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"That’s when I first realized how important an education is because I'm sitting there shivering, muddy, miserable in this foxhole and I'm looking over across to the officer's quarters and they’re in much better condition. I said to myself, 'How come I'm here and they're over there?'"(Audio interview, 16:19)

   William Deward Caldwell
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Americal Division
Service Location: Camp Cooke, California; New Caledonia; Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands); Philippines; Bougainville Island (Solomon Islands); Yokahama, Japan; Pacific Theater
Rank: Sergeant
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Though discussion of the Battle of Guadalcanal often focuses on the efforts of the sailors and Marines who took part in it, soldiers--particularly those from the 23rd Infantry Division, also known as the Americal Division--also endured the harsh conditions and intense combat of Guadalcanal. In his oral history interview, Americal Sergeant William Deward Caldwell proudly recalls the achievements of his unit, which relieved the battle-weary 1st Marine Division in late 1942, and also recounts the constant mud, the lack of fresh food, and the many close calls.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (41 min.)
»Transcript
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»Guadalcanal: 75 Years Later
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Sailing out of San Francisco for the Pacific; landing at New Caledonia; taking on the name Americal. (03:05) No fresh food; everything they ate was dehydrated. (01:05) Living conditions while on patrol; foxholes; constant mud; realizing the disparity between situation of enlisted men and officers. (01:41)
Weather; close call with an artillery shell. (03:03) Hearing about VE Day while on the island of Cebu; close call on Cebu. (02:19) 
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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