Skip Navigation and Jump to Page Content    The Library of Congress >> American Folklife Center  
Veterans History Project (Library of Congress) ABOUT  
SEARCH/BROWSE  
HELP  
COPYRIGHT  
Home » Text Transcript

Interview with Loren Duke Abdalla [10/19/2016]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Today's date is October 19th, 2016. This is the interview of Loren -- L-o-r-e-n -- Duke -- D-u-k-e -- Abdalla -- A-b-d-a-l-l-a -- who resides at [address redacted]. He's commonly known as Duke, I think, to all of his friends. He was in the Marine Corps during World War II. Okay. Duke, I'm going to ask you a series of questions, and feel free just to go ahead and expound and talk about them as you see fit. Say what you want. I know, in fact, your age is -- how old are you right now?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Ninety-one.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And where were you born?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Wagner, South Dakota.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And how long did you live there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I left there in 1942. I was 17 years old.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And was that to join the Marine Corps?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Where did you go?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I went to work for a defense plant --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- make some money in the Depression days.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And how long did you live -- how long did you stay there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Till 1948. I joined the Marines.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Now --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

1944.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Your great-grandfather, who was that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Running Bull, Chief Running Bull.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And what tribe was that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yankton Sioux tribe.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And it's Y-a-n-k-t-o-n?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yankton. All right. And where is that tribe located?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Southeast corner.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Of?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Of South Dakota.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And do you remember, was he alive at all when you were --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Do you remember when he --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He died in 1900.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And --

Richard Daniels:

Great-grandfather.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's your great-grandfather?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Then when -- and you were 17 when you joined the Marine Corps?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was 18 when I joined the Marine Corps.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And do you recall where you went to boot camp, East Coast, West Coast?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

West Coast, Camp Elliott, San Diego, California.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And then right after -- do you remember approximately how many months you spent there training?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

How many months? Till March.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Less than --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Four, five months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And you were trained as an infantry --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Infantry man and machine gunner.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you were also a machine gunner. Who did you -- what was the first unit that they -- if you -- if you can recall, who you were -- who you reported to?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

When I first went overseas, I went with the Fourth Marine Raider Battalion, but they had been disbanded in February of 1944.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I didn't get there till March of 1944 --

Thomas Sbertoli:

So --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but I still joined the Fourth Raider Battalion.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And then did they then transfer you to another unit?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes, to Chesty Puller's A Company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Chesty Puller was a famous Marine general -- well, ultimately he was a general, but he wasn't a general back then.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was a colonel.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And, in fact, he was very famous in the Korean War, too, even after World War II.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And how long -- now, did you stay with that unit throughout the Marine Corps?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Throughout the Marine Corps.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And what was your initial position with that unit when you first got there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, when I first joined them, I was a private, First Class.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And so you were just a rifleman or a machine gun --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A rifleman.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then did you join them in the United States or did you go overseas?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I joined them here in Omaha, Nebraska.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And then how did you -- how were you transported over to the Pacific?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We went by Pullman train to the West Coast, San Diego, and then I shipped out of there for -- I just said it.

Richard Daniels:

The Fourth Marine Raider Battalion.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Huh?

Richard Daniels:

The Fourth Marine Raider Battalion.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. The Fourth Marine Raider Battalion in New Caledonia.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. All right. I also want to make this part of the record. My name is Tom Sbertoli. I'm going to be interviewing Duke here. And also present is --

Richard Daniels:

Rick Daniels.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And, Rick, you're an old friend of Duke's; is that correct?

Richard Daniels:

Old friend. We're former Marines, as well.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And -- so periodically you may hear some interjection from Rick, but that's just to help out Duke.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah. I won't --

Thomas Sbertoli:

No. I appreciate that, though. So, then, how were you trained? Did you get on a ship or what did you do when you go overseas?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I went on board the U.S. -- I've been on eight different ships. I can't think of the name. Polk. U.S.S. Polk.

Thomas Sbertoli:

P-o-l-k?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. P-o-l-k, Polk.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And that's the troop carrier that took you overseas?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right, with Bill Veeck. We slept under a Higgins boat. We shared the same blanket.

Thomas Sbertoli:

With Bill Veeck?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

With Bill Veeck, me and him.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. From the White Sox?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And then -- in fact, did Bill -- he lost a leg, I think.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yes, he did. Okay. And when they transported you, did you go to Hawaii or did you -- where did you go to?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, when I went overseas, I went to New Caledonia first, and then I went to the Russell Islands.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Pavuvu.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, let me back up a little bit. When you were raised, did you have brothers and sisters?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And then back on the ship, you go over there. Do you remember the first battle that you partook in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Peleliu.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And how long after you left San Diego by ship did you end up going into combat?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Went over in March. I went into combat September 15th, 1944.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And how old were you at that time?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

In '44, 19.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And when you went in combat, did you make an opposed landing? Was -- it was a landing on a craft from the ship; is that correct?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes. Landing craft.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And do you remember approximately how many of you were on the landing craft?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, there were probably 50 guys on there. I'm not sure --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but it was quite a few.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And did you know ahead of time exactly where you were landing on? Did they --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. What did they tell you you were going to do, Duke?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Just look after your fanny.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So when you were there, at the time you landed, were you an infantryman or were you already a squad leader?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

On Peleliu I was an infantryman.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And so you were part of the squad, which was part of a platoon.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right, First Squad -- or Third.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And so, when you landed, was it -- was there heavy opposition?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Heavy, heavy, very heavy opposition.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Men were dropping like flies.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So do you remember what wave you were when you went in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'm not sure of that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So if I'm picturing this right, they usually get the boats to go in circles first.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Circles first.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then they line up and they --

Thomas Sbertoli:

They go in in a wave. All right. And so you went in. How long were you floating in the water before -- in the circle? Do you remember if you were out there a long time or not?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no, it wasn't a long time. I'm going to say a couple hours we were out -- we got -- we were in a hurry.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. But was the water pretty rough?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

A lot of guys getting sick, seasick?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't know about that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't think there was any got sick.

Thomas Sbertoli:

When you guys were floating out there off the beach, were they shooting at you out in the boats?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So were there explosions or just bullet rounds?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Both. There was explosions and machine gunfire.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And did any of that fire hit the boat before you hit the beach?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Not that I know of.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Did you see any other boats -- could you see over the edge of the boat or were you guys --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, you couldn't.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was above your --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Your head? Okay. So you're out there, then you finally hit the beach. When you hit the beach, what was the first thing you observed when you hit that beach?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A big wall, a big coral wall, and nothing but Marines stacked around it, laying flat dead.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So they were -- the wave that came in ahead --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was before me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And there were already a lot of dead Marines there.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Everybody that hit the beach almost.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, when you hit the beach, were you actually in on the beach? And a lot of times what happened was you'd land out in the water and have to wade in.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no, no. This here, the beach was maybe 12 feet --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- of wall.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All there was was that -- before you hit the wall --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Because we hit the peak.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And then how tall was that coral wall? Could you hide behind it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. You could hide behind it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then it went like that. [Indicating.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So almost -- showing that it was almost straight vertical.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Almost straight. There was a small plateau in the middle --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and then it went straight up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And then, when you landed, your entire platoon spread out along that wall.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And do you recall whether some of your own troops were being hit with enemy fire at that time as you approached?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The only one was Case, and he was in front of me --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so he must have been a way before me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was a Mohawk Indian.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he was laying there dead, and I stepped on him -- over him and then into the coral.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The beach is right on the right side.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Now, every one of those units had Corpsmen, which were -- the Army calls them "medics," they call them "Corpsmen." Were they busy already attending to these guys?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes. They were busy right from the start.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then how long were you at that coral wall -- were you held up at the coral wall before you moved forward?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Not very long. I dove in a foxhole, and then we moved out, and then that's when I moved into the swamp by myself.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I spent the whole night by myself.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, I'm going to jump ahead a little bit to -- how long a time -- from the time you hit that beach to the time you left Peleliu, how long a period was that, till Peleliu -- were you wounded at Peleliu?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long were you on Peleliu before you were wounded?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Three days.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And did they evacuate you after you got injured?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So between those -- so you move out that first day, and how far inland did you move before nightfall?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Maybe -- footage-wise, probably 75 feet.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That was it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was all.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And, now, I know you left after three days. Do you know how long it took them to take the island?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, my goodness. It took them -- I'm not really sure -- quite a while to take the island.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Fifty-some days, I think --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- before it was secured completely.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you moved in 75 feet. Now, then, do you get into a foxhole and you stay there the night?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. No. I got in a foxhole, and then I moved up, and I moved too far ahead. I went right into a swamp --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- by myself. I didn't look back, and I run right into the swamp, and that's where I spent the night by myself --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And how --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- surrounded by Japanese on three sides, Marines in the back of me. And I didn't dare move.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How far were you ahead of the other Marines?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Maybe 20 feet, 25 feet.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And when you were there, do you recall what time of day it was when you --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Hot, 117 degrees.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. But do you recall what time of day it was when you actually hit the beach? Was it morning, afternoon?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, it was morning.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you're in that one position there, 20 feet of the other Marines, which were only about 75 feet in, for almost a whole day before --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. The beach was covered with guys dug in, though.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Now, did more waves land behind you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so were they being what I would call stacked up on the beach? They were stuck on the beach?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I would agree on that one, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they had a [inaudible] so bad because they -- they started getting prepared the day before we hit the beach --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so guys are dropping like flies.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long were you on that ship off the -- in fact, when the ship came up to the island, when was the first time you actually saw the island, when you were getting in the boat or were you on the ship looking at it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I was on the ship looking at it. We seen it -- before we went down on the landing craft rope --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- we eye-balled the ship -- or the island --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and then we got into the boats and headed for the island.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And when you were -- I'm just trying to think. I'm backing up a little bit. Before you actually even got in the landing craft, did they give you any instructions as to what you were going to do when you hit the beach? Did they have any maps for you to look at?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no maps.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No maps.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And did you see -- were they -- were your airplanes -- or I'm assuming your -- the ships that were supporting you, were they bombarding the beach?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, not the landing craft. No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But the backup ships were.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. You had cruisers behind --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah, 500 of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And they were bombarding the island and the beach?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. Five thousand, not 500. Five thousand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And do you know how long that bombardment was going on before you hit the beach?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They quit bombarding 24 hours before we hit the beach.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It's unthinkable.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. Do you know why --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was terrible.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- why they stopped that --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Because they run out of targets. That's why they quit --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- firing. And then they came out of their holes, all coral, and they were right there to meet us as soon as we hit the beach and shoot us up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So they -- the Japanese got -- they had been on this island for quite a while, so they dug caves --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Dug in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- dug holes, dug in, waited for the artillery. And was there airplanes bombing that --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No planes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No planes? And so they waited for the artillery to stop, and then they had a whole 24 hours to get back up out of the hole?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Exactly. They had 24 hours to rebuild, whatever they had to do.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Great.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah. Was there air -- was air covered?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. No cover at all.

Richard Daniels:

Nothing? Wow.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They quit firing at the island altogether for 24 hours before we hit the beach --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- because the order was they ran out of targets, the pilots that flew the planes --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- over the island. They said, "We've run out of targets." And they quit firing 24 hours before we hit the beach.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Even the naval gunfire held up for 24 hours?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All the fire. There was no fire at all.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So then you're -- that whole night -- that first night you were there, were there any -- now, they were firing at you the whole night?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were firing around me all night.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Firing going around me all the time. And I spent it hunched down in the swamp. I waited for morning. I thought I was a dead man. I didn't --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, was there movement of the Japanese at night? Were they around you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

One tank came directly into the swamp to my right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he pulled in next to me, and I waited for him to get out. When he sat on the ramp --

Richard Daniels:

The turret.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- I shot him three times, broadside. He fell back into the --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So he stood up out of the tank?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, he sat up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He sat up.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He sat on the tank opening.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then you shot him?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I shot him three times.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And he fell back in.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He fell back in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did the tank back up and leave?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, stayed right there. And I didn't move --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- because I thought there might be another one on board, you know --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but there wasn't.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I waited till morning, and I crawled back, yelling "A Company, A Company." Finally, I heard, "Over here," and there was F Company. So I fell in with them, and I found my company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So you were doing the low crawl back?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah, right through the water to get out of the swamp. Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And -- now, when they were shooting at you, they were using machine guns, weren't they?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And were they using mortars?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were using mortars, machine guns, and --

Richard Daniels:

Artillery?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, were they recoilless rifles or hand grenades?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Not hand grenades, but --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Mortars?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Mortars.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Mortars going off all over.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, the Marines behind you, were they returning fire back to them?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So were you basically laying down, watching the fire from both sides?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Both sides. Laying down, watching both sides, and watching our men go down.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Saw a lot of men hit?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And you saw a lot of tracer bullets going back and forth?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

You know, I'm not really sure about that, about tracers.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But they did use tracers. I seen them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Now, when you got back to the lines in the morning, was it at dawn or was it into the morning or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Just after dawn, just after day break.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. When you got back there, was -- you ended up connecting with your unit again, right?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. There was 20 guys left in the company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So the company started out with a couple hundred?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

240.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So by the time you got back, they were already down to 20?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Twenty.

Thomas Sbertoli:

The rest were either wounded or killed?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And so when they -- the 20 that were left, what did they change your job -- or what did they change your position as -- I mean, you were originally an infantryman.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. I was still an infantryman.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I picked up a BAR --

Thomas Sbertoli:

A Browning automatic rifle.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes. And four guys, four of us --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- we took on the block house. THE COURT REPORTER: I'm sorry. You took on the --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Blockhouse, B-l-o-c-k-h-o-u-s-e. And that's where the machine gun was located?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

It was made out of concrete or stone or something?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes. It was a blockhouse.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And so that blockhouse, was that the thing that was tearing up your unit?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was part of the unit, yes. It was good-sized.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Sixteen feet by 10 feet, whatever.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Now --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was a blockhouse.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Was your -- originally was -- your platoon commander, was he a lieutenant?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I lost contact with the platoon leader all the way through.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. But your -- all right. So do you know if your platoon leader, which was -- should have been an officer, was he already killed or wounded?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. No. He was -- he was wounded.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. But he was still alive?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. No, he was not wounded. No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So he was still there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He took off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And so who was the most senior Marine you had there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Aubertin, Sergeant Aubertin.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So a sergeant was still. And there were a lot of the other corporals wounded and killed? Out of that 240 --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. There was -- there was only six men survived that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Ultimately, right. So then you get together with a group of 20, you grabbed a Browning automatic rifle, as opposed to -- when you landed, did you land with an M1 --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

With an M1.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And so then you put that down and grabbed the BAR --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right, because it had more power.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And so you took the BAR, which was really kind of an assault rifle -- it was an automatic --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Automatic. Twenty rounds, it took.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And I think it's a .30-06, big shell --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

.30-06.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you took that. What did your other 19 buddies -- what were they carrying?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They all picked up a BAR --

Thomas Sbertoli:

They all -- all right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and we threw two hand grenades. Boom, boom. Then we rushed it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then one of them slipped out to the right, and I swung my BAR right at him, peeled the bark off a trunk, a tree trunk. He blew himself up with an grenade. Boom.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Japanese guy. So do you know how many guys were in this pill box or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. They all scattered. They got out of there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Did your guys have any explosives or did you have any flame throwers with you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All we had was the BARs.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you assaulted the --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The pill box.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- the pill box. And of those four guys with you, did any of them get wounded or killed?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I never seen them again after that. I think I seen one guy later on, but they were wounded there on Peleliu --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- after me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you took that pill box. This is the first --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Second day.

Thomas Sbertoli:

The second day, you take that pill box. Then what you do after that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The third day, we came up on a plateau --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and that's where we made our biggest push.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Puller made his biggest push, the First Regiment. And there was a plateau, and my job -- they pulled me out of the line as a rifleman --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- attached a machine gun team to me --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and I took up the right flank -- the left frank, laid down a line of fire so the infantrymen could move up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And as I fired, everyone that stepped out was shot --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and they were just dropping like that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They had us outgunned.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you were attacking a position, now, of the Japanese. And were the Japanese on the plateau?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And they were shooting down at you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Shooting down at us.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And did anybody try to flank them at all or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

There was no way you could get around them. The plateau was right there in front, and this is the ridge. [Indicating.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So you just did a frontal assault?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's it. Frontal assault and that was it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Go ahead.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they dropped like flies.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. How long of a -- did this -- did you just make one assault at this or a number of --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, three of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Three assaults.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I moved three times, and I had to move underneath the coral ledge --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so that my team would not get hit.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I just kept moving my gun. Three times I moved it. The third time I moved it -- it only takes four seconds to set up and fire a heavy machine gun. Four guys.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, wait. And the heavy -- is this .30 caliber or .50 caliber?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

.30.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you got a .30 caliber machine gun?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

.30 caliber machine gun --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- one with the --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Butterfly?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no, with the --

Richard Daniels:

Tripod.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Tripod?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A bipod. I spiked the bipod.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, you spiked the bipod.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I spiked it. The machine gunner put the machine gun in, and the two ammo carriers fed the machine gun -- the fire --

Thomas Sbertoli:

The belt.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- the belt.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And that was the old canvas belt.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right, the old canvas belt.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So then, when I moved the third time, that's -- we're all around the gun, and they had a big gun spotted me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they fired into me, and they killed my machine gunner, my two ammo carriers, and blew me into the wall with holes in both legs, busted my ear drums, busted up my back.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So by "a big gun" -- this is a canon or a recoilless rifle or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It had to be a recoil of some sort. It was a big gun.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So it --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I didn't see it. I just heard it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Okay. And so that basically wiped out your machine group --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That -- I was done.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- your machine gun. And it blew you back. Now -- so were you getting shrapnel or bullet holes or what was --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Shrapnel, both legs.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And as soon as you got hit and blew back, did -- were you attended by a corpsman or how --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no, no. They couldn't get to me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

There was too much -- anybody stuck their thumb out was shot.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So how did you get out of there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I crawled out on my elbows.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I was bleeding so bad, I knew if I -- if I opened, I would be shot.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So I fall down the crevice head first.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then I took sulfanilamide -- and the holes right through my leg, I just pushed it on through. And I carried two of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And so I bandaged the other leg, and then I crawled on down. And I was down -- oh, 20-some feet down from where I was --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and two Marines grabbed me. I was full of blood, my legs were, where they ripped the pants open.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, those pills -- the sulfa you jammed in there. And then did you bandage them, too, or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And that stopped the bleeding or helped it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Stopped -- it helped, stopped the bleeding quite a bit.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Otherwise I was bleeding to death.

Thomas Sbertoli:

You were bleeding out. And so two Marines grabbed you and dragged -- where did they take you to, the aid station or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, right to the landing craft.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they had another guy in there already wounded, and they shoved me in there and then took off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Took you back to the ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Took me back to the ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was trying to think of the name of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

But that ship there was primarily a hospital ship, right?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, no? It was just a landing -- I mean --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A landing craft.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- a troop ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was a troop ship, but all they had on was wounded Marines.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, between the time you got hit and the time you got on that landing craft, did any Corpsmen attend you or did they just put you on the landing craft?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Just put me on the landing craft. Corpsmen never touched me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Then they got you back to the ship and they got you up onboard somehow. Do you remember how that happened?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. They used a --

Thomas Sbertoli:

A sling with --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A sling.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they slung me up, and they unloaded me on the -- aboard ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then I was going in and out --

Thomas Sbertoli:

You were passing out and waking up?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Passing out and coming to.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then finally I went out cold. For six days I was out.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I woke up --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did they hit you with my morphine before you went out or no?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I think they gave they something just before I went out. Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was the second day. Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So a lot of pain during this whole time?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I never pay any attention to pain.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so they get you on deck. When did you wake up again? Were you downstairs and below deck?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I was on -- I woke up aboard the hospital ship Bountiful --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- after six days.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All my clothes were gone. I was cleaned up. I had --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Bandages all over?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- bandages on both legs and a small -- whatever -- apron on.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And then your back, did they -- was there some injury to your back, too? Because you blew against the wall, right?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Blew me against the wall, crushed my back. And I had -- they treated all the cuts and everything.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you had lots of scrapes from the coral and everything.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So your whole back was probably torn up.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So were you on your stomach or -- were you laying on your stomach because your back was --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no. It blew me into the coral wall.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No, I'm talking on the ship.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, on the ship? No. I was laying on my back.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so were you in an area where, on the hospital ship, it was just full of other wounded Marines?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And were there doctors coming around to take care of you or were they Corpsmen?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I believe they were Corpsmen, yes --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and nurses.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Nurses? All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Aboard the Bountiful.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Cool. So then -- and I think the Bountiful -- is B-o-n-n --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A hospital ship. I got a picture of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, no kidding? We'll have to get the name off of that. Now, in fact --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'm on it. I'm on that ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Is it a picture of you on of the ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, not a picture of me, a picture of the ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, okay. And you actually -- there's a book that's been written about you, correct?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And that wouldn't be a bad idea, to get that book as part of this record.

Richard Daniels:

We do have a copy here, don't you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Of my book? Yes.

Richard Daniels:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

If we could take that and we could attach it to everything and send that in with the whole package. Is that possible? THE COURT REPORTER: You might not get it back.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No, no. You don't need to get it back. He's got plenty of these books, I've got a feeling. THE COURT REPORTER: We could do that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. Let's make that part of the record. We'll just attach it to the package. It should go to the Library of Congress.

Richard Daniels:

It was written by his son --

Thomas Sbertoli:

His son?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Grandson.

Richard Daniels:

-- his grandson's wife.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Good. And we'll get to that later. So you were on this ship. How long were you on the hospital ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, my. I would say -- let's see. The day I woke up, they moved me the next day, so I don't know how long I was on that hospital ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Do you know how long you were unconscious before you woke up?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's what I'm getting at. I was in and out of consciousness --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and then everything went black, and I woke up on the Bountiful, the ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. All right. And then did the ship -- well, now, when you woke up, was the ship still off the coast of Peleliu or were you already moving?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no. We were on our way to Guadalcanal.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Great.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We were moving towards Guadalcanal, towards the hospital there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Oh, there was a hospital there.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So what was the second battle you were in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Okinawa.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okinawa. So Guadalcanal was already secured.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So they -- all right. So you go to Guadalcanal. Do you have any idea how long it took to get you to Guadalcanal on this ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I had no idea at all.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And did -- when you got to Guadalcanal, then they unloaded all the Marines?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And did you run into any of your buddies on the ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

One guy.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Who was that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Shade, and he cracked up. And he was in a barbed wire, round deal.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was hanging like that -- [indicating] -- and I was on crutches.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So he's actually being contained. Were there other guys in there with him in that barbed wire --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no, no. No, no. They weren't in there. He was the only one in there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We were outside. We were patients.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. But he was in an enclose --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was in an enclosure, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

They were restraining him --

Richard Daniels:

But not barbed wire? Was it barbed wire?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, it wasn't barbed wire. Chicken wire.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Chicken wire. All right. So he had a breakdown?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He cracked up, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And that's what he said. I walked over, and I see him, and I said, "Shade, is that you?" And he's hanging on the wire, and his eyes are that big. And he says, "Yeah, I fooled 'em."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So for the record, you're showing that he's got his hands up against the chicken wire --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Hanging on the chicken wire.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- and his eyes were huge, very big --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

"I fooled 'em."

Thomas Sbertoli:

But did he seem to be in control of himself or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. He fooled them by making them think he went crazy.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh. And --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's how he fooled them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's how he fooled the Japanese or the Americans? Who has he fooled? Who did he fool?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He didn't fool nobody. He was in a cage.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh. Okay. And that was --

Richard Daniels:

But you think he really cracked up, though.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But he cracked up, oh, yeah. Definitely.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He had combat fatigue?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. He had too much of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, too much. But did you see a lot of guys like that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I can name 'em.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Now, you saw him there. Did you see anybody else from your unit?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Not there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So then they get you off of there, and they take you to Guadalcanal. Was it a building, a tent? What was it in Guadalcanal, the hospital?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was a tent. The hospital was all tents.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And in there were there -- can you -- do you have any idea of how -- or let me back up. On the ship how many people were in that one unit you were in down there? Was there 50, 20, 100?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, more than that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

A couple hundred?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So the whole ship was just filled with wounded Marines?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes. Oh, definitely.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And then, when you got to Guadalcanal, another -- tents and tents of wounded Marines?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We got to Guadalcanal, that's when they dumped off all the wounded Marines into the hospital --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and the hospital took them all in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long do you think you were there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Two months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you -- and during that two months, they attended to your wounds, but you had crutches?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was on crutches.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they attended to my wounds.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And then how long before they let you go back to active duty?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Two months. I rejoined my company on the LCI. And it's got a long ramp on the side of it, and they lowered that ramp. And this was during -- malaria -- everybody is getting treated for malaria --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so they had to be fully dressed. But six of us, all we had on was our skivvies.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I had wounds on both legs, and I was on crutches.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And we walked off the ramp, and there's a whole sea of recruits waiting for us.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The whole area was filled with recruits.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And they're watching the wounded guys come off the ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Watching -- well, the six of us come off the ship. And they put our tent next to the mess hall. When they had mess call, one would take my mess kit, another would take and find a place for me to sit down. I'd eat my meal, they'd take my mess kit, wash it, carry it back to the tent for me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Pretty good deal, man.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They really treated me like a king.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Richard Daniels:

That's a relative concept.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah, right. It's all relative. So any ways, how long were you -- so you hooked up with your unit or a different unit?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, with the First all the time.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you're back with your unit in Guadalcanal. You get off that -- and that thing you said -- you said "LTV?" Is that what it was you were getting off of?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

LTV --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah, right, landing --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- or LCI. I'm not sure.

Thomas Sbertoli:

A landing craft.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I think it's -- yeah, LCI.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And that's the ones with the ramps on either side of the front.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Went straight down, and you could walk off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So then -- now, how long were you at Guadalcanal before you left there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I was only there a couple months. Then I went back and joined my outfit.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Where was your outfit at?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

In Pavuvu in the Russell Islands.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Pavuvu. That's going to be a phonetic spelling. And so how did you get from Guadalcanal to there, on this landing craft?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no, no, no. By ship --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- from Guadalcanal, the LCI, to Pavuvu in the Russell Islands.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Six of us got off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So by then were you still on crutches when you got off there or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so then they integrated you right back into your unit. And then how long were you there before you left for the next assault?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All right. September, October --

Richard Daniels:

This was the second time you were in Pavuvu, right?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah. Because you helped build the island the first time.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right, from scratch.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah, because the island was -- did you see the movie "The Pacific," the series "The Pacific," the Tom Hanks series? It was --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Rotten coconuts.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

Anyway --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Go ahead.

Richard Daniels:

-- watch that. And Pavuvu was where they came and --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Was it a staging area?

Richard Daniels:

No. It was like a --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, it was just a rest area.

Richard Daniels:

-- a rest area.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We had to build up a camp. We had to make a camp.

Richard Daniels:

But it was all infested with rats --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Rats.

Richard Daniels:

-- and they had to put shelves to make a place to walk.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

And he was one of the first guys there to build out the island.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So you did that before you went to Peleliu?

Richard Daniels:

Yes.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so you're back there now with those guys. How long did it take for your -- after you got to that island -- you already spent two months at Guadalcanal. How much longer did it take before you were actually able to get back in uniform and, you know, start carrying the pack again?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

There was no -- no. There was no such thing as get back in uniform.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

With Chesty Puller's men, you had no duty whatsoever. You had -- you camped on an area till you got ready to -- like we were getting ready to hit Peleliu --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- then we got ourselves ready --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but up until that time we had no duty.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. But how long were you there before you left again? Roughly.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Roughly eight months. I'm going to say eight months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And how long do you think it took you to really get back your legs, your health, and be able to --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Now, that's a good question. Not very long.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Two months at the hospital. I'm going to say two months or more --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- I healed up. However it takes a wound to heal.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, did they take shrapnel out of you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. Clean wounds.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Through-and-through?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Through-and-through, clean wounds.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And they -- so then -- and during this entire eight months or so, were you -- was there any training you did, anything to get ready, or did they just say, "Get ready, we're leaving again"?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no. We went through our regular training --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- before we could get ready to hit the beach --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- you know? And that was maybe two weeks before we were going to hit the beach, we get ready for them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so then on the -- when you left there again, did you know where you were going the second time?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Just said, "Get on the ship."

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Now, what was your rank at this time?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Corporal.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you'd made corporal. And what was your position? What was -- what were you -- were you a squad leader?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was squad leader.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So how many men did you have underneath you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Twelve.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And there's three squads to the platoon?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Four.

Richard Daniels:

Four.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Four. I'm sorry.

Richard Daniels:

No, it's three now.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Is it?

Richard Daniels:

Yeah. It's three since I was in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, did you have a weapons squad?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Machine gun.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's what it was.

Richard Daniels:

No, but they had four infantry.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Three infantry.

Richard Daniels:

Oh, it was three? Oh, and then a weapons platoon?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. That's it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. They were a little more autonomous. So any ways, they -- so you're in charge of a squad. And did you have a lieutenant or did you have enlisted guys added to the platoon?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, we had a lieutenant to run our --

Thomas Sbertoli:

The platoon?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- the platoon.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And offhand I don't remember their names. They didn't last long.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh. Okay. And then how about Chesty Puller? Did you ever talk to him or meet him?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Talked to him, met him many, many times.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you really? What did you think of him?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was a good guy.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. He wasn't no -- my juice was good. If I made good juice --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And so --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I told him Chicken Boyd made ours in our tent.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

"Juice" is the alcohol.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Jungle juice.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did he ever try it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Try it?

Thomas Sbertoli:

No. Did Chesty try it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. He had his own.

Richard Daniels:

Tell him the story when he came through your tent.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What happened?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He would have his -- what do you call them?

Thomas Sbertoli:

His aid or somebody?

Richard Daniels:

His XO.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Huh?

Richard Daniels:

His executive officer?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, when they go around and check your equipment and unit --

Richard Daniels:

Inspection.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Inspection, yeah. When they pulled an inspection, they pulled in, and Chesty come in the tent, and we all jumped to attention. And Chicken Boyd, 17 years old from Virginia --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And you called him "Chicken Boy?"

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Chicken Boy? Chicken Boyd.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Boyd?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was his last name.

Thomas Sbertoli:

B-o-y-d.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Chicken Boyd.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And Chesty pulled -- he pulled up, and we had a five-gallon can, like everybody else. And the cover over the top was just solid with flies, dead flies --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- black. And he says to Chicken Boyd -- he says, "Is it ready yet, son?" And Chicken Boyd said, "No, sir, 'taint ready yet." And he said, "Mine ain't either," and he walks out.

Richard Daniels:

And you thought you were going to be in trouble when he saw it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I thought that we'd be in trouble when he saw the --

Richard Daniels:

Hootch.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- jungle juice, you know, but he had his own jungle juice.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What did the Marines, the enlisted, think of Chesty Puller?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Everybody loved him.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was a no-backup guy --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- no way. He did not take a backseat --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- from nobody.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. He was kind of Patton of the Marine Corps, huh? General Patton like him?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

From what I seen of Patton, yeah, but --

Richard Daniels:

He was -- well --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't think Patton is the man that Puller is.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No, no. He was pretty rough.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Puller was all man.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, when he walked around -- a lot of photos show him -- was he always wearing a shoulder rig for his gun or was he caring a gun or what was he doing when he came through?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

None of us carried any weapons --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- in a rest area.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, was he a full-bird colonel then or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was a colonel --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- full-bird.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Go ahead, Rich.

Richard Daniels:

And he ran the boxing matches --

Thomas Sbertoli:

We're going to get into it.

Richard Daniels:

-- for the unit. Yeah. I didn't know if you knew that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Well, we're going to get --

Richard Daniels:

And Chesty Puller would come in --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Richard Daniels:

-- and when him and Ray Davis would come in -- it was the Medal of Honor -- they would come in, and then he would tip his pipe, and then he would start the matches.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Then I would start the fight.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, let's talk about the boxing a little bit. Before you got into the Marine Corps, you were a boxer?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes, 10 years old.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was 10 years old. I taught myself.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then didn't you fight a lot of fights -- or somebody found you or started you boxing regularly, didn't they? Didn't you do a lot of fights at the carnivals or something?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, heavens. Labor Days and rodeos.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And we had a lot of rodeos in Dakota.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And -- but before that, they got us, on Labor Day, to box -- all the kids in town to box. I liked it so well I made my own heavy bag and hung it from the rafters, and I took a flannel shirt, wrapped around my hands, and I learned how to punch.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, was your -- was your father a Native American and your mother a Native American or what was it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no, no. My mother was Native American, and my father was Scotch Irish.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I think Scotch, all Scotch. I never seen him.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He took off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So your mom raised you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My grandma and my grandpa, George Abdalla.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

And his grandfather was Syrian.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So that's where the Abdalla part --

Richard Daniels:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so the grandfather on the mother's side?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

She took his name. She didn't give me the father's name.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

It was Syrian decent.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was a mistake on her part.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, yeah. Okay. And do you think it would have been better if you had taken your surname from your father?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I think that would be the fair thing to do.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What was his name?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Todd, T-o-d-d.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But, no. No, he got her pregnant and he took off --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but my grandfather named me after himself, you know.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And your grandfather's -- oh, so that's what -- the name you took.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

[Mr. Abdalla nodded his head up and down.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So then you started boxing when you were 10. You boxed in what, carnivals and on the holidays and stuff?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Rodeos.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Rodeos. And you were getting some money for that, weren't you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They paid me $3 a fight.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Whether you one or lost or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, I never lost. I always won.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Never lost a fight in my life. Fact.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. If you lost, would you have gotten less money?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't know.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I never gave that a thought, really.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So then your boxing -- did you box at all in the Marine Corps when you first came in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And any stories about you boxing when you're in the Marine Corps early on?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, you want to hear it?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All right. I boxed in all the rodeos and -- all those years.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Uh-huh.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I got $3 a fight.

Richard Daniels:

And they would encourage locals to fight.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they would fill the rodeo.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So then, when I went into the Marines, the first week they run us from daylight to dark for six days, and then they gave us a break on Sunday, and everybody takes a rest.

Thomas Sbertoli:

You go to church?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no. Fall off for recreation.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So everybody gets to know everybody in the first week. You know what toothpaste you use.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So we're all laying down, and the third squad leader, our -- yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. You're a squad leader.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The third one, he was the youngest one.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We had three drill instructors. That's what I was trying to say. Three drill instructors. The youngest drill instructor come over to where we're laying down. And I was laying over on the other side. And he says, "Abdalla." And I shot straight in the air, and I said, "Yes, sir." And he says, "I hear you done some boxing." I said, "Yes, sir." And he pointed to the gloves on the plywood box. He says, "Put them on." And I put the 16-ounce gloves on. They're like pillows.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, big ones.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I look back at him, and he's tapping his mitts in front of his hands, and he's bouncing like a kewpie doll. And he comes out at me and throws a straight left with his head up like that. And he's bouncing on his toes. He was all mine there. And he shot out a second left.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I just let it pass over like that. Then he shot out the third, and I come over the top with a right, caught him dead, right on the jaw. Down he went, out cold. He tried to get up, and he dug up the dirt.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Trying to get up.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And everybody's -- everybody jumped -- when he said, "Put them on," everybody in the platoon jumped and touched their fingers to each other. They're all laughing and winking at each other.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah, right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They knew what was going to happen --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and I did. And the one guy, he says, "Did you him hit as hard as you could?" I said, "As hard as I could." Knocked him out.

Thomas Sbertoli:

[Laughter.] Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Chesty Puller -- my knocking out my drill instructor put me in the Marine Raiders --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and Chesty Puller wanted me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He put me in charge of boxing.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Good. So did you start a boxing team back in the States before you left? You said he put you in charge of boxing. Did you start a boxing team?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Started boxing overseas --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- just in our rest area. That's the only time we boxed.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. But you --

Richard Daniels:

But you were the only one that -- from your -- from your --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Unit.

Richard Daniels:

-- unit that got sent to the Raiders --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, right. Right.

Richard Daniels:

-- and you got sent to the Raiders because of that incident.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. Right. I was sent to the Raiders because of that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And then now -- but did Chesty recall you later on when he ran into you in Guadalcanal or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right after that, I met Chesty on the Russell Islands on Pavuvu.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And when you were first building up that island, did you have boxing matches there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And did you run those?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I ran those -- CB put it up for me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So they would build the stage and the ring and everything that like?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Everything like that, and I'd hold the fight off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I would -- once or twice a week we'd have fights.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'd hold the fight off till Chesty Puller showed up and Major Davis.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And they always had to be there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they got the front row log. They sat on a coconut log.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Now, would you fight, too, or were you just running the fights?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was just running it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I would put on a fight once in a while, exhibition.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So what would you do? You would try to match up the fighters?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'd try to match them up as close as I could --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but you'd get funny actors. You'd get --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- wind mills -- [indicating] -- and you'd get tank trucks and --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Did you --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Those are the kind of fighters you match up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And did you try to get the grudge matches going, too, between guys who didn't like each other?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Every fight was a draw.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

When the fight -- three rounds, I'd raise both hands.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And did you -- any of the -- did you match up any Marines against the Navy or just --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no. There was no Navy around. Nobody but Marines.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. You didn't have CBs there or something?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

[Mr. Abdalla shook his head from side to side.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So -- all right. So that was good. So you did that again when you were back there the second time recuperating from your wounds?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then they get you and they put you back on a ship and say, Okay, we're off again." And then what was the next thing -- do you remember -- did you, all of a sudden, show up early in the morning off the coast --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Okinawa.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- of Okinawa? Did they talk to you ahead of time, then, and tell you what you were going to do?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, not until we were aboard ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We had no idea, no plans, nothing. We didn't know where we were going.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Did you -- when you got back on the ship the second time to leave, did you -- and did you connect with any of the guys that you fought with on Peleliu or were they all gone by now?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

There was a couple.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And so now you're a squad leader, and you're going to go into Okinawa. Now, did you go in on the initial landing in Okinawa or did you come in later?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I went in the first --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Wave?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Wave, yeah. The first months. Not the first wave, but the first months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, was that opposed with fire -- you know, with gunfire and cannons or not?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was unopposed.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We walked in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Walked in, started going into the jungle. And how long did it -- did you -- or how many days were you there before you got into actual combat in Okinawa?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

First Marine Division job was to take the peninsula --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- which was 15 miles long and three miles wide --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- sticking out, so we took it in three and a half days.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Was that the southern end or the northern end?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was the southern end.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Was the Army at the northern end?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The Army was --

Thomas Sbertoli:

They were at some other place, I know that.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no. They were at Kadena Airfield --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- for a month --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- two armies.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were behind us. We took the peninsula, we came back, and we relieved the 27th Army Division --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- because they couldn't go south.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. They were getting -- they were stuck.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were -- they couldn't make any headway. They couldn't get past Kadena.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long did it take you to take the peninsula? You're the Marines.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Three and a half days.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then we got back on -- relieved the 27th Division --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and then, the 5th of May, my company, A Company --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- we took on that ridge after dark.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. But before -- let's back up a little bit. When you guys took the peninsula -- and you said you took it in three days or something like that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Three and a half.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And was there heavy fighting there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So then you go back up, and there's a ridge right away. That's the first big battle your were in, this ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you get wounded at Okinawa?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was hit in the eye later on with the mud --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but I didn't claim it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And -- all right. So go ahead and tell me what happened at this ridge. You were -- you guys took over for the Army, and you were going --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh. So we went back up north, and the Army was still there at Kadena Airfield.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And it was the 27th Army. So the 96th tried to go south, and they couldn't --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- they were stopped right at Kadena.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So then the 27th relieved them, and they tried to go up Wana Draw. They couldn't --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so then we relieved them. So on the fifth day, we watched them. And there was a ravine up to the ridge --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and they were all killed in those ravines.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So we decided to go after dark. We would go in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So the 1st of May -- 4th of May, we went in after dark -- it was pouring down rain -- and made it to my destination, right at the base of the ridge. And we hugged the wall. We had maybe a four-foot parapet wall.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We hugged that so they couldn't fire on us.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And the following morning, the third platoon came from the right, broadside, and that was our sign to attack.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So I armed each guy with 12 grenades.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And day break, we both said, "Now," and we hit the top of the ridge and the broadside.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I lost -- my whole squad was killed a little over halfway. My whole squad was dead, killed and wounded.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And Ralph Cruse Altomarino, he was the guy that was hit. He says, "Duke, I'm hit." I said, "Can you walk?" He says, "Yeah." I said, "Get out of here." Then I took out the next two, and then they blew up the big gun with pipe charges.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, the next two, were those machine guns nests?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Machine gun bunk houses.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So pill boxes -- you had a couple -- how many machine gun pill boxes --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Six.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so you took out how many?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The platoon -- my squad took out four, and then I took out the other two --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so that's six all together.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And now how many Japanese were in each one of these pill boxes?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That I don't know. One or two.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. But there was one gun in each --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

In each one, heavy machine gun.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And how did you take out those two pill boxes?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Grenades --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- right through the turret.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So would you --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then one under the --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Would you try to flank it or how would you get to that pill box?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I'd reach around in front of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you got on top of the pill box.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

On the side of it, over the side and top, and flipped it in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, right into the slits where the gun was.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right, right into the slot.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So could you see them in there when you were throwing the grenade in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. I could see the guy in there. I threw it in there, and then it went off. It didn't touch me. It was concrete.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Now, those grenades had a delay on them. Would you have to hold the grenade for a bit before you threw it in there or would you just throw it in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They go off, I don't know how many seconds, but you're allowed so many seconds.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Could you hear it rattling around in there or was it -- was it concrete or was it wood?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Concrete and I-beams, steel.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Camouflage.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Camouflage. So you threw the grenades in there. And did any of them ever get out or did it just kill everybody in there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. They -- nobody gets out.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

One guy at the very end, I see him run and jump before I could get a shot at him. He was the last one up there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What kind of weapon were you carrying at that time?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I picked up an M1 --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- because it was open ground.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

In tight, wooded area, I want the Thompson.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, as a squad leader, were you given a Thompson, a Thompson machine gun?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I carried a Thompson as a squad leader.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, a machine gun. And that shoots .45 slugs, doesn't it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

.45 caliber, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Then you grabbed the M1 Grand, G-r-a-n-d.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Long range rifle.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. And that was because you had the open field there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

If I had open ground -- real good, open ground -- then I'd pick up a BAR.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And use that --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they were laying all over.

Thomas Sbertoli:

But when you were attacking these pill boxes, you were carrying the Grand or were you carrying a Thompson?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Thompson.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, because that's a little smaller. You could carry it.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

One hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. All right. So you did each pill box. Was that during the day or at night that you did that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

In the morning.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Early morning --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was still raining a little and still foggy like, and smoke will not rise -- there was so much firing going on, you could just make out a person's body.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Now, where were the -- were any Marines backing up when you were running around throwing these grenades in there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, just our squad. And we had to front -- front 'em.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And they -- when you got done with the two -- now, did the two -- all six of those pill boxes, did they all fall -- do you remember how long it took for your squad, and then you, to take out these six pill boxes? Was it a few hours? Was it all day?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'm going to say it was all over before noon.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And you started early in the morning?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Day light.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then, once you got the pill boxes, did that allow you to get up on the ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The pill box is right on the edge of the top of the ridge.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So now you're up on the ridge --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'm on the very top.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And what was up there as far as enemy? What was -- were there more troops waiting for you up there to fight?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Well, once we -- once got up Wana Draw --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- once we could march up there, then they come back at us.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So then the Marines assaulted the hill after you took out the pill boxes?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The ridge -- my squad took care of the top.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And the second squad took care of the bottom.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And then how long did it take you to secure the top of that ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It took us before morning, daylight, you know. I'm going to say 11:30.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I'm guessing, though.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And then were there a lot of dead Japanese up there --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I don't know how many bodies all over --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and Marines --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, and Marines.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- because our --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Sure. Was there hand-to-hand combat going on?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All the time, all the way through on top --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- breathing down your neck.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So you're using the M1. Did you have to put a bayonet on it or did you use it separate?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was using a Thompson there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, when you were up there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Good. And then the -- after you secured that, did you have to worry about counterattacks or anything?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Once we knocked out the big gun, that was it. It was over. It went dead. Everything went dead. There was no shelling, nothing.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Richard Daniels:

Was it after the -- after the pill boxes --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

After.

Richard Daniels:

-- that's when you attacked the big gun?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, right at the pill boxes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Then they hit the big gun, just that quick.

Richard Daniels:

Who did?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The second squad.

Richard Daniels:

Okay. Not your squad?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The second squad, not me.

Richard Daniels:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were below me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So they were firing straight down on you with either a cannon, a recoilless, or something?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then they took that out. Then did any of the Japanese run away or did they fight to the death?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't think I ever seen one run away.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So then you secured the top of the ridge for the rest of the day. Did you regroup up there on the top of the ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What did you do then?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We fell back to the Seventh Marine Regiment. They were still in -- at the airfield. And there was only 8 or 10 -- I don't know which -- that was left of us, of A Company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So we had to form a new company right there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. They took the remnants of different companies and made one company.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Made one company out of it, and then we moved on.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. When you formed this new company, what was your position with that company?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was still --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Squad leader?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Squad leader.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

And did you become the Seventh Marines at that point?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Huh?

Richard Daniels:

Did you become the Seventh Marines at that point?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Just for two days.

Richard Daniels:

Okay.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We were with them for two days. That's all.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And where did you go after this ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right there, at Kadena Airfield, where they -- we fell in with the Seventh Marines, and we built up our company and then we moved on.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, did you have a name for the ridge or was there a number for the ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah, Dakeshi Ridge --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Dakeshi?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Dakeshi Ridge Fortress.

Richard Daniels:

T-a-k-e-s-h-i [sic].

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And the Japanese is Kakazu -- Kakazu --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- Fortress.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's the Japanese name.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And Okinawa is really part of the main Japan. It's really their --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

150 miles.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. They consider that part of Japan.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And so after that -- now, how many days had you been in country, about five or six now -- or in Okinawa? How long had you been in Okinawa by the time you took this ridge? Five, six days?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We hit there April 1st, and we left there in October.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. But you'd been there only about a week when you took this ridge?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

The pill boxes.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Richard Daniels:

Now, that wasn't Dakeshi Ridge, though, was it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. Oh, the pill box was Dakeshi Ridge.

Richard Daniels:

It was? Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Richard Daniels:

Well, where -- was that part of the Shuri Line?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. The Shuri Line was 12 miles down the road.

Richard Daniels:

And that -- you were involved in that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Richard Daniels:

Okay. And that was -- once they got past the Shuri Line, the battle was over.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Shuri Line was the very end.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Two generals --

Richard Daniels:

The last pill box.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- committed hari kari.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Two of the Japanese generals committed hari kari.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah, on the 20th of June, 1945.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So after the ridge, you go back, you reform with the Seventh Regiment, but you left them after two days.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Two days.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Where did you go then?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We formed our own company, and we went down the right side of Wana Draw.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What was the -- what designation was that company?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We had to take the southern end of Okinawa.

Thomas Sbertoli:

I know, but what unit was that? What did you call it? You made a new company.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, A Company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

It was still Alpha Company?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah, still A Company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

But it was --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

First Battalion, First Raiders -- or First Regiment, First Marine Division.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's what I want. Okay. And where did you go after that? With that unit, where did you guys --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Went up Wana Draw.

Richard Daniels:

Which was the draw that you just took with the pill boxes on it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The ridge was what we just took.

Richard Daniels:

Uh-huh.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Dakeshi Ridge we just took. And then we moved up south on Wana Draw, and that's where they had us pinned down on the 11th. And I run over and said, "What's holding us up" and -- wait a minute. I called and they sent two tanks, and I only asked for one. "Send a tank down here." And I run across, and I says, "What's the hold-up?" And he says, "We think the" --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Japanese.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- what you call it -- "the ravine is mined."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Booby-trapped.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I said, "I'll check it." I run across, I waved them through --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- two tanks. I waved them through, put them even with the enemy we were after that had us pinned down, even. And they unloaded with them two tanks, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, blew that top right off of that ridge.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So we took that ridge.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So you walked right up after that --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And that's where we proceeded, all the way through Okinawa.

Richard Daniels:

Was there a name for that --

Thomas Sbertoli:

What was the name of that ridge? Do you remember? Was there a name for that ridge, the second one?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Just the one ridge at Dakeshi, up in front.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So then after the tanks --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

There was a lot of ridges.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Now, didn't you pull a lot of guys out of -- who were wounded or you pulled them back or did you carry them out of there? Did you have occasion to do that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah, I did. That was on Okinawa. That was when Brady got burnt.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Well, let's talk. That's -- it sounds like we're getting to that point.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, that was --

Thomas Sbertoli:

What happened next after the tanks knocked out that ridge? Where did you guys move to then?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We knocked out the --

Thomas Sbertoli:

After the tanks took that ridge -- knocked out the guys on the top of the ridge, you guys took the ridge. Where did you --

Richard Daniels:

No, no. When you were moving along the draw.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We were moving up the southern end of Okinawa --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- up the draw, and then we took the area, and then we moved on to Shuri Line. They had a line from one ocean to the other, solid caves.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was like that. [Indicating.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Irregular line.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Irregular line all the way across the island.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And that was about the 19th -- the 18th or the 19th of June. And so the 77th Army and the -- the 77th and 177 --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Uh-huh.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- Army came up from the south.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And the First Marine Division got hand-to-hand at the southern end -- north end --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- north side. And we pushed and we caved them in.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We had them in like that and we just crushed them. [Indicating.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Like a vice, you closed in on them.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they committed suicide and surrendered that day, the 20th of June --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And did you ever --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- 1945.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Had you ever seen Japanese surrender before then?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And how many -- do you remember how many surrendered or -- was it hundreds or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I don't remember any of them ever surrendering.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So they surrendered this particular time. Then what did you guys do? Did you keep moving or did you --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, we went to north China.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. But you had secured, now, Okinawa --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Okinawa, we secured it.

Richard Daniels:

The Shuri Line was the last --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was the last line --

Richard Daniels:

-- defense of the Japanese on Okinawa.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

They had pushed them to that --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

To that point, to the Shuri Line. It went all the way across. And the 77th and the Seventh Army came up from the south, and the First Division lined up hand-to-hand, and we crushed them --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- right there --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- on the 20th of June, 1945.

Richard Daniels:

And during that time, there was incidents where people were wounded -- Marines were wounded that you saved. You pulled them out of the line of fire.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Several times?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Many times.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Anybody under fire, we drug out.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Richard Daniels:

And you were mentioning Brady.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Brady was a different case. He was hit with a phosphorus.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And was this at the Shuri Line?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, that was at Dakeshi Ridge fortress.

Richard Daniels:

Okay.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He got hit with a phosphorous grenade?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes, before daylight.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I heard him scream. He was in the second squad.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I knew it was him, and I run, and he was screaming, and he was clawing at his face. And it was all over his face and his arm, and the skin just peeled right off.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. That's a phosphorus grenade --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Phosphorous grenade --

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- that's burning at a very high temperature.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Terrible.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did he survive or no?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He did?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's a good story. I threw him over my shoulder, I carried him out, and I run right through the line.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And one of the guys wounded yelled, "Duke, don't come through, it's covered with machine gunfire." I paid no attention. I got him up, I came back a different way, and then I run into -- years later I went to Brady's house.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, no kidding? Where did he live?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

In Rhode Island.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No kidding?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they wanted -- his father -- his father wanted to meet me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So we went to the house, and they had them big, double-door entry --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- in the library room.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they says, "Wait here." So I'm down waiting, and they brought his dad in a wheelchair. His dad got out of the wheelchair, and he walks in front of the wheelchair with his hand out, and he shook my hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he says, "Thank you for saving my son's life."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

John Brady was all white. His face was all red from being wounded --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and he died at 63.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Sounds like his family had some money out there, a big house.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Had a pretty good-sized house --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so -- money, I don't know.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How did you keep in touch with him afterwards? Did you guys --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I kept in touch with him for a while, and then he died.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then that put an end to it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Now, when you got -- Okinawa is secured. Then where did you go?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

From Okinawa -- we secured Okinawa, then we went, in October, to Tientsin, China.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And we took over the British barracks.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And we marched in four abreast, would end up single file at night. And we got in the British barracks.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then I got the duty the first night, Sergeant of the Guard.

Richard Daniels:

Going back, didn't you rescue a reporter or something?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Tell me about that.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh.

Thomas Sbertoli:

This is on Okinawa?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah, on Okinawa.

Richard Daniels:

At Dakeshi Ridge or at Shuri?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, it was after Dakeshi, before Shuri.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was after Dakeshi. But we were up on the front, top of the ridge -- another ridge, which I don't know -- and -- I and Red Bottomly. And we looked back, and here comes a guy in a brand-new camouflage outfit --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- had a camera on him, and he was a reporter.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he says, "Where's the front line?" I says, "Right here."

Thomas Sbertoli:

[Laughter.] You're in it.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he says, "I got to get some pictures." I says, "You stay right here." He says, "I got to get some pictures." He crawled 10 feet away from me, and he got it with a Nambu.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he's laying out there screaming. His legs are going back and forth.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. A Nambu is a machine gun.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Light machine gun --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- Japanese light machine gun. I says, "Lay still," and he wouldn't do it. And I says -- "Red," I says, "Let's go get him." He says, "Okay." So I threw a smoke grenade out, and Red threw one, too, and we hit the first shell hole we come to, just like jumping from here to there. And we dove in, and they cut the top off with -- [indicating]

Thomas Sbertoli:

With the machine gun.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. And we threw two more, we got a hold of him, and got him out, and we had to step up about that much on dirt. [Indicating.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

About six inches.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And just stepped up, and they peeled the dirt off underneath us and caught Red right through the hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He caught a bullet right through the hand?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right through the hand, shattered his hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I took his pistol, and Red took his camera, and we got rid the guy.

Richard Daniels:

You didn't know his name or where he worked?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Didn't know his name.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Was he pretty seriously wounded? Was he hit a few times or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was just wounded that one time in the hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, Red was or the reporter?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, the reporter was shot -- where, I don't know. He was laying on his back --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Bouncing around.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- rubbing his legs back and forth. And we got him out of there --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and then they took him off. Wherever, I don't know.

Thomas Sbertoli:

But he was the one who got shot in the hand or did Red get shot in the hand?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Red got shot in the hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So did he go back, too?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. We turned him out. I got a letter from Red.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No kidding.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I showed it to Captain.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. Where was he from?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

New York.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So Red got the million dollar wound. Did he go home?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Great.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He went back, went to college, and on up. I lost contact.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Now, Rick was talking about -- something about you got hit with -- or maybe you said it. One time some shell must have gone off and blown a bunch of mud into your eyes or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. That was at the Three Sisters.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

There was three ridges and they run --

Thomas Sbertoli:

This is in Okinawa?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

On Okinawa.

Richard Daniels:

After Dakeshi Ridge? After Dakeshi?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

This was after Dakeshi Ridge.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And three ridges we had to take, and they were like this, two in front and one in back.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So my platoon, we moved up there, we got inside there, and they had us surrounded. The Japs had us surrounded. They opened up on us, so we shot like crazy to get out of there --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and we got out of there. And that's where -- one of ours guys cracked up there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. He had combat fatigue --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- and started yelling and screaming?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. He was laying on his side and --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Shaking and --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- crimped up like a baby --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Like a fetal position?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And he had cracked up from too much combat because he was knocking guys' teeth out on --

Thomas Sbertoli:

With his gun?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- on the banzai charges.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He'd crawl out there and knock their teeth out and dig in their mouth for gold teeth.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Great.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was bad. He was a Mohawk Indian -- or a Cherokee Indian.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Cherokee. And so was there a lot of hand-to-hand combat on Okinawa?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

What happened with the mud?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. What happened with the mud?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, with the mud. Three Sisters, they had us surrounded --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- so a company commander yells at me, "Come on back, come on back." So I yelled to the other guys, and we took off of it -- I can't think of his name. Anyway, he was under the rock. He was wounded. And it was like -- he cracked up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I took him under one arm, Bitchell took the other arm, and we run him out.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, this is the Cherokee, wasn't it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. He was a Cherokee Indian.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So you pulled him out, but what about mud? Did you get hit with mud while --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was just going to say that. We got him out, and then, when we got -- before we got him out -- before -- I got to tell that again. They had us surrounded by Three Sisters, and we moved back. And then -- it was a rainy day, and then I seen this black object come through the air. And I had dove, and I hit the deck. And there was a Japanese grenade, and it went off, and a chunk of mud hit me right in the eye.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I spun just that fast, and I fired three shots at him as he's trying to step up two feet broadside. Three shots into him in four seconds.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. What kind of gun did you have then?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

M1.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you had the Grand again. Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was switching back and forth. Whatever I --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did that mud like blind you temporarily?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh. I washed it out in the mud hole --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and it seemed all right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

The black object you saw, that was the grenade.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was the grenade.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And that hit the ground --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It hit the ground, exploded, and hit me in the eye. The mud hit me in the eye.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So the good news is it probably landed in a big pool of mud and blew it right in your face.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Blew it right in my face and shrapnel and everything, you know.

Richard Daniels:

And you could barely see the guy you shot.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I could barely see him. He got up, had to take a two-foot step up to get a shot at me --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but I -- you know, I knew, and I swung, and I was right on him. As he's crawling up, I shot him three times.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Good. So he dies on the spot, you're cleaning the mud out of your eyes.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I washed it out with the mud hole. I could see pretty good, which I still can't, but I went on. I wasn't looking for no --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Another Purple Heart.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- another Purple Heart or nothing. No. I was not a medal man. I knew I wouldn't get one.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

And the effects of that have bothered you your whole life.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My eye.

Richard Daniels:

Your eye, yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My whole eye. Been bad all -- went out on me eight years ago.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you ever get -- does he have any disability?

Richard Daniels:

He does.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I get a hundred percent.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you're a hundred percent disability.

Richard Daniels:

That's recent, though. You didn't get a hundred percent --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

What?

Richard Daniels:

You didn't get a hundred percent for a long time.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no. For a long time. This is two years now.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. How much is that a month?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

2,900.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't need it. It's a lot of money.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, you -- you deserve it. Whether you think you need it or not, you certainly deserve it.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

1,400 I get for Social Security and 29. So I'm living good.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. You got that. But it would have been nice if they had given that to you a long time ago. Okay. Now, after that -- so then Okinawa, and then you went to China.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Tientsin, China.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long were you there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

October to -- I'm going to say March -- May --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- about six months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

So you never came home for VJ Day, none of that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. None of that good stuff they got.

Richard Daniels:

You weren't kissing any girls.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. We came ashore, the only ones to meet us was the birds.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Nobody there.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So is it right after China that you came back to the States or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. I went to China for six months, then I came back to the States to be discharged.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How was China, though? Was that --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, wonderful living.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. So you lived pretty good there, especially after everything you'd been through?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How many -- so how many months do you think you were in -- or how long were you in Okinawa?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

April to October.

Richard Daniels:

Which was the -- which was from Day 1, the whole --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The whole thing, yeah.

Richard Daniels:

-- they secured the island.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. I was there the whole deal.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then China, and then came back -- did you go back to San Diego or where?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I went back to San Diego.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. How did you get back, by ship?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

By ship.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. How was the ship ride back?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Hot. We had to cross the Equator four times, but that was just one of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Did they stop in Hawaii on the way back or no?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Just brought you back to --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Straight back.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then, when you were in San Diego, you were in barracks now. What did they do?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was Sergeant of the Guard, the guard house.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. But you still never got above corporal in rank?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My rank was always corporal.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But I was always Platoon Sergeant --

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- or Sergeant of the Guard. BY

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Sergeant of the Guard. BY

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And how long were you in -- now, did you leave the Marines -- when did you leave the Marines?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

February 1947.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And did you ever think of staying in the Marines as a career?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Did they --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The thought crossed my mind, and then I -- no.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Did they ask you to stay in?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. What did they offer you, sergeant or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They said they'd make me a sergeant.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Back then, when you got out of the --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Wait a minute. Hold on. Hold on.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Go ahead. Go ahead.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They told me they'd make me a gunnery sergeant if I enlisted for three more months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

You could jump up three ranks?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes. They'd make me a gunnery sergeant --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- if I shipped over for three more months in Tientsin, China.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And you wouldn't do it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I knew they wouldn't.

Thomas Sbertoli:

But you didn't do it? You said, "No, I want to go home"?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I said, "No, I'm going home."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So I left them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

As a corporal, when you were getting out of the Marines, what was your pay every month? Do you remember?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I -- $55, I think.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you get combat pay?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That was combat.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. When you came back, you got -- they cut your salary?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Great. So -- and as a gunnery sergeant, do you know what your pay would have gone up to?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't know.

Richard Daniels:

But you didn't think they would -- they said they would, but you didn't believe them?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They said they would make me a gunnery sergeant.

Richard Daniels:

But you didn't believe them?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I didn't believe them. I went home.

Richard Daniels:

You didn't want to sign up because --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Richard Daniels:

-- you didn't know if they were going to do that.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they said, "You sign up for three months, we'll make you a gunnery sergeant."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I said, "No way, I'm going home."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you went home. How long were you in San Diego before they you discharged you?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Not very long. Six to eight months.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And then I came back to Camp Smalls. I was Sergeant of the Guard there --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and Great Lakes here.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you went to San Diego, and then did they send you to Great Lakes?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

To Great Lakes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How long were you at Great Lakes?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Want to say six months, but it could have been more.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And then they -- you --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Mustered out there --

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- mustered out there.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- in February 1947.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And then did you decide to stay here, then?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I lived in Chicago. I moved out to Fox Lake in 1969.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So you went back to Chicago. What did you do after the Marines? Where did you work?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I was a brick layer/tuck pointer.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And how many years did you do that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, heavens. From 1948 to -- 1947 to '67.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's, what --

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's 20 years.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Twenty years.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I did that, and then they offered me a job at the Fox Lake Bank, and I came to work for the bank.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What did you do there?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Maintenance man.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We had everything to do. I didn't just use a mop. I --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. The whole building maintenance.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I had a whole ring like that of keys [indicating] --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I had 400 acres of timber I had to take care of, stuff like that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. How long did you do that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All the while I was with them, 15 years.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then when did this come out about the -- now, did you get married?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I got married in 1948 and divorced in 1952.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you have any children?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Two children.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And they live in the area here?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My son lives here. My daughter lives in Texas.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Do you have grandchildren?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

How many?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Four.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Maybe five. I'm not sure.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And then did -- now, there's a book that's been written regarding your time in the Marine Corps. Who wrote that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My granddaughter -- let's see --

Richard Daniels:

In law.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My grandson's wife --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- wrote the book.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And what's the name of the book?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

[No response.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

I've got it written down here.

Richard Daniels:

It's right here.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

"Stand Like a Man."

Richard Daniels:

Which was -- his grandfather always used to tell him --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, all right.

Richard Daniels:

-- who was really the father figure in his life.

Thomas Sbertoli:

It says, "Stand Like a Man, the Story of Duke the Indian," Donna King-Nyko --

Richard Daniels:

Nykolaycuyk.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Nykolaycuyk.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And that's King, dash, N-y-k-o-l-a-y-c-u-y-k. And it's -- let's see what we've got on back here. Now, they -- there's some movement going on now, too, because you were never awarded anything beyond -- you had unit citations --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's all.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- and you had a Purple Heart, but now there's a movement on to have you receive the Medal of Honor, right?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. When did that start?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

2004.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And who -- who started that movement?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Captain Daniels.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Wow. All right. And who -- Captain Rick Daniels?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And he's a former Marine -- why don't you introduce yourself for the record.

Richard Daniels:

Rick Daniels.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Former Marine.

Richard Daniels:

Former Marine.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What was your rank?

Richard Daniels:

First Lieutenant, and active duty from 1979 to '83, and then picked up Captain of the Reserve.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And how did you meet Duke?

Richard Daniels:

He came to me as a client, was recommended by a township supervisor out here who recommended he come see me because he had a land dispute.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

And when he came in, he saw in my office I had some Marine stuff on the wall. And he said, "Are you a Marine?" And he said, "I was a Marine, too."

Thomas Sbertoli:

What year was that?

Richard Daniels:

2004.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And because of that, then you became close friends and --

Richard Daniels:

Well, I realized, when I talked to him, that he was a national treasure.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Richard Daniels:

I mean, it just -- you know, he started -- when he mentioned Peleliu, I knew that Chesty Puller's unit had been decimated --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Richard Daniels:

-- and he had survived it. So right there -- and then compound that with Okinawa and all the stuff he did in Okinawa --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Richard Daniels:

-- it was just a phenomenon.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And what did you do to try and promote -- or what is going on regarding the Medal of Honor?

Richard Daniels:

Well, the Medal of Honor part, as far as politically moving the Medal of Honor, is totally his grandson --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

-- Doug Nykolaycuyk. His wife wrote the book.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Richard Daniels:

All I did was -- Duke never talked about his Marine Corps experience once he left -- once he got out of the Marines --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. You kind of kept it to yourself.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

[Mr. Abdalla nodded his head up and down.]

Richard Daniels:

From everybody.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And he's shaking his head yes. Go ahead.

Richard Daniels:

And when he started -- when came to me, we started talking, and he opened up about it. And then the next thing is I was a member of the Marine Corps League, which was in Libertyville at the time. And then I brought him out there, and we had a big dinner, and he spoke at the Marine Corps League. And from there it started to -- he started to get an identity in the county.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And there's several politicians working on this right now, I think, to try and secure this. They want President Obama to review the whole situation.

Richard Daniels:

Yes. It's at the President's desk as we speak.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And let me see what else in here.

Richard Daniels:

And I think a large -- to a great extent it was just that the Native Americans didn't get the recognition they deserved.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Richard Daniels:

That was reserved for whites only.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And did you meet a lot of other Indians --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- Native Americans in the Marine Corps?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

Did you ever come across any Code Talkers?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. I had one guy in my platoon, Mohawk Indian.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. What about him --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was in my platoon on Okinawa. He joined me after the -- all the combat. And he's still alive. He's the only one from my company that I know of that's still alive. Barney Roarke [phonetic] is his name.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, did you have a lot of trouble adjusting when you came back here? Did you have nightmares, and did you have post -- what they call posttraumatic syndrome?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I didn't know what that meant. I had it bad for years --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- had no idea I had any problems.

Thomas Sbertoli:

You woke up thinking you were back in combat?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Once in a while, combat --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- but mostly it's something else that's bad, nothing ever good.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Very seldom good. Always bad.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, just let me read here a little bit. Hold on. Are you being treated -- were you treated by the Veterans Administration for --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- posttraumatic stress syndrome?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no, not that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. But they were treating you for your eye or what?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

My eye and the rest of my body.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, you said you've only been getting your disability for how long?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I've been drawing it ever since I got out of the Marine Corps, but --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, all right.

Richard Daniels:

It didn't elevate to a hundred percent until two years ago.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It's gone up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

You know, it went up every couple of years.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

Originally what did you get?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Huh?

Richard Daniels:

How much disability percentage did you get?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

To start?

Richard Daniels:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Twenty percent, and then they started finding more stuff on me --

Thomas Sbertoli:

That they could connect with the combat?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and they -- with the combat and everything, and it came out to a hundred percent. So I live real good on it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

I think there was something else here that talked about what his other unit citations were.

Richard Daniels:

Now, other troops -- like in particular, at Dakeshi Ridge -- those individuals that took part in that, the white ones, one of them received the Silver Star or --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, there was --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Or the Navy Cross. One of them got the Navy Cross, didn't they?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Three of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Three Navy Crosses and two Silver Stars.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And they were with your unit?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes. They were in the second squad that run around the base.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And you were --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I went over the top.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Over the top, right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they didn't mention me or my squad.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Did you know any of those guys personally?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, sure. I knew them all.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you stay in touch with them later on at all?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Later on, yeah. Later on.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A couple of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And did the -- your commanding officer ever even talk to you about the possibility?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The commanding officer disappeared. And then most of the people that I knew from that time was gone, too. So I only knew a couple of guys that was actually in combat with me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. In fact, I think there was one eyewitness, but has he passed away now?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. He passed away four years ago.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And the real problem --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Costella.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And they can't seem to track down anybody else who's alive; is that correct?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. They got the letter from Costella describing Dakeshi Ridge fortress.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He did? He supported everything you said?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

[Mr. Abdalla nodded his head up and down.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

And he's shaking his head yes, for the record. You know what? I'm going to take this article, too. This is a petty good one. It's from --

Richard Daniels:

I didn't see that one.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. In fact, it's in Indian Country News. It's a four-page article. It's very good. It summarizes a lot of your combat experiences, and it talks about some of the unit -- I mean, your -- the unit you were with sounds like it might have been one of the most highly decorated units in World War II.

Richard Daniels:

In all of Marine Corps history.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

What was that?

Richard Daniels:

Your unit.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, my unit? The First Marine Division?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah, but your specific regiment and company and everything got a lot of presidential unit citations. You don't see that a lot.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's right. That's right. Chesty Puller.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. Gallantry -- here. It says -- yeah. Oh. It was Bitchnell -- B-i-t-c-h --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Bitchell.

Thomas Sbertoli:

B-i-t-c-h-e-l-l. He got the Navy Cross --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- two got Silver Stars.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Blue and --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah. Joe Bureau -- B-u-r-e-a-u --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- and Alan Blue.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And Davis -- no, not Davis. Bureau got the Silver Star, Joe Bureau.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, he and Blue.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He and Blue. And three Navy Crosses went out to Davis. He set up the pack charges. And Bitchell and the platoon leader --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- they got the Navy Cross, but the third squad was left out, that was on top.

Richard Daniels:

And that was because they were all killed or wounded?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were killed or wounded.

Richard Daniels:

You were -- the last two you did on your own --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The last two I did on my own.

Richard Daniels:

-- of the six.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Richard Daniels:

The four you did with other guys, and the last two pill boxes you did alone.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. The last two I got myself.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. For the record, we're going to attach an article, too, to this transcript from February of 2011 from the Indian Country News regarding "Corporal Loren Duke Abdalla From World War II Tells a Story." And it's two, three -- it's four -- almost four pages. We'll somehow incorporate that into your record.

Richard Daniels:

Also, he was honored by his tribe in a formal ceremony.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Tell us about that. When did that happen?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Last year, the 4th of July --

Thomas Sbertoli:

And where was that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- 2015 in --

Richard Daniels:

South Dakota.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- in South Dakota. But I'm trying to think of the town. Near Wagner. That's where my grandfather had the --

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's Wagner? Now, when you grew up, you were --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Greenwood, South Dakota.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What was it again?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Greenwood.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, were you on a reservation or were you --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, right on the edge of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So there was a reservation. What was the name of the reservation?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yankton Sioux.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And you guys lived outside of the reservation?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Right. Right on the edge of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And you just went back there to that area, and they had a ceremony, the Indian tribe did. And was there a name of what they did?

Richard Daniels:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What did they call it?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The powwow. They had a Yankton Sioux powwow.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And what did they designate --

Richard Daniels:

The Order of the White Feather.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Order of the Red Feather.

Richard Daniels:

Red Feather. Excuse me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And that was for all the exploits back in World War II?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

For me for World War II, yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And then I think there's quite a few other honorary things. In fact, I'm looking at them on the walls here, too. From the City of Chicago, didn't you get something? And --

Richard Daniels:

From numerous state proclamations.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right, regarding this whole thing, all your exploits, too.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Now, do you still have problems? Have you kind of -- are you able to sleep well now, and have you gotten through all of the more difficult times?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no. My only problem is my age and my -- my --

Richard Daniels:

Cancer.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- sickness.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. Okay. But --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's all I have now.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. But -- and was there ever any reunions or anything that you guys had?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

No, huh? Okay. And -- but you --

Richard Daniels:

But you did go back for Barney --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Wait a minute. Yeah. I did a couple of times. I got a picture of A Company.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh. So A Company did get together, huh?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But they're all gone.

Thomas Sbertoli:

When was the last time you guys got together? Ten years ago?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Forty years ago.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Forty years ago? All right. And --

Richard Daniels:

And then you went to the birthday party of -- who was the birthday party -- the family -- you flew in for the birthday party and surprised him when he came in -- or no, it was his birthday party or anniversary. On the East Coast.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

On the East Coast? Oh, no, no. That was Brady's house.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That was the white phosphorus?

Richard Daniels:

You went to visit him, and he died after that, and you had -- you contacted Ray Davis to have him --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. John Brady.

Richard Daniels:

And he had a big anniversary or he had a birthday, and you went out, surprised him. When he opened the door, you were there.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no. That wasn't it. He died.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah, but before that you went out to his --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

To his wedding the year before.

Richard Daniels:

Not wedding --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Wedding anniversary, 50th anniversary.

Richard Daniels:

Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you surprised him --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We surprised him.

Richard Daniels:

-- contacted him, and he flew out.

Thomas Sbertoli:

This is the same guy that you helped -- you carried off the hill who had been hit with the phosphorus?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, no.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, all right. So he died.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

This is a different guy, Aubertin.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, Aubertin.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was Platoon Sergeant before I was --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- of the First Platoon --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and he died a year after his wedding anniversary.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

But you had served in combat with him?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. We were in combat on Peleliu.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And what was I going to --

Richard Daniels:

After he died --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

After he died, yeah.

Richard Daniels:

-- you had -- the family had contacted you. They couldn't get any Marine --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I know now.

Richard Daniels:

Okay.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Honor Guard or what? [Phone interruption.] Let me turn this off.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Aubertin died and his family was going to have the American Legion bury their son --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- who was a Marine.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they were going to have sailors, Army and Navy, bury him. So his son called me. And this is 20 years ago.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He told me the story about his dad dying, and he wanted to bury him as a Marine. I said, "Don't" -- I said, "I'll see what I can do about it." I hung up the phone. I called Ray Davis --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- four-star general --

Richard Daniels:

And a Medal of Honor winner.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- in Virginia. I called him from my phone, told him the story. And he says, "Duke, don't worry about it, we'll take care of it." I went to his funeral. They had a detachment from Arlington sent there --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and they give him the last rites like a first Marine.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did they -- was it --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It was just wonderful.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Was it 8th and I or Arlington?

Richard Daniels:

8th and I.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So they sent the -- THE COURT REPORTER: I'm sorry. Was it what?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. It's 8th -- it's two streets in Washington, D.C., 8th Street and I Street. They call it 8th and I. It's where the commandant's house is. And they have this silent drill team, and they put on a great show. But they sent, it sounded like, a unit or maybe a squad of these guys out there to -- as an Honor Guard.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Well, that was something. Where was this at?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Pennsylvania.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But I just called the General, told him our problem. He says, "I'll take care of it." And I told the congressman -- later on I said, "No congressman can do that." And he said, "Oh, no. They can't do that."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Richard Daniels:

But you have a video of you going to his anniversary.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. I got the anniversary picture right here, the wedding.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And he was shocked when he saw him --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

When they seen me, they both cried.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, I bet. Now, this isn't the same guy that got shot in the hand, is it?

Richard Daniels:

No, that was in Okinawa.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

What's that?

Richard Daniels:

The guy who got shot in the hand.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, that was Bountiful.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Bountiful.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Bonniville [phonetic].

Thomas Sbertoli:

Did you ever see him after that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, never did. I got a letter from him. You read it.

Richard Daniels:

Uh-huh.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He was shot through the hand.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah, right. And then they sent him right back.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. He went back to the States. Me, I went the other way. Don't send that Indian home.

Thomas Sbertoli:

[Laughter.] All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's true, too. They needed me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So overall how was your experience as a Marine? How do you consider that affected your life?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Made a man out of me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, I think it sounds like you may have been a man already before you went there.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I've been a man all my life, yes. My grandpa seen to that.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And when you came back, how did people treat you after the war?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't understand what you mean.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, you know --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I never talked about it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. That's what I'm saying. So when you came home, you immediately melded right into the civilian population?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's about it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And did your wife -- how long after you came back did you get married?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I got married in '48. I got out of the Marines in '47.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Married for four years. In '52 I got a divorce, never remarried.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. And did she know about everything you had been through or no?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

She knew some of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Not everything.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And did your children -- when did they find out about everything?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They knew a little more maybe than the others, but not a whole lot was said.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It all came out after Captain Daniels met me.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. Rick, did -- so when you first met him, the children really didn't know that much about all this?

Richard Daniels:

They knew he was a Pacific --

Thomas Sbertoli:

In the Pacific.

Richard Daniels:

-- in the Pacific --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Fighting.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah. But they didn't know --

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- the depth of it.

Richard Daniels:

-- the depth of it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah, no idea.

Thomas Sbertoli:

So they were kind of surprised, to say the least?

Richard Daniels:

I think Doug really -- when Doug found out the whole story, he ran with it.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. He really took off with it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. That's good. Do you feel better now that it's all out?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Good.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, now I can talk.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Before I didn't care to talk. And then, after I met him, I -- a little more and more, I talked.

Thomas Sbertoli:

He's pointing to Rick.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I just run mouth now.

Richard Daniels:

Well, and the other thing, too, is he -- as an effect of this, he can't go to any funerals. He can't be in the funeral anywhere. There's a potential --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, no.

Richard Daniels:

He can smell out the --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I can walk by --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I can walk by a funeral parlor --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Do you still have the taste?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I think I can just still pick it up --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- the smell of death.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. A lot of people still have the taste on their tongue.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A lot of them. On their tongue?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. They can taste.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. A lot of them. It's a sweet smell that you --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

You just -- you just cringe under it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Do you have problems with fireworks or anything like that?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, not really.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Good. Sounds like --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't have any problems that --

Thomas Sbertoli:

It sounds like, when you were in combat, you were a pretty cool customer.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I was. I'm bad.

Thomas Sbertoli:

[Laughter.] Good for you.

Richard Daniels:

And one of the things he said is he wasn't scared during the combat, which was unusual.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No.

Richard Daniels:

It's maybe after or, you know -- but not in the heat of battle. Do you know what I mean?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Never give it a thought.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

That's when people get shot --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- when they think about it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

When they start to think about it. I've heard that many times. When you were in combat, did you -- did you ever resign yourself to the fact that it was so bad you said, you know, I'm probably not going make it out of here any ways, so let's just get on with it? Or did you just do what you had to do?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No. We had a job to do. We did it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Good. And that was -- and you think -- do you think that's why the Marines were different from other --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, definitely.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Definitely. Marine pride.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And the training -- you thought the training was pretty good?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, the training is top-notch. It's up to the man himself.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And a Marine against another Marine, they both stand up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. What -- in fact, did you guys have much interaction with the Army when you were on Okinawa? Did you guys -- or you were just passing each other? Uh-oh. What did I hit here?

Richard Daniels:

Oh, you missed a good story.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, fill me in. Maybe we'll go off the record --

Richard Daniels:

In Guadalcanal -- no, this is a good one.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

You want that story?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Sure.

Richard Daniels:

The one when you went back to Guadalcanal.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. That's the best one.

Thomas Sbertoli:

What?

Richard Daniels:

But this was before Okinawa.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Before Okinawa. We were on our way to Okinawa.

Richard Daniels:

Yeah. So they stopped at Guadalcanal --

Thomas Sbertoli:

And what happened there?

Richard Daniels:

-- for one night -- one day -- two days, one night.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

One day.

Richard Daniels:

One day.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We stopped at Guadalcanal to pick up the MCIs that opened -- the ships that opened in the front --

Thomas Sbertoli:

The clam shells.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- the LCIs or whatever they're called --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Yeah.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- the transports. There's a dozen of them.

Thomas Sbertoli:

That's a landing craft where the front of the -- the whole front of --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Opens up.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- like a clam shell, and they can just drive stuff off and --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Tanks and everything.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Everything, right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they had a dozen lined up, and they weren't loaded yet.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So we pulled into the harbor, and they see we're not loaded. We'll give them a day off, liberty. So they let us off for one day. And our Jeep driver come whizzing over by me. And he says, "Hey, Duke." He says, "There's an Army depot about four, five miles down the road." I says, "Great." I says, "Let's take a ride." And we went over there and -- but we were going to look for a blued -- a knife.

Thomas Sbertoli:

A bowie knife?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

A blued --

Richard Daniels:

KA-BAR.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

KA-BAR. A blued KA-BAR.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right. And that is -- they call it a combat- knife, but, for whatever reason, they call it a KA.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

KA-BAR. Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But we went over there, and we asked him if they had them, and they said no. And here they are, all dressed up in their uniform, with leggings on, pistol belt on, water bottle on the hip. We walked out --

Richard Daniels:

Perfect uniform.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Perfect uniform.

Richard Daniels:

And it was a beautiful set-up, the tents --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

The tents -- everything was the same.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And we looked back, and we're seeing eight pennants flying in a row. I said, "Let's go back and see what that is." We drove around, and here was the most beautiful garden you ever seen in your life. It was prettier than the "Wizard of Oz."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Just beautiful. So we drove back around, and we parked in the same place. Here comes the First Sergeant, walking on a three-foot deck. They had eight tents, all laid out, everything. He came walking out, and he says, "What can I do for you?" And we're in our dungarees, shoes curled up like that -- [indicating]

Thomas Sbertoli:

The toes are curled up.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

The dungarees are basically almost like a combat uniform --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. Shoes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

You probably had the old herringbone --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yep. Right.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- dungarees. Okay. All right. I know. I can picture it now.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And -- where was I?

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. So you're in the garden.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, yeah. We drove around -- back around, and he came out on deck. And he says, "What can I do for you?" And we're -- "Sergeant, we noticed your garden, and it's so pretty. We'd like to buy some of those vegetables." He says, "I have none for sale." And I say, "Sarge, we took this island, the First Marine Division." He says, "We got it now. Now, I got things to do. I got no time for beggars." He turned around, and he walked away from me. That man just slit his throat. I took Forbes, jumped up back in the Jeep, drove down the road, and I said, "Forbes, go back and bring me back a five-quarter truck with those low hand bars."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

He brought back two.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Two trucks?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah, and extra Jeeps. They want to get in on it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I told the boys -- I said, "We're going in." I said, "I want that garden destroyed -- I mean destroyed -- and all the buildings destroyed. I want this place destroyed."

Thomas Sbertoli:

Levelled.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And they did it. And they come whipping in there like cotton pickers with the bags. They had their ponchos, and they were taking whole plants, tomatoes, throwing them right in the bag.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Throwing them in the bags.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yep.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. So they took all the vegetables --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And stomped on the mounds and everything. We ruined that garden and knocked everything down. And the machine gun opened up, opened up over the top of them --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- and we had the machine gun on the one truck.

Thomas Sbertoli:

You know what. Hold up. [Discussion off the record.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Keep going. Back on the record. All right. So then what happened? The machine -- who opened up with the machine gun?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Oh, I had a guy on a truck.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I set him up with six cans of tracers --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Machine gun.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

And I says, "Now, when we get there, you open up, stay over the top of the Marines." And he did. He opened up with a machine gun, and the rest of the guys drove in there. And they ripped plants out of the ground, just -- we pulled away from there, every Jeep was loaded with vegetables and everything was torn -- the tents were down, everything was destroyed. We went back, celebrated all night long, eating raw corn, good corn. The next morning we pulled away for Okinawa.

Thomas Sbertoli:

[Laughter.] All right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But in those days -- that was a general court martial, what I did.

Thomas Sbertoli:

I was just going to say.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

But in those days, nothing stopped a campaign --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- a landing.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Nothing stood in the way. I don't care if a guy fell overboard --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- nothing would stand in the way of a landing.

Richard Daniels:

Well, they were probably still hiding in a hole somewhere by the time you left, all night long.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well -- and was this area that had been built up, was that the senior enlisted Army guys that did it or was it some general?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

No, the Army did it. The Army -- they had their number -- what battalion --

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. What unit they were --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

-- what battalion --

Thomas Sbertoli:

Right.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

They were dressed up. He had leggings on, the polished boots.

Thomas Sbertoli:

But before they could do anything, you guys were on a ship --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

We were out of there the next day.

Thomas Sbertoli:

-- with all the vegetables.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah. Destroyed the whole garden.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. All right. Any more funny stories?

Richard Daniels:

I think that's it.

Thomas Sbertoli:

All right. Now -- so you came back, had a family, went to work, and then, the next thing you know, your son -- Rick meets you and starts to spread the word here about all your exploits. And a lot of things have happened since then.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yes.

Thomas Sbertoli:

And then every year -- I see you used to show up at the Marine breakfast out here in Fox Lake --

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Yeah.

Thomas Sbertoli:

I'm a former Marine.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

So you go to the breakfast, too?

Thomas Sbertoli:

Oh, sure.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

All right. You'll be there -- that will be my last one. [Discussion held off the record.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Well, you know what? We're going to sign off right now. Now, my question is, can we take a copy of your book and include it in the package that we send to the Library of Congress?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

[Indicating.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Is that yes?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

Take that one.

Thomas Sbertoli:

Okay. And so --

Richard Daniels:

Is that signed?

Loren Duke Abdalla:

I don't know. [Discussion off the record.]

Thomas Sbertoli:

Duke, it's been a pleasure.

Loren Duke Abdalla:

It's been a pleasure here.

 
Home » Text Transcript
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
  Legal | External Link Disclaimer Need Help?   
Contact Us