Interview with Max Green – December 2006 Pearl Harbor Seminar at the Virginia War Memorial.


Mr. Green, did you enlist into the Army or did you volunteer? 


Involuntary.  I got a notice from the President – report, so and so.  That was July 10, 1941.  Are you from Richmond, close by?  Do you know where the Sixth Street Market Place is now?  Sixth and Marshall, that used to be the Blues Armory, right there.  And that is where we were inducted there.  Quite a group of us and after it was all over and it was time to eat, everybody was getting hungry, and they took us over on Broad Street to Marconi’s Restaurant.  Big restaurant.  When we got back, a city bus was waiting to take us to Broad Street Station.  We went to Fort Meade for classification and then back to Fort Belvoir, right up here in Alexandria.  That’s where I was for thirteen tough weeks, July 10th all the way through summer, until October 5th.  It was a big place, I’ll tell you.  We used to go on a twenty mile hike, get up at 1:00, nothing to eat.  When the sun came up, that is when you left.  Fort Belvoir, the place was so big, you walked from one until six and you are just right back where you started.  Twenty miles, no breakfast or anything. Then during that time, no TV, had radio.  President Roosevelt said that me and my wife Eleanor, we hate war.  I’ll never send the boys overseas, he meant, not until October 5th, 1941.  It was strange that on this particular weekend there was a notice on the bulletin board, everybody was off for the weekend, Friday night, Saturday, be back Sunday, you know, seven or eight o’clock, whatever.  When we got back there were five trains down in the railroad yard down at Fort Belvoir, and five days later – San Francisco.  Five o’clock in the morning, that’s when trains used to run on time.  All five come right into the dock in San Francisco.  That morning, October 5th and we got over to Honolulu October 17th, Seven miles up a hill to Schofield Barracks, a beautiful place, looked like a summer resort I tell you.  It had block after block of cottages, one story.  See, that was a regular army post then, if you were serving three years or what, you could take your family and live there in those houses free.  Man, hey, vacation, you know.  Of course, you were off one half a day Saturday and Sunday.  We were a little different, the fellows over there, they couldn’t figure it out. We were separate from them.  We were up toward the mountains Kola Kola Pass.  Our barracks was completed but the utility lines were still open, the ditches and they were open that Sunday morning so we had a place to jump in.  I was up at breakfast, getting ready to go to Church which I had to walk a mile, that is a big place up there. I had to walk a mile to Church, but I didn’t get there that one Sunday and quite a few Sunday’s there after.  And later, I don’t know, either we were pretty good or they tried to get rid of us, we were pretty friendly, but you know, a seperate unit.  We were different.  I’m not going into details on certain things, but the regulars couldn’t figure out how we did it.  We were separate, we had our motor pool, and we had everything.


A seperate unit.  There was a pad of dispatches in the office at the motor pool we would write a dispatch, get a pick up, or carry all and we would go down to the beach, Saturday afternoon, Sunday and they’d wonder how we would do it, and they couldn’t do it because we were an individual outfit.  Nobody bothered us and we didn’t bother anybody.  That trip to the beach, it was sort of isolated and we had something there that we didn’t want everybody to see in an army vehicle you know, so you know what that was, go to the kitchen, get a clean trash can, ice, then to the PX, but they would say, well how do you all do it?  We’d do it, you know, separate unit, nobody to bother us.  There were only two units above us.  There was a pack train, mule, you know, pack train over there for mountain purposes, they had paths around the side of the mountain so much mule tracks, they had a path around it get up above us and Kola Kola Pass was beyond us which the mountains come around like that and that is where the planes came through at Wheeler Field, because Wheeler Field was adjacent to Schofield.  It’s a big stone monument up there, I been back 15 times since.  The last time was this spring, but no more, it is all commercial. Can’t see the mountains.  Hotels fifty and seventy-five stories high, but anyway, that is where they came down through that pass to Wheeler, which is adjoining to Schofield.  This I could never figure out, what jurisdiction did Nimitz have over the Army?  Wheeler field is adjacent to Schofield.  They had 170 fighter planes in earthen bunkers, about eight feet, you know, u-shaped, you have probably seen the pictures, they were eight feet tall, ten feet wide, dirt, u-shaped, and those planes were all backed in there.  And the commander of Schofield got the word to take them out and line them up in front of the hanger.  So, they were lined up and they got the word that the reason that was done was because, like I said, a lot of those regulars had their families there which was considered civilians and they said that civilians would be curious as to what was going on, by them being backed in the bunkers, 170, they were lined up like that and when those planes came through the pass over Wheeler, three of those planes were able to take off and the rest of them were destroyed, and they got shot down and every one of them got destroyed, right in that line, and all they had to do was, like that and 360 came over in two hours and


7:55, 8:55, two hours and it was all over and they were gone.  And you know I’ve got it all here for these school students from beginning to end--I have a--y’all will see them before you go after we finish here whenever it stops.  So do you remember Clash he was my ace he used to be boss at Wheeler Field and he got upset about something. He was General Chinner—I think he had one and he quit, went to China and joined the Flying Tigers and he became an ace in the Flying tigers he fought--he fought an outfit in the air corps, in China, he was flying with the Chinese, Flying Tigers. But I can’t never figure what jurisdiction the navy had over the army getting those planes out of there and lining them up and that was the end of it.  In two hours it was all over, 360 planes, they almost set the sun, they were swarming like bees, 360 over well let me see, [kaniore, holly eva,] and the Marine third hour wind, Wheeler and Hickam*--, it was about 5 of our air bases got ‘em all at one time. So we…


So you didn’t have much time to do what you….while you were

Well October we went out first time in ’42 we were either pretty good or they wanted to get rid of us.  Now, we didn’t cause any trouble, but we didn’t take any, you know, just a bunch of good fellows.  So we went from there, first it was Nanimere, Noonikpatai, Albamormak, Quadaliemai [lots of places here].  Then we came back and like I said, second sundown for us.  244 people got killed. Somebody was doing a smart thing; they were welling on the ammunition ship, and you know what happened? That thing exploded.  And we just come back from Maui on a dry run, practice for Saipai.  We were on the outside, we hadn’t got the B in when that happened which we were lucky, but everything got squared away two days later.  And like I said, you never knew where you were going until the day before when you see all those Chaplins out there.  Then, long lines of food everywhere, but you don’t want anything to eat.  Go over the side, the landing crafts circling one after the other, circle round, pull up the side of the boat, you go down the net, cargo net, into the landing craft, and you get back in a circle after the last one is filled.  And then whoever is leading, he’ll wave the flag and you’re gone to the beach.  Now let me tell you, that’s a scary thing but this was one of the worst things I have ever heard of.  Now Hiroshima was tough, you’ve seen it on TV, we offered to help them but they said they didn’t need it.  But you know it took them 3 days to get off of the beach.  You’ve been to Virginia Beach?  The water, the sand and the beach? It took them three days to get off because it was a volcanic island and the way it erupted and there was ash all over the beach in the water and when they got all of the equipment just sunk down and it was up to your knees and it just slayed them, just like that…as they come in they slayed them because the Japanese were in tunnels all around…one end of the island to the other.  That’s the way they used to fight.  They had all of that in the islands in the Pacific.  They had been there a while but all in all this was the worst thing that I have ever seen or heard of, period. And you can imagine when I tell it it’s the truth the same thing happened on Tenion but that was a marine landing over there and the army we were 34th in the combat battalion attached to the 27th infantry division of New York. So in Saipan I forget how many days it took us to go.  When we got to the Northern end the Japanese had brain washed the natives and told them what we would do to them when we got up there we were only about two days away slow going caves and but you know what was happening?  That’s the worst thing that anybody could ever witness. This hill this rocky cliff I got pictures at home of it was about 800 feet tall.  The natives were lined up, children 5 years old that could walk they were in front of their parents jumping over the cliff because they had told them what we would do to them then the smaller children the mothers would have them in their arms they would jump over and there was a pile of ‘em down there to no end, 800 feet below on the beach well they had listened to what they told them and they did that. You have never witnessed anything like that.  That’s the first time and only time that you see a pile of people piled up like that.  Now normally you see that, you know, the soldiers like you see on TV so many killed.  Now this is tough. Every-- they would bury all the [dead?] from the beach on up to the hill slope every day all day like that.  At sundown you’d hear the bugler over the hill blowing Taps and let me tell you, that would get you because you know what would happen, they buried those boys all day and that was the end of the day, blowing taps over the hill, you could hear, you’d be on that side, you could just hear it faintly as he finished the bugling go down...never…you could make it through the day but when the sundown come that was it when they blow Taps for the ones that was killed and buried that day.  It’s the worst thing anybody could ever hear, that those pile people and (it was tough/were stuck), but when he finished up that was it.