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Interview with Duard Baxter, March 6, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:28 - Upbringing / Entering WWII

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Partial Transcript: Where were you born and when?

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes his childhood in Madison County, Georgia. Baxter recalls his time in high school and shares that he volunteered for WWII after the death of his older brother on the battlefront. He then talks about his experience as a Marine in the Pacific Theater.

Keywords: Marine Corp.; Okinawa; Pacific Theater; Paris Island; World war II

00:05:06 - Daily life in Marines

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Partial Transcript: We boarded a ship...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes boarding a ship off the coast of Parris Island during WWII where he, along with the other Marines in his division, were sent to Okinawa (the pacific theater of WWII). He shares that he was a part of the 6th Marine Division, where he served until the end of the war. Baxter talks about the daily life in the barracks and his experience in basic training.

Keywords: 6th Marine Division; M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle; Marines; Okinawa; Parris Island; machine guns

00:09:54 - War in Okinawa

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Partial Transcript: What can you remember the most from...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter talks about his deployment to Okinawa during WWII. He recalls the guerilla warfare and other tactics employed by the Japanese in Okinawa. Baxter describes an incident regarding Japanese women and girls after Japanese soldiers occupied schools and villages.

Keywords: Okinawa, Japan; WWII; suicide

00:14:36 - War in Okinawa (cont.)

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Partial Transcript: They say you got eighteen of them...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes some of the keepsakes he took from dead Japanese soldiers as memorandums from WWII. He shares that many Marines took items from the dead soldiers as reminders of their time overseas. Baxter recalls an instance in a foxhole with seven other marines where an explosion caused their foxhole to cave in.

Keywords: M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle; foxhole; samurai sword; souvenirs

00:19:46 - Wartime experiences

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Partial Transcript: Tell them about you seeing your friend...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter talks about the death of a fellow Marine while in Okinawa, and shares that some infantryman had saved his life. He then shares how he refused a medal of honor as well as the opportunity for permanent, post-war employment.

Keywords: M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle; Marine Corp.; death

00:25:07 - Invading Naha, Okinawa

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Partial Transcript: So building up on that...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes the speedy transition from basic training to combat and the invasion of Naha City in Okinawa. He talks about an ambush that occurred at the walls of Naha after he and his fellow Marines fell asleep, in which someone in his unit died.

Keywords: Naha, Okinawa; Okinawa; WWII

00:30:56 - Getting injured on the battlefield

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Partial Transcript: I said, how long I been here...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes his confusion after being injured after the invasion of Naha, Okinawa. He shares the sense commitment he had to his company. Baxter recalls the sense of pity he had for captured citizens in Okinawa.

Keywords: Japanese citizens; Naha Okinawa; WWII; injury

00:35:28 - The dropping of the atomic bombs

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Partial Transcript: You went back to Guam....

Segment Synopsis: Baxter talks about the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which occurred while he was on rest in Guam. He explains the history behind the captured people of Okinawa and his division's entry into Japan as one of the first troops to enter Japan. Baxter shares his recollections of Pearl Harbor and his feeling that the atomic bomb was appropriate for stopping WWII.

Keywords: 4th Marine Division; Guam; Okinawa, Japan; Pearl Harbor; atomic bomb

00:39:26 - Going home

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Partial Transcript: Now, we'll move on to when...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter talks about his visit home during the war after the death of his brother just ten days into his deployment. Baxter shares memories of his brother and he talks about coming back from war. He recalls enrolling at the University of Georgia afterwards, though he only attended for one year.

Keywords: Forestry; University of Georgia; WWII; education

00:44:14 - Transition to civilian life

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Partial Transcript: When you finished Forestry School...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter talks about leaving Georgia to go to Washington D.C after dropping out of college. He then explains that the war did not effect his family dynamics upon returning and recalls that there were no parades upon his return. Baxter shares his opinion that his faith, attention to detail, and devotion to the soldiers in his division is what kept him safe.

Keywords: USDS (US Department of Agriculture); University of Georgia; forestry

00:49:02 - Reflections of the war

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Partial Transcript: How do you feel, having done your duty...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes the hate he had for the enemy while in battle in WWII and recalls his reluctance to share his hopes for the future while in Japan, as he wasn't sure if he would survive through the end of the war. He shares that he didn't maintain contact with his fellow soldiers after the war ended.

Keywords: 4th Marine Division; M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle; Sullivan Boys; death; war

00:55:27 - Current circumstances / Reflections on international relations

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Partial Transcript: So even after the war, your...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter describes how the end of WWII bought an end to many of the relationships he had while on the battlefield. He stresses that he just wanted an education at the end of the war. Baxter reflects on his current condition, and shares his opinions on the current leaders of Russia and the presidency.

Keywords: Cold War; Russia; WWII; Washington, DC; education; home

01:00:14 - Opinion on current affairs

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Partial Transcript: They have peaches and cream...

Segment Synopsis: Baxter shares his opinions of those in Congress. He then explains his wish for less war, and his feeling that Russia poses a threat to the United States. Baxter's wife, Dorothy Baxter describes her understanding of WWII since the start of the War. She describes her family and what they did during the war. Baxter then describes his role as a rifleman during the fight.

Keywords: Japan; Russia; Vietnam War; congress