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Listen to profiles of World War II veterans Burl Grose and Ed Barber. Both men fought in the Pacific theatre.
At the age of 24, Ed Barber was drafted. He would eventually become a Private First Class in the 27th Division, 102nd Combat Engineers, Company B. After being drafted, he left Springfield for California. He had some brief training there and then headed to Oahu, Hawaii the day after Thanksgiving, 1942. The first thing he recalls about his experience in Hawaii has to do with getting something to eat.
In Hawaii, Ed Barber found himself in a new camp.
Barber became a part of company B. His company moved to a new location very close to the heart of Honolulu.
During his stay in Hawaii, Ed Barber and his fellow soldiers received a unique assignment: create a hiding place for the state's governor.
Ed Barber says he enjoyed his time in Hawaii, as much as he could.
Barber was in Hawaii for more than a year. Then, he shipped out to the Marshall Islands.
At the Marshall Islands where the marines were fighting, Ed Barber's division was in reserve...eventually, Barber and his buddies moved to another atoll, called Enewetak. He left the ship and was part of the second wave during a battle that lasted three or four days.
Even though there weren't very many Japanese soldiers at Enewetak, Barber says some U.S. soldiers were paranoid.
The battle at Enewetak ended and Barber and his buddies were kind of enjoying the tropical environs...
It wasn't just good food that was in short supply...Ed Barber says he had no access to clean clothes.
From Saipan, Ed Barber moved to New Hebrides. He says he was able to find some potent drinks there.
From the islands of New Hebrides, Barber headed to Okinawa in 1945. That's where he was when he heard that President Franklin Roosevelt had died.
On Okinawa, Barber and his fellow soldiers stayed in pup tents, which meant they dug holes in the ground, put up their tents and slept underneath. Barber sustained his only injury during service at Okinawa.
While Barber was laid up with his injury, he got some exciting news.
Barber came back to the U.S., returned to work at the bakery where he worked before the war, got married and started a family. He still lives in Springfield.