CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES

World War II

David I. Richmond

World War II Oral History Interview
US Army, 27th Infantry Division
Date: June 23, 2003
Interviewer: Michelle Carrara
Summarizer: Irving Bauman
Veterans History Project

Summary

David Richmond was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in November 1922.  At the outset of World War II, he was a student, also serving to direct hallway traffic as a NYA (National Youth Administration) employee, as well as selling papers after school. At the age of nineteen, Richmond tried to enlist in the naval air service, but was turned down. He then tried to join the Marines, yet again was rejected.  Finally, in 1942, Richmond was accepted by the army, although his mother disapproved of that choice.

Richmond received his basic training at Camp Blanding, an army Replacement Training Center near Jacksonville, Florida, and then he moved on to Advanced Infantry Training.  On completion, he was assigned to an army Hospital in Augusta, Georgia as a medical technician, and subsequently left there for his port of embarkation in Merryville. California, where he boarded a troop transport for overseas duty. It was a slow trip, and Richmond noted that he “read many books on deck.” He eventually arrived at New Caledonia, where he was assigned to the 27th Infantry Division as a rifleman. Richmond remarked that he preferred that his service was in the Pacific Theater of Operations over the European Theater.

Richmond went on to serve in Eniwetok, Saipan and Okinawa as a member of his regiment’s cannon company, a mixed arms unit of infantrymen with light artillery and rocket launchers. He spoke of engaging in maneuvers involving in towed targets in Saipan, as well as seeing Japanese soldiers jumping off cliffs on Okinawa, thus choosing suicide over capture. On the upside, Richmond spoke of receiving excellent food during his service, including frequent servings of steak. He felt that his unit was blessed with the army’s best chef as a cook. Marines serving alongside his company would often come by, asking for some of that “great army food.”

27th Infantry Division on Saipan.

Fortunately, Richmond was never wounded, although he did recall an officer in his unit standing on a ridge while giving orders to his men. The officer was shot and killed by Japanese fire. Richmond was, however, sent to a hospital for a week with “jungle rot.” His company was assigned to work with a Marine unit. He recalled that although he found his M-1 Garand rifle to be a “great weapon,” the Marines did most of the fighting. His unit was scheduled to depart for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped, ending the conflict.

Richmond served on occupation duty in Japan for a brief period before boarding a troop ship bound for the US.  Although the food was good, he did become seasick. The ship docked in Seattle, Washington, from where Richmond traveled by aircraft to Albuquerque New Mexico and Chicago before landing at Newark Airport. From there he took a train to Fort Devens, where he was discharged on February 6, 1946. Richmond was unemployed after his service and received checks through the GI Bill 52–20 clause for unemployed war veterans, who would receive $20 once a week for 52 weeks while they were looking for work. He gained employment as a drill press operator in a machine shop.

Richmond never joined any veterans’ organizations, nor did he speak of his wartime experiences with his family. He displayed some photos of his fellow soldiers, his Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and his dog tags for the interviewer.  Richmond also received the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Campaign Medal, and the Victory Medal.

David Richmond passed away in Brick Township, New Jersey, on May 18, 2008 and was buried in Kenilworth, New Jersey.  

Researchers

Researchers interested in viewing our collections should contact Mr. Joseph Bilby, Assistant Curator, at (732) 974-5966.