Sunday, February 1, 2009
Leveritt Massey - WWII
The picture is of the 99th Platoon of the United States Marine Corp Reserves in San Diego, California. Leveritt Massey is third from left in the second row from the bottom. The story below was transcribed from a note written by Leveritt.
School closed during the end of May 1941. I don’t remember any details concerning jobs, but did put an application in at the Magnolia Refinery where dad worked. Form me the school door had closed. Short courses – training sessions were it from this time on. Graduated from South Park High in Beaumont in May 1940. Lamar College was a part of the High School. Some buildings were shared, some teachers, the college was underwritten by the South Park School District which at that time had a little money.
The refinery, the oil fields, and the tank forms south of town were in our school district. The refinery paid a compromise tax. I think my tuition at Lamar college (year 1940-1941) was about $35.00 plus books, but when it cam time to sign up for 41-42 there was no money for college. Ray Hilton, the son of a painting contractor (oil field tanks), was in the same boat no money to resume school. I had thought about joining the navy, but Ray wanted to join the Marines, so with no hassles we joined the Marines. July 29, 1941 we entrained in Beaumont for Houston. In Houston we passed all the exams and put on the train for San Diego.
As I look back the entire passenger car must have been filled with recruits from Mississippi westward. It took two days for our car to reach San Diego. We were picked up and bussed to the Recruit Depot by those nice Sergeants, the likes of whom no one wanted to meet the second time. “FALL OUT” is the first command learned. We were billeted in a nice brick barracks till we were issued G.I. clothes, had a medical, and was given the standard haircut. Just about the time settled in Sgt. Klatt instructed us to put everything in the seabag were moving to the tent city. the balances of the seven weeks of boot camp was in tent city.
Times were tough lots of fellows were joining up many were coming to the Marines to skip the draft into the Army. At this time the draft only meant on year of service (I never signed up until I was discharged. Too young at the beginning and too many service points when I got out.
Sgt. Klatt was our DI [Drill Instructor] and platoon command (he had a Corp for an assistant, too dumb to make the grade). Klatt was sore at the world. He was recalled from 12 years in China where he lived like a king. He had an entire Chinese family hired to care for his home. They pulled him back to train recruits which really made him happy. Klatt was hard. He made good Marines out of boys. Hard but not overbearing. Some of the fellows complained one in their tend didn’t bathe. Sgt. told them each have a wash bucket, a scrub brush, laundry soap, there’s water at the end of the tent row and lots of sand out back... and I intended to be out of the area when we came in this afternoon till late tonight. Some orders are never voiced. That night the sun went down on a Red man. Duly scrubbed. Never again did anyone in the platoon miss a shower.
The hardest day in boot camp was a four hour march with full pack on the soft sand outback. (Bottom dredging from the Naval anchorage in the bay.)