: Yes.

Interviewer: When were you drafted?

Dugan: In January 1942. I will get discharge and get, specific dates for you.

Interviewer: How old were you at that time?

Dugan: Nineteen.

Interviewer: And you served until?

Dugan: Uh…

Interviewer: In years?

Dugan: Three, well nineteen forty-five, well nineteen-for-…I’d say 1945.

Interviewer: Okay

Dugan: I was at, it was at the end of the year but [?] Just three years.

Interviewer: Okay.  Where were you conscripted from?

Dugan: Queens Village, New York?

Interviewer: What did you do before your conscription?

Dugan: Just a student.  Student at Queens College.  Graduated from high school, 
and my first year at Queens College, a freshman, I, it was 1942, and I finished 
that and January 42 I was drafted.

Interviewer: What was your major?

Dugan: Economics.

Interviewer: Economics…How do you think that helped you, during your military 
service, or did it help you?

Dugan: Nothing at all.

Interviewer: Didn’t help at all.

Dugan: It was too limited.  I was just a freshman, finished the freshman year, 
shall I, say a side, they announced ASTP at the time, have you ever heard that?

Interviewer: Yes.

Dugan: And I signed it, I took the test, and was accepted for that, and I looked 
forward to being on some campus on the United States, so in the typical army 
fashion, I went to Brooklyn College. So I went to Queens College, City College 
and Brooklyn College. [laughter]

Interviewer: You were conscripted in nineteen forty-two you weren’t involved in 
the earlier: 1940 conscription at all?
Dugan: No.

Interviewer: No?...What were your thoughts at the time, about the draft process?

Dugan: Well I, I didn’t object to it, we were at war, I had older brother, who 
was drafted, so I was, it was fine with me.  I had no problem, I finished my 
first year in college, Queens College, and I was ready.

Interviewer: What did you think about it later?

Dugan: No problem, everybody served, it was universal. Wasn’t anybody left out.

Interviewer: I want you to think before your conscription, before your military 
service.  What were the circumstances when you first heard about the attack on 
Pearl Harbor.

Dugan: It was just a news event, I didn’t feel personally involved.

Interviewer: Where were you at the time when you heard?

Dugan: At home with my mother’s house, it was a Sunday, and I was doing my 
homework in the front room upstairs and I had the radio, portable radio on, and 
all of a sudden the announcement came though, we had been attacked, my brother, 
I had an older brother at the time, which will come out, he and I both went to 
Queens College at the same time, and he was up there doing homework too. 

Interviewer: How much older, or younger-

Dugan: Three years older.

Interviewer: Three years older?  Okay.  What was the response of your family, 
including your mother, on hearing the news?

Dugan: You know, just sadness, you know?  Nothing, nothing in particular.  It was 
too huge, it was, everyone was involved.

Interviewer:: Were you, were you or your family expecting that eventually America 
would be involved in the war?

Dugan: Oh, I think they did, we didn’t discuss it, but I think they knew that was 
the situation.  My father, [?] who was in the Army during the war, first world 
war, never went overseas, his brother did, and fought in France, but he didn’t.

Interviewer: What was your families thoughts about the situation in Europe, 
before 1941?

Dugan: They weren’t terribly involved.

Interviewer: But I mean the rise of Hitler and-

Dugan: Oh, you know, we thought that was terrible, and we were opposed to it, and 
hated Hitler and all that business, but there wasn’t much that they could do.  My 
father belonged to the American Legion, and we used to go to affairs for that, 
parades at Memorial Day, and social affairs for my mother and father.

Interviewer: We hear that New York in particular, the New York Area, there was 
more sympathy for what was happening in Britain and in the Soviet Union, then in 
other parts of the country, where there was a stronger isolationist feeling.

Mrs. Dugan: Yes, there was.  And there were people who were, [?] Quincy [?] like 
America First, and you know, and were violently opposed to us getting into the 
war.  And I knew people who were [?] America First and isolationist movements 
that did that, that was true.  But nobody really thought that in my home too and 
my father was pretty educated on certain things having a decent position.  And 
they never thought it would happen, they just kept thinking, ‘this is all over 
there, those people they’re over there.’  But I never, I don’t think my father 
ever, he was concerned, but I don’t think in reality he ever thought that we 
would go to war.

Interviewer: What was more present in people’s minds then? Was it the war, was it 
the economy, economics, jobs?

Mrs. Dugan: Economy?  We’d just come out of a major depression and people were 
unemployed, people were standing on street corners and you see pictures of that, 
that was a fact and people were moving in with family and they had very small 
apartments and food was a big issue and everybody would take in anybody, and you 
know, and everybody had an uncle or aunt living in the house with them, because 
there was no way they could support a household on their own.  I remember Harry 
saying that, they always had somebody really, you said your mother and your 
grandmother moved, didn’t [?] So we didn’t, we didn’t have that, but it was very 
[?] People were making, and we thought it was great you know when the war was, I 
mean, before the war when the depression was over, in the mid 30s, late 30s, 
people started making twenty dollars a week, they thought it was like twenty 
million, cause there was no money, and there was no relief, you understand, there 
was no welfare, there was some relief if you were probably starving to death.  
But there were no, there was no help for it.  Houses were being lost, you think 
this is bad you should have seen this thing.  All kinds of homes were being 
foreclosed people were closing the door and that’s that.

Interviewer: Well let’s shift back then to the military service part.

Dugan: Okay.
Interviewer: What were your initial thoughts, upon actually going into the army?

Dugan: It’s hard to recall, I wasn’t, it was something I expected, especially 
since my older brother had already been drafted and I, was concerned about what 
to expect, but I wasn’t upset to much or any or, I knew I was going to finish my 
freshman year at college, that was more important to me then it the then going 
into the army and took my time.  It wasn’t, it wasn’t a dramatic kind of a 
situation, just meant as a, the day came, I went on, down to the Long Island Rail 
Road, got on the train and into New York to get grouped and went back out to Camp 
up and there I was in the service.

Interviewer: How did your family take to your leaving?

Dugan: No problem.  They didn’t anticipate any anything dangerous, didn’t turn out 
that way, but…
Interviewer: You mentioned Camp Upton, is that where you conducted your training?

Dugan: No, no, that was, just and induction center.

Interviewer: Ah.

Dugan: The induction center was Camp Upton and I went from Camp Upton to 
training center number five in Kurns, Utah, on the western side of Salt Lake City.

Interviewer: What specialties were you trained in?

Dugan: Just as a medic, and there was very little training. It was ridiculous.

Interviewer: Like can you detail that? I mean, what was your?

Dugan: Almost nothing, I mean it was ridiculous, and the way it turned out, I 
didn’t need it.  All I needed when I was in the service was litter bearers, guys 
to picked the wounded, carry them to the aid station, and that was it…Although, 
excuse me, when I was trained as a dental technician, here I was in the medics 
nothing to say about the situation, but I was, I was detailed to…a dental 
situation.  Went to a dental technician school.

Interviewer: Where was that at?

Dugan: In Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. Near Evansville.

Interviewer: Did you volunteer for any voluntary additional training, or were 
thinking of Ranger school?

Dugan: Well, no, no, I never did. 

Interviewer: And I’m going to a leave a lot of this for you, to examine [?].  
Now you mentioned you were enrolled in the ASTP, and you attended it where?

Dugan: Brooklyn.
Interviewer: Brooklyn College. How’d you feel about its cancelation?

Dugan: We sort of expected in.  We knew.  We knew they were breaking down all 
those programs.  They broke them all down.  Air Cadets, those were the guys 
that really suffered.  They had the uniforms, officers uniforms, you know it 
really looked, like, great, but they were put into the infantry, like everybody 

Interviewer: Did your training prepare you at all, for your service overseas?

Dugan: Very little. My job. 

Interviewer: Even your basic training?

Dugan: I was a litter bearer, so all I had to do was pick up the wounded, and 
carry them back to the aid station, and then go back to the next one.

Interviewer: What further training, if any, did you receive overseas?

Dugan: Well before I went overseas, maybe I should have mentioned that earlier, 
I went to a dental technician school.  Course, that was my number, trade, 
whatever the number was called, I forgot.  Assignment. I was assigned as a 
dental technician, which meant working in the laboratory, building…taking 
impressions and then building…

Interviewer: Dentures.

Dugan: Dentures.  Making Dentures.

Interviewer: But when you arrived in England, or in France, was there any extra 

Dugan: No, just….no it wasn’t training it was just, usual, marching and…

Interviewer: Drill and…

Dugan: Drills.  Nothing Training.

Interviewer: It’s a term for it, that some historians use, I won’t go into it 
right now.  Aside from Kurns Utah, and Fort Benjamin Harris.  Were there other 
posts you were stationed at in the United States? 

Mrs. Dugan: Louisiana, Donny.

Dugan: Pardon?

Mrs. Dugan: Louisiana with [?]

Dugan: No that was Maneuvers, you wouldn’t count Maneuvers as being stationed.

Interviewer: I would, yeah.

Dugan: You would?

Interviewer: I would. If you were involved in the Army Maneuvers-

Dugan: Yeah well we, when the group, and the group of and the took the entire 
group of men that went to Camp Upton, and put them in the particular group and 
that were and they were medics from then on and in the medical department.  And 
that was what I was in.  I never had a, one day, training with a rifle, took us 
to the rifle range, shot the rifle, and a tommy gun, and that was it.  Never had 

Interviewer: So you were part of the Louisiana maneuvers-

Dugan: Yes.

Interviewer: In 1942?

Dugan: Right.  That’s exactly where it was.  In Louisiana Swamp, Shreev, we went 
to Camp Shreev we called it.  Nope, no Camp Polk was the name of it.  In Shreveport.

Interviewer: What was your opinion of, the maneuvers, or the training, there?

Dugan: Well it was typical army, in the field, walking around the field, I didn’t, 
my duty was not anything specific, like as a medic. It was just there to keep me, 
all of us, occupied, and uh-

Interviewer: Did you respond to any emergencies?

Dugan: In the States?

Interviewer: In the Maneuvers?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: I’m thinking of, accidental injuries, snake bites, anything like 

Dugan: No. Nothing like that, no.

Mrs. Dugan: I don’t know if you’d be interested but he’s, I think, what made a 
big impression on him was the diversity of the people in the army.  Having come 
from the coloured scene and meeting people in Louisiana that he told me that 
they were totally illiterate.  I mean how they got in the army, I mean they just, 
probably couldn’t even write.  And so you were thrown with a, it was an 
experience, to be thrown in with people who used to take much less for a living 
and you came from, the old class home.  So, that was part of the experience.

Interviewer: That is interesting.  Would you like to add to that, or, is there 
anything you can add to that, or?

Dugan: That was, that was…an old Italian man, I forget his name, Tony something, 
and he used to talk about catching rats…capture muskrats and sell them, it was 
his…he sold rats.

Interviewer: That’s a common experience in many American Veterans talk about, 
because of the Second World War they, just as in the First World War in the 
earlier generation, people left their homes and saw more of the country, and the 
world then they had ever really knew existed, or could exist.  I wanna return to 
part of the, the survey from here, were you shown, if you recall this, the Frank 
Capra film, ‘Why We Fight’ the series?  You didn’t see that, they never showed 
you that in training?

Dugan: If we did, I don’t have any recollection of it at all.  We did have some 
training films, that they showed us.  They always tried to show us the ones that 
were so graphic, especially the venereal disease things, I [?] from training in [?]

Interviewer: As an aside I, my specialization is military medicine, it’s what I 
write on, so I could certainly sympathize with that.

Dugan:  And listen, and the way it would work was in the winter that I was doing 
all this.  All bundled up, they put us, brought us into a barrack kinda thing.  
Hundreds of guys would be packed and everyone was hot could be, and then they 
put on these gruesome films.  The consequences of having syphilis.  Oh geez.  
Guys were just dropping over.

Interviewer:  [laughter] Well that’s a different kind of film then the Frank 
Capra film.  The one I’m thinking of particularly is the film ‘Why We Fight’ 
which, tried to instill in the viewer, a motivation for why they fought.

Dugan: I appreciate them doing it, but I don’t [?] seeing it.	 

Interviewer: Well the follow up question, which may seem strange is, why did you 
fight, was there anything that motivated you? Was there any ideology.

Dugan: No, not for me, no. It was just country’s at war, we all had to go and serve.

Interviewer: You mentioned you had rifle training, sub-machine gun training-

Dugan: One day!

Interviewer: One day. But, course serving in Europe, you saw these weapons-

Dugan: Oh sure.

Interviewer: In use...What was your opinion of the weapons you saw.
Dugan: Everything was great.  I mean it overwhelmed the Germans.  Completely.  
The bombardment that we were [?] didn’t have a chance.

Interviewer: Okay.  What was your opinion of the equipment, and the clothing and 
the rations you were issued.

Dugan: Oh, Terrific. Excellent.

Interviewer: Never had a problem with your shoes?

Dugan: No, never had a problem.  They always had an extra pair for you, and we 
took care of them, to protect them or it wouldn’t look, had to leave them some 
place you know, it was very-

Interviewer: Were they adequate for the weather you encountered?		

Dugan: Well, everything was adequate except the socks.  They were just cotton 
socks, and there were, it was the middle of winter.  But that wasn’t very helpful. 

Interviewer: Did you hear accounts of Trenchfoot, in particular?

Dugan: Oh yeah.  The division suffered 50% casualties, it was terrific, the 
numbers of soldiers that were incapacitated with, with frostbite.  Frostbite, 
everybody had frostbite.  Very serious.

Mrs. Dugan: Don said, the biggest issue was, that you better take care of it 
seriously, or that was it.  So everybody guarded them like gold, because they 
issue the whatever they give you, and maybe three months from now they issue you 
another pair of shoes, but in the mean time you gotta take care of your shoes.  
They wore the overcoats and all that.

Dugan: I remember taking care of the overcoats, one of the strange things never, 
never understand why they did this, we were hardly, just about getting ready to 
go into combat.  On the line as the said, and they the whole group was with, I 
was in the Medics but it was the entire medical thing, and they drove us up to 
this one spot and said, ‘all right, get out and put your overcoat over here’ But 
we had a pile of overcoats, you couldn’t see over them, and the that was the end 
of our overcoats, we from then on we had the jacket, field jacket.

Interviewer: Field Jacket.

Dugan: That was it.

Interviewer: Do you remember when that was, particularly?

Dugan: Right in the coldest part of the war, in forty-four, yes.  I wanted to [?] 
in forty-four. Ridiculous. 

Mrs. Dugan: Who’d you say they blew themselves up?

Interviewer: Pardon?

Mrs. Dugan: [?] Didn’t you tell me, that when you went back, or when they went, 
the coach said they’d all been blown up?

Dugan: No, no.  Maybe, no.  I marvel at the fact that we eventually, months later, 
got our clothes back.  Everybody had their number in them, mine was D-5428 initial, 
and last four numbers of your serial number, commonly etched with indelible ink.  
And somehow we got them back.

Interviewer: Well that ties into the next question, a follow up, would you be, how 
responsive then, were the supply services to your units needs?

Dugan: Very good.  I used to marvel at how good they were.  And helpful, you know?  
Guys were very [?] but you know, they did, they did their job.

Interviewer: What did you think of the quality of leadership you encountered?

Dugan: The leadership?

Interviewer: Right. 

Dugan: The Quality?  Minimal. 
Interviewer: Really?

Dugan: They weren’t, they weren’t really trained.  Granted, I was in the Medics 
so the, you couldn’t expect them to be highly soldiers, most of them were doctors 
or dentists.

Interviewer: Do you know how officers were commissioned, that you served with?  
Were they through the ROTC, the OCS, the Guard?

Dugan: Most of them went to, went in as dentists and doctors and were commissioned 
in that regard, and however they were trained, but they were [tape pops]…specific 
training and I understood what they expect but since they were medics they weren’t 
they were no more trained with rifles, then I was, then the other soldiers.

Interviewer: What about regulars?  Did you encounter any regular army officers? [?] 
at all?

Dugan: No-

Interviewer: OCS? What about the infantry officers you encountered?

Dugan: Well they were infantry officers because they were they had just been 
drafted like everybody  else and had gone to ROTC or something like that, one the 
training or went to a, there was a major camp for training officers to become leaders 
and that in their particular theatre.  And a lot of them went to that  and spoke about 
it, it was pretty good, you know?  It was realistic, but since we were medics we 
weren’t, very little-[?]

Interviewer: Can you describe, or can you think of any instance of particularly good 
or particularly bad leadership?

Dugan: No.  I didn’t like the personality of the, a dentist, Dr. Eistober, [?] 
immaculate a room by [?] He was a terrible person.  But no no they were all good.  
Just average guys, who had gone to medical school or dental school and found 
themselves in the army.

Interviewer: Well let me ask you in, in your experience if I were to identify 
three groups, who the real leader were?

Dugan: Who the real leaders were?

Interviewer: Who the real leaders were.  Would it be the officers, the 
Non-Commissioned Officers or the enlisted men.

Dugan: Well I would think it was the officers.  But the Non-Commissioned, the 
Sergeants also played a major role. And the privates were just the privates, 
they took orders, you know.

Interviewer: Is this where the Sergeants would have to take more responsibility-

Dugan: Yes.

Interviewer: And more charge?

Dugan: Absolutely.  They had the responsibility.  Because common soldiers, 
private had no information.  They didn’t tell them anything, they were never told 
what you were doing or where you were going, anything, it was just always in the 

Interviewer: How often did you see senior officers in your area?  Like, field 
grade or flag officers in your area?

Dugan: All the time.

Interviewer: All the time?

Dugan: Yeah.  I mean, I knew there was nothing special about them, [?] there.  
They were, leaders in the sense that they had the troops to take care of every day.

Interviewer: What was the highest rank that you ever saw? In your area?

Dugan: Well, the Regimental Commander was a full Colonel, Colonel Robertson, and 
Colonel Short was the Lieutenant Colonel, the assistant…regimental commander.

Interviewer: And you saw them often?
Dugan: No I didn’t see them often but it wasn’t a question of seeing them, they 
were just there.

Interviewer: They were there. Right.

Interviewer: Did you ever hear of any incidents, not even within your unit, but 
within other units of soldier violence directed against officers?

Dugan: Never. Never heard about it.

Interviewer: Never heard of that?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: What was your thought on discipline?

Dugan: It wasn’t severe, maybe because I was with a group of educated men, they 
didn’t break the rules except, we were told what to do, and they basically did 
it.  Very little, objection of [?]

Interviewer: Did you ever see or hear of any particular punishment for breeches 
of discipline?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: Okay.  Did you have, or did you know of any incidences of desertion 
in your unit?

Dugan: Desertion?  We didn’t have it.

Interviewer: Or absent without leave?

Dugan: No.  Well maybe that.  A Mexican guy, I can’t think of his name, and he 
would forget to come back on Sunday night, and it would be Tuesday before he came 
in, but that was, you know, that was it.

Interviewer: And I’m just making shorthand comments here, as I’m writing.  What 
forms of off duty recreation was common?

Dugan: Most common was pool.  Because we had the dayroom and the dayroom was 
basically outside the Barrack, and it was where everybody gathered and pool, we 
always had one or two pool tables, and that was what we had.

Mrs. Dugan: Didn’t you play cards?

Dugan: Oh sure, cards were also very popular.

Interviewer: What kind of Card Games?

Dugan: Poker. Everybody played Poker.

Interviewer: How’d you do?

Dugan: I was never a, my family never played cards, and I didn’t play cards much, 
but I liked to, it was a social affair.

Interviewer: Sure.

Dugan: -at night.

Mrs. Dugan: And they played for cigarettes.

Interviewer: You played for cigarettes?

Dugan: Yeah well, in the, we were in the service given cigarettes, didn’t have to 
buy them.

Interviewer: What packs were you given, what brands? What brand do you remember?

Dugan: No, no. Lucky Strike.

Interviewer: Luckies.

Dugan: [?] Lucky Strikes.  Just a few, just the major brands at the time.  
Chesterfields, Camels, Lucky Strike. Didn’t make any-



Interviewer: Side B Tape One, Dugan Interview.  We were just talking about 
cigarettes and what you would trade for them and what they were worth, would you, 
could you recapture that?  Or state that?

Dugan: Well they were always ten dollars a carton, it was sort of basic you know, 
and none of us were smokers so, just went out and sold them put them, pocketed 
the money.

Interviewer: What was your opinion of special services that you had?  Or that 
you were given experience of, I’m thinking USO shows, movies, reading material.

Dugan: Well there was a lot of reading material, but the shows, they were so 
seldom and so crowded that, I guess people went to them, I can’t remember to 
ever going to one even.

Interviewer: You never saw Rita Haver?

Dugan: [Laughs] I know they existed but, they had no [?] for it, you know?

Interviewer: What if any materials did you read? In your leisure time?

Dugan: Any free books, they always had something in the playroom, the bayroom 
whatever you call it.  Bayroom.

Interviewer: Did you recall reading any of the official papers ‘Stars and Stripes’ 
or ‘Yank’ or any of that?

Dugan: Oh Yank sure, yeah. I don’t know how they distributed Yank it just 
happened, you know?  We didn’t buy it.  We didn’t pay money for it, we just had 
them in the barracks, men read, or read it avidly, but…and it was all basicly 
army news, I mean any event that took place in the Army or in the Military…very 
widely placed and, very important.

Interviewer: Very important news, right. What about, did your families send you 
reading material?

Dugan: My, send me reading material?  No they didn’t, they wrote, my mother wrote 
every day.  And James, my older brother’s name was James, he was in the same thing 
as I was, he was, he was a platoon leader, in the 30th division, 119th Infantry, 
and at Aturna[?] his outfit was on my outfit's left front.  I mean incredible 

Interviewer: Did you see him at all during the war?

Dugan: Yes.  Yeah, a couple of times, not too often, but during the Battle of the 
Bulge, later in, when we went into Germany at the Rhine River, it was [?]

Interviewer: How did you and your comrades get along with Civilians in the United 

Dugan: Never saw civilians.

Interviewer: In the United States?

Dugan: Oh well, at the Girls at the USO, that was fine, nothing serious.  I didn’t 
find it that way anyway.

Interviewer: No trouble in Louisiana-

Dugan: No, no, no, no, no, there was no, no strife between civilians and military, 
civilians were very glad to the military I thought.

Interviewer: Did you, interact or witness interaction with African-American civilians?

Dugan: No, they didn’t exist.  African-Americans, the only time we ever saw them was 
they were drive the, the vehicles, the trucks, two and a half ton trucks when we 
going right along.  That’s it.  They’re completely separate.

Interviewer: The next question is going to seem kind of redundant based upon what you 
did, but I’m going to ask, how adequate was the medical care?

Dugan: How?

Interviewer: How adequate was the medical care?

Dugan: Oh, I thought it was terrific, I thought yes.

Interviewer: You were a medic, so yeah.

Dugan: I mean I was only sick, just stomach aches they take, they took you in to a 
hospital for a few days so.  But they, they were very good with the treatments.  
And attention and care, and they had nurses, regular had army nurses, women.

Interviewer: How did they treat you?

Dugan: Well, everything was very good to us.

Interviewer: What was the general health of your unit? I mean overall, very healthy…

Dugan: I would say, yes, perfectly willing to do anything you asked.

Mrs. Dugan: Their health. Their health.

Dugan: Oh health?

Interviewer: Right, the health of your unit.

Dugan: Oh the health of my unit?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Dugan: Well very good.  Yes.  No, you had sick call every morning, probably 
everyone for sick call they had a stomach ache or drank to much or something 
like that but uh.

Interviewer: I guess the Syphilis don’t help to.

Mrs. Dugan: Yeah, Right.

Dugan: The syphilis thing was when-

Mrs. Dugan: They went AWOL!

Dugan: It was terrible.

Interviewer: Well what did soldiers use your pay for, what did you guys use your 
pay for.

Dugan; Well I sent most of it home.  And, you always needed quarters or something 
at the PX.  And they gave us Cigarettes, I mean, you would pay for cigarettes, got 

Interviewer: Was there much drinking in your unit?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: Even overseas?

Dugan: Even overseas.

Interviewer: If, there was drinking how did they obtain it? When there was drinking how did you obtain it?

Dugan: I didn’t have any problems, I didn’t drink myself at the time, and there was never anybody drunk or anything like that. And the only time you could drink was at night, and play cards, the biggest recreation was playing cards, playing poker, guys would just sit down and ante up a couple of bucks and play poker.

INTEVIEWER: Okay. Do you remember any of the songs from you service. What were the popular songs?

Dugan: I don’t remember too many. Well they were popular so, well I don’t remember them now. 

Interviewer: Was there any military slang or phrases you remember?

Dugan: SNAFU.

Interviewer: We know what that means.

Dugan: Right.

Interviewer: Any others?

Mrs. Dugan: ‘Hurry to wait’ right? You sat next to a man at the office this 
morning and he said, I said ‘we’re waiting here so long’ and he said ‘Like the 
Army, Hurry to Wait’.

Dugan: Oh no, ‘Hurry up and wait’.

Mrs. Dugan: ‘Hurry up and wait’ that’s what he said.

Dugan: Well there was a lot of that you know because, they had pretty large 
group of men and they have to get them organized, everybody was, I would say, 
very attentive and trying to be helpful but they don’t want to be rushed, you 
know?  They just had, when we’d get to a, get organized.  You just got get 

Mrs. Dugan: [Laughs] We didn’t say when.

Interviewer: When you first learned you were going overseas.  What was your 

Dugan: Totally expected.  We had trained for it.  There was no no deal, we 
knew we were going to Camp Reckenridge its where I sent from.

Interviewer: Where was Camp Reckenridge?

Dugan: Camp Reckenridge, and then they sent us to Camp Drum, for week or two 
week, to get on the boat and go overseas.

Interviewer: Okay.

Dugan: It was in Kentucky. Reckenridge was in Kentucky…I was in, I was at uh.

Mrs. Dugan: Reckenridge where was it?

Dugan: Camp Reckenridge, the camp was in Indiana.

Mrs. Dugan: Indiana.

Interviewer: Indiana, Okay.

Dugan: Area was northwest of Kentucky, east of [?] Anderson and Evinsville 
Indiana and Anderson Kentucky.

Interviewer: Okay, at what point during your movement overseas did you learn 
your real destination?  Did you know from the start or was it held from you?

Dugan: Oh, no, no…When we got there.

Interviewer: Only when you got there?

Dugan: Right. No [?]

Interviewer: Was there any difficulties in disembarking or moving-

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: No one was lost or equipment was lost?

Dugan: Not to my knowledge, all organized very well.  Maybe they had done it so 
many times they knew it, exactly what they were doing, but there was no, no mix 
up or…

Interviewer: When did you disembark? Or when did you embark for Europe? When?

Dugan: …I don’t remember exactly,  it was very cold.

Interviewer: What year?

Dugan: Forty-Four.

Interviewer: What do you-

Dugan: I don’t know, forty-three maybe.

Mrs. Dugan: I wasn’t.

Interviewer: Winter of Forty-Three, Forty-Four?

Dugan: Yes.  That could be.

Interviewer: What port did you leave from?

Dugan: New York.

Interviewer: Do you remember the transports name.

Dugan: Independence, I think it was.

Interviewer: S.S. Independence.  Where did you arrive-

Dugan: It was a big ship, I mean it was a real ocean liner.

Interviewer: Okay, well we’ll come to that in a moment, where did you arrive?

Dugan: Schwanzee.

Interviewer: England? 

Dugan: In Wales.

Interviewer: Can you describe the experience that ship took? In all?

Dugan: No…nothing particular…they weren’t overly strict or anything, its just 
that we would, go out and watch the ocean and play cards in, in our own room 
and that was about it.

Mrs. Dugan: How many people were aboard?

Interviewer: Oh, it was a big ocean liner.

Mrs. Dugan: And it was full?

Interviewer: Oh yes.

Interviewer: Did you have any U-Boat scares-

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: While you were going across?

Dugan: No, in a big convoy they only, we, very good, destroyers were zooming in 
and out and around and all over the place, and they were right there, they could 
see them, and they were right on top of you.  But no, we never had any alerts, we 
had drills, naturally.

INTERVIERWER: What happened during the drill?

Dugan: We just gathered in one particular spot, report and just follow directions 
and it was over before you know it.  And there was nothing to it.

Interviewer: Weather was, how was the weather during your trip?

Dugan: I don’t recall that the weather was terribly bad, it wasn’t.

Interviewer: No winter gales or storms?

Dugan: Winter was a little later. It must have murder in the winter, oh boy.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Dugan: When I went overseas it wasn’t, it wasn’t bad.

Mrs. Dugan: Then when you came for the, when you…when you came back was that 
when it was so awful that everybody was so seasick because there were-

Interviewer: Coming back.
Mrs. Dugan: -the weather was so terrible?

Interviewer: Coming back.

Mrs. Dugan: That was coming back?

Dugan: Oh boy.

Interviewer: Rough trip?

Dugan: On that boat, in late afternoon, and midnight they pulled out and, boy 
no sooner pulled out then the boat was upside down almost, everybody was 
vomiting all over the place.  Well they weren’t ready for that kind of water, 
nothings worse then being sea sick.

Interviewer: Oh, I know.

Dugan: Oh boy.

Interviewer: How many days did it take to go from New York to Swansea?

Dugan: Oh just about ten days.

Interviewer: Ten days?

Dugan: Yeah. Just, sort of two weeks, ten days.

Interviewer: Okay. Moving ahead, did the army tell you anything about the 
countries that you were going to be in?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: No information.

Dugan: We were always interested in what, what was, what we were going to see 
and where we were going, but there was very little information.

Interviewer: Was this your first trip to another country? First trip abroad?

Dugan: Yes, yes, during the war.

Interviewer: What were your first impressions?

Dugan: I thought it looked just like New York.  I couldn’t get over it, I expected 
something different, but it was just like Long Island, and New York, Manhattan.

Interviewer: But in England.

Dugan: Yeah, big cities. That’s the area in which we were, so.

Interviewer: What did you think of the civilians you met overseas, in England.

Dugan: Well it, didn’t have much experience with them.  The army who had, was 
very specific about that.  No fraternization.  Period.  You could, talking to 
somebody, immediately got penalized, sixty-four dollars or something like that.

Interviewer: Wow.

Dugan: It was a regular situation where you had paid money.

Interviewer: Even with the local women or?

Dugan: Oh sure.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Dugan: Anybody.

Interviewer: What about during liberty?

Dugan: Granted when you were in bars and things like that, they didn’t do that, 
but uh, to congregate with civilians, not allowed.

Interviewer: What about during liberty, or during furlough?  Could you interact 
with civilians then? Or?

Dugan: I guess we did, I didn’t have to many furloughs, but we, we used to go 
into Paris, when we, when I was…the reason I was pulled back into France.  And 
Paris was only three hours away say.  And Rheims we were just outside of Rheims 
where we were stationed.

Interviewer: Did you, did you ever hear, or were you aware of looting?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: No?

Dugan: Didn’t exist.

Interviewer: Didn’t exist?

Dugan: Not, in-

Interviewer: Not in your unit, right.

Dugan: Not in anyplace or anybody I ever heard of.

Interviewer: What was the morale like in your unit?

Dugan: Very good I thought. No guys, they were always bitching but uh…

Interviewer: What about home sickness was there a lot of that? Home Sickness?

Dugan: I guess everybody was homesick, but there was nothing you could do about 
that either, at all.

Interviewer: Did you anybody who received the, the, the noted ‘Dear John’ letters 
or anything like that?

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: No?

Dugan: Nope, never heard of that.

Mrs. Dugan: Nobody, I guess a couple soldiers if you were married already, so that 

Interviewer: That wasn’t an issue?

Dugan: Well they were terribly homesick.

Mrs. Dugan: He didn’t mention it to me I don’t know if he’s going to get to it.

Interviewer: My, one of my buddies, Bill Reedy from Chicago, his wife was name 
was Louise and they had a son while he was over there.

Mrs. Dugan: Don said that when they would go into town, the people scared to 
death that they were occupying the town.  The people would be panic stricken and 
I don’t know if they took anything or they certainly made it clear that, they 
could take nothing with them.

Dugan: Right.

Mrs. Dugan: I don’t know if you’d call that looting, but, maybe some of the things 
were pocketed but-

Dugan: Right.

Interviewer: Right.

Mrs. Dugan: It wasn’t mass looting.
Interviewer: Mass looting, right.

Dugan: The American soldiers were very, they obeyed orders they weren’t rowdies or 
anything.  Caused trouble. 

Interviewer: Except for the Airborne guys.

Dugan: Well they had…feeling that they were superior, you know? They could do things.

Interviewer: I want to ask you when we come back to Morale, what effect did combat 
have on morale?

Dugan: Combat?

Interviewer: In the unit you were attached to?

Dugan: Well no, it didn’t effect the morale, it was our job to do that, and 
everybody was scared to death when they had to go out on the battlefield and pick 
guys up, cause those shells would come in and they’d just knock you down.  But 
there was no, everybody knew that, that was why they were there.  It wasn’t any 
morale thing.

Interviewer: Did the Sergeants help maintain the morale there too?

Dugan: They, didn’t differentiate who, you were a sergeant, I guess if you were an 
officer they differentiated but, enlisted men had to do what you doing.

Interviewer: Was there anything that helped improve morale? What would help morale 
if w-

Dugan: Well, they always had the Red Cross and…sounds a little stupid but the, donuts 
and the coffee.  They were always there, I mean you couldn’t avoid them.  And it was 
very freely given to you to so, you know they made, they did their best to make us 
comfortable.  I thought.

Interviewer: What about mail, did that help?

Dugan: Oh sure, mail. Everybody waited, going nuts to get some mail.

Interviewer: Where there any incidences where mail was held up, and you would wonder 

Dugan: No I don’t remember any of that.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Dugan: No.  The mail was pretty good.  Got it very quickly, and no problems.

Interviewer: Okay.  Was there anything that would lead to a decline in morale, was 
there anything that would hurt morale in your unit?

Dugan: I’m sure there were but I, nothing stands out in my mind.

Interviewer: Seeing a friend or knowing a friend who was lost?

Dugan: You know the combat team leader and that, that effected them but uh…no….they 
stayed cool you know, it wasn’t they weren’t over do, very little punishment or any 
discipline, didn’t need discipline.

Interviewer: Okay. What was your opinion of the army troop information program?

Dugan: Very little.

Interviewer: Very little?

Dugan: Almost non-existent.  You used to always wonder where the hell we were going.  
Never knew.  And you could, rightfully so, you couldn’t have everybody [?]

Interviewer: What about enemy propaganda, did you see any of it, hear it?

Dugan: Very little.

Interviewer: Like you would go into a town or-

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: -Anything-

Dugan: -Didn’t exist.

Interviewer: No leaflets or?

Dugan: No, no.  Maybe the war was to civilized at the time, but there wasn’t any 
of that.

Interviewer: I can think, what prompts me to think of that I took some photos for 
the website of some propaganda that was sent was used in Italy.  Dropped on 
Americans in Anzio, and I remember hearing about comments about that.

Dugan: I’m sure it existed but not in France, didn’t, wasn’t there.

Interviewer: Okay.

Dugan: That’s my experience.

Interviewer: How and to what extent were did religion matter or religious 
convictions expressed in your unit.

Dugan: Very little. Almost non-existent.

Mrs. Dugan: But you did have Chaplain.

Dugan: Oh yeah.

Mrs. Dugan: And you were very friendly with him.  And they had another young man 
from Jersey, he was Jewish but they were all seemed to be there, very-

Dugan: They had, they had-

Mrs. Dugan: And I don’t think it was necessarily religious-

Dugan: They had Catholics-

Mrs. Dugan: I just think 

Dugan: We every, each of the religions, and they just, divided them up among the 
different regiments.  I was fortunate because when I had, it was Father Halburg 
who’s out in Connecticut.  And he was assigned all, to my regiment, and I don’t 
know maybe it was a larger group then that but, just a regular guy, good looking, 
rugged individual, but still a Catholic Priest, and you know, he’d play cards with 
us but that was, you know, he tried to, he got tipsy one night.

Mrs. Dugan: They threw him out-

Dugan: And he really, really, knew he was wrong.  Next week or so he had hardly knew 
he was in the army.

Interviewer: Did, did you interact much with Jewish soldiers, did you interact much 
with soldiers of other faiths and see how they-

Dugan: No I, everybody was either Catholic or Protestant and there was no-

Mrs. Dugan: Don how about Mort?

Dugan: Well I didn’t say absolutely one-hundred percent.

Mrs. Dugan: But he was very friendly with him.

Dugan: Al, Al, Alfred Aaronson who lived in New Jersey.  And he was in my STP 
also.  So we knew him very well.  And he was, our outfit so he was there every day, 
nothing different then anybody else, and I got along very well with Al, he was very 

Interviewer: Just in the interest of time I know, we’ve, I only got the one tape with 
me, and I don’t want to take up all of your time today.  You went over with a unit.

Dugan: Yes.

Interviewer: You stayed with that unit.

Dugan: The entire division.  The entire division went over as a unit.

Interviewer: And you were not then in the position of being a replacement.

Dugan: No, no.

Interviewer: How did you feel about replacements who would join you?

DuganN: Well there weren’t to many of them because we were a brand new outfit and 
we and everybody was there, in the division or in the regiment, replacements came 
much later when wounded and so…

Interviewer: There was no ill feeling, ignorance or anything towards replacements?

Dugan: I didn’t sense any of it.

Interviewer: Okay.

Dugan: The army had it made as far as I was concerned, nobody was causing trouble 

Interviewer: Well you hear stories about veterans of a unit when they have 
replacements join them they isolate them, they don’t want to get too close to them, 
for a while. You didn’t have any sense of that?

Dugan: I didn’t, no I didn’t have any sense of that.

Interviewer: Okay. Did you know or observe any newspaper or radio correspondents?

Dugan: We had, yes, we had a newspaper, everybody wanted to read it, you know?

Interviewer: But did you know of any of the writers for them-

Dugan: No.

Interviewer: Or the reporters?  What did you think of the coverage of the war?  
Or how the war was covered in the news?

Dugan: It was good as can be expected I mean it was complete, still a lot that 
was secret but the…you couldn’t hide it because we were a part of it so…

Interviewer: And you mentioned that you read ‘Yank’

Dugan: Oh sure.

Interviewer: What did you think of it?

Dugan: Oh that was terrific. Yank was very good.

Interviewer: Did you read Stars-

Dugan: Very current. Cartoons and Sad-Sack was the Cartoon.

Interviewer: Yeah. Was that in your view, was that representative of the Army or?

Dugan: Yeah. Yeah, it was on target.


End of Tape 01 of 03

Jump To: Tape 02, Tape 03