Asia, New Guinea, The Admiralty Islands, The Philippines

Stealing Guns and Riding Sea Turtles

Stories from New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands, and the Invasion of Leyte

During World War II, my grandfather joined the First Cavalry Division. He was selected as a radio operator (at just 17 years old) and shipped to New Guinea before invading the Philippines, and then occupying Japan. I have hours of video footage of him over multiple days speaking about his experience. Recently, I edited the footage into chronological order of his experience. This comes from the second chapter, after his selection and training process. (Please excuse the background laughter).

He’s very funny, so┬áplease enjoy!

Also, crazy stories seem to run on both sides of the family, but my grandfather definitely takes the cake when he talks about headhunters.

Photo of my grandfather during Basic Training in Ft. Riley, KS


  1. Gwen,

    This is wonderful! I’ve had some amazing visits talking to your grandpa about his war adventures. He’s so smart, witty, and introspective. What a man! (and I’m very fond of your grandma too and remember how she would come visit and play with you girls for hours and hours). She had incredible patience.


    Great stories!! I just wish that I had taken the opportunity to sit with him and hear about his service in WWII. I knew that he was in the 1st Cav Division, and had learned to ride a horse at Fort Riley (?), but the only thing that I knew of his combat in the Philippines was that he was also a Field Music, and had replaced his plastic US bugle with a captured Japanese bugle. That bugle used to hang in his basement with the two Japanese rifles and his Bronze Star. Leyte was a tough fight. My great uncle (for whom I was named– my middle name of “Lee”) was killed there, while fighting with the 7th Inf Div. Tell Dink that I will send a few more rounds down range from his rifles before long… Ken

    1. admin Author

      Thank you! I have so many videos. They are all on my mom’s computer so maybe she can make a DVD of all of them to send to you. Over an hour of stories at least!


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