During WWII, young men from cities and towns across the nation, answered the call to serve. So too, did young men from isolated areas of the country—boys who had never been away from the farms where they were raised—but were still compelled to go to the battlefields of countries they had only read about in textbooks. For many, that rural lifestyle held advantages in wartime. For example, those who grew up hunting with their fathers found the experience of targeting game with hunting rifles and shotguns useful in the army.
In this episode, Thurman Clark of Laurel remembers training for combat and winning a prize for his marksmanship.
American soldiers deployed to the battlefields of Europe, crossed the Atlantic Ocean by the thousands on troops ships. Clark recalls the misery of being seasick for his entire seventeen-day voyage. As a member of the 66th Infantry Division, Clark was assigned to harass German installations in the occupied city of Lorient, France. He describes dodging artillery fire and the stress of keeping watch for enemy attacks at night.
For many Mississippi farm boys, WWII was their first time traveling far from home. Clark reflects on the culture shock of his time in France and the myriad of memories he brought back.
PHOTO: wikimedia commons