Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Louisville to Okinawa in WWII


Photographs of camp life from 2013ms0362: John C. Davis notebook and photograph album, 1944
 
This notebook, containing photographs and signatures, was kept by an African-American soldier from Louisville, Kentucky, named John C. Davis during World War II. Davis served in the Pacific Theater as a corporal in the 2284th Quartermaster Trucking Company, an all black unit.

Japanese atomic bomb survivors
 
The photographs document the men in Davis' unit, camp life, and the battle of Okinawa. Included is a picture captioned “This is the place that the atomic bomb fell with ened [sic] the war in Japan” showing a few Japanese survivors.

The notebook also includes a four page description of his mission on Okinawa to blow up a gasoline dump. The brief but detailed pages describe how he killed several Japanese soldiers, found the gasoline dump, and his attempts to get back to his unit.

"...in the distance I could see a big gun that looked like the empire state building swinging back and forth continually..."
 
The back pages contain signatures and messages written by the soldiers in Davis’ unit. The messages reflect the camaraderie and the pathos inherent in military service during WWII.
"This island was a sad place to live as a soldier"

"...for when your friends become your foe into the world your secrets go..."

 

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