Second World War: Blood Work on Tinian

Lab technician during the Second World War remembers doing blood work on Tinian, next to Saipan, in the Pacific Theater.

| Good Old Days

During the Second World War, you could buy a pack of cigarettes for 5 cents. I understand they are about $2 a pack now. Since I am a retired farmer, I wonder why the price of corn and beans didn't go up like that. 

I felt fortunate being able to serve in the Army as a lab technician. It was a chance to learn and be able to help save lives, rather than destroy lives. I always felt confident about doing my lab work until Gen. Curtis LeMay walked into the lab one day for some blood work. I think I felt a little shaky drawing blood from a general.

Having Christmas dinner for two years on the Pacific Ocean is not one of my fondest recollections, but I should not complain, for there were many who did not have that good a location.

My longest days of the War were after it was over. After the fighting was over, August 14, 1945, many of my friends started going home. There wasn't much work to do, it was just a matter of waiting five months for enough ships to return us home.

The 374th General Hospital was set up on the island of Tinian to receive the dead, wounded and the ill from the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns, and eventually from anticipated battles in Japan.

The island of Tinian, next door to Saipan in the Western Pacific, is only about eight miles long, and three to four miles wide. The terrain at one end of the island was flat enough to construct four runways, almost from shore to shore, as a B-29 base. The hospital was built on a cliff overlooking the B-29 base. Many evenings we would watch the planes loaded with bombs take off for Japan on their bombing missions. Many times on our days off we would go down to the field to look at those huge B-29s, with bombs and purple hearts painted on the side to indicate the number of missions and the number of hits they took from the enemy.

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