Jack Leonard Lyerla, Pfc,
World War II
Jack Lyerla was drafted when he became eighteen years old but he was
allowed to finished high school in 1945. He reported to service in Houston
in June of that year. Jack was sent to Fort Bliss in El Paso to begin his
basic training and finished up the training at Fort Riley in Kansas. Since
World War II had ended, Jack never did go overseas. After a few month in
the U.S. Army, he decided he wanted to send $30 back home to build a
savings account. In order to do this, he needed a middle name. He chose
Leonard because that was the name of a rancher in New Mexico that he had
worked for the prior summer. Leonard had been a real influence on Jack
while he worked there on the ranch. He wrote his dad and ask him to get
him a new birth certificate with Leonard as his middle name. After the
time in Kansas, Jack was shipped to Fort Ord in California by November.
Later he was sent to Camp Bowie where his job was typing all day. He typed
Court Martial reports of soldiers at the base. Jack entered the service as
a Buck Private and left as a Private First Class (Pfc). He was discharged
in September 1946 at Camp Hood, now known as Fort Hood. He served fifteen
Interviewed 8/19/2003 By Webb Jordan
Walter Leonard Tucker, Cpl. World War II, POW
Walter enlisted in the Army in March of 1941. He was in the 26th
Calvary. He had nine months of combat and then was captured and
placed in a POW camp. When he reached Camp Nichols, Cherry Blossom was in
charge. White Angel was already gone, the previous Jap commander in
charge. The Wolf (El Lobo) was in charge of the work detail. There were
about 700 men there and I was placed on the new side.
We were put in work details of three. It was
about December 1943 an Italian fellow was helping us by repairing our mine
car. He became very ill with a high fever, out of his head and he stop
working. Three of us carried his load but the Japs beat him severely.
After we marched 4 Ĺ miles back to camp, we were forced to stand in
formation while the Japs gave the Italian the water treatment. (Water is
forced into the body and then they jumped on his stomach). He died that
night and our doctor was forced to sign death certificate as death by
malaria. Doc (Doc Haines told the Japs that the man was out of his mind.)
The Japs pistol whipped him and another Dr. (Major) when he tried to help
Doc Haines. They broke Doc Hainesí glasses and broke the Majorís jaw. Our
work days were usually 14 - 16 hours long.
On another occasion in the spring of 1944, we
were marching in from work (672 men) in columns of four came to an
intersection where a car was waiting to cross. Lieutenant Campbell was
marching us, stuck his arm in front of me and three other guys and
hollered "Halt". We stopped and the car went through. It happened to be
the Filipinos and this angered the "Wolf". The Wolf wanted to know who the
four men were that stopped and let the car pass. Lt. Campbell pointed us
out and never told the Wolf that he had ordered us to halt. The three Jap
Guards took turns beating us. I was beat until I could not see but by the
Grace of God I never went down. (Falling down was a DEATH SENTENCE. I
donít guess my jaw was broken but inside my mouth was like raw meat and I
had problems eating for a while.
A guy named White I knew at Nichols Camp had his
foot broken shortly after we arrived. He was a boxer, did not have to work
and fortunately did not lose much weight. He later came to my rescue when
a Sgt. Reynolds from New Mexico beat me up over a rice ration. When White
heard about the beating, he threatened Reynolds and told him if he ever
laid a hand on another POW, he would never hit anyone else.
In May 1944 I got malaria and had bad chills and
no sleep. Went on morning sick call, was very weak but temperature was
normal. The doctor said I would have to report for work duty. I knew that
it would be a death sentence if I went to work and could not stay on my
feet all day. I got down on my knees and cried like a baby and the Doc
sent someone else but he said he thought I was lying. While in formation I
passed out and the Doc (Doc Haines) came and apologized. Not much of an
incident to anyone else but was an awful close call for me.
The Wolf (El Lobo) was a large Jap. He probably
would weigh 165-170 pounds, about 50 - 60 years old and had a mustache. He
was a real Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde. Very friendly and gentle acting until he
got mad and then he was a raving Devil and real Sadist.
The interpreter was a slender Filipino-Jap and
really a lot of help to us. He talked mean but was really o.k. I donít
remember his name.
The work was hard and we were barefoot a lot of
the time. With the long days, we got off two days a month but we were not
allowed to sit down on those days. We would sit down and post a look-out.
When we saw a guard we would all be standing.
The food was terrible: sea weed, some vegetables,
rice, fish and fish heads. Each room had a Nechoko. They worked three days
and off one to look after the Camp. With this schedule they did not lose
weight like we did. So they could get tough if they wanted too. Reynolds
is the only one I knew to get tough and White settled him down.
Another incident happened on one of our days off.
Callie and another P.O.W. got into an argument over a Mess Kit. After a
while Callie hit the other man on the chin and he fell and was dead. I
canít remember his name but the Japs took Callie away the next day.
Most of the time I spent at Nichols, our uniform
was a G-string and straw hat. For six months I never had a pair of shoes
or a pair of pants. With the ration of food they fed us we could not
survive. We ate field mice, banana peels, frogs, snakes, tree leaves and
any thing we could got hold of that was chewable.
Large burial detail consisted of about 100 men.
They leveled a 25 foot grade by hand with picks and shovels. They would
buried forty P.O.W. bodies in each grave.
We were shipped to Japan in a cattle ship with
little water, little air, tight quarters and a wooden bucket for a bath
room. Worked there in a nickel surface mine in six foot of snow. Had
pneumonia and lice to deal with. The war ended August 15. Bombed daily by
U.S. with food, candy & etc. Gained 70 pounds in 70 days. (126 to 196)
These experiences were buried into my mind for a lifetime of nightmares.
It was good to be back home.
This was taken from some personal notes that Walter Tucker had made
back in 1987. 9/6/2003 WJ
George B. Hull, Sgt. World War II
Eastland, Texas By Vance O'Brien
8 Discharges, 7 Commendations - Unique Record For County Vet
Not many World War II veterans have been able
to remain in the Eastland area, and precious few there are any-where
with eight honorable discharges and seven certificates of special training
George B. Hull, a native of Eastland County has
that distinction from his twenty-four years of Army and National Guard
A native of the Mitchell community, southwest of
Cisco, Hull went to school in Scranton.
He went into service on the 12th of September,
1942 at Fort Walters in Mineral Wells. He stayed there for a week, after
which he was sent to Oregon for basic training (taking a five day train
ride to get there). From Oregon he went to Newport, Rhode Island,
for a sixteen week school on aero-torpedoes, with 200 other Army recruits,
in a Navy School, graduating as a torpedo mechanic.
He then went to California to Santa Maria for
training in the Mojave Desert, getting ready for over sea's duty. He later
went to Camp Kilmer in New Jersey for final training and debarkation.
Hull then shipped out to England, leaving on Oct.
18th, 1943, arriving ten days later in Liverpool. From there he went
to a small-country town, where he stayed for three years. He was part of a
unit which was operating an Army Ammunition Arsenal. This company held key
ammo which was shipped out from the United States, loaded onto transport
trucks and transported to ammunition areas. The ammo was dispatched
to transport trucks going to different airport bases.
Hull left the ammunition arsenal in 1946 and was
discharged, only to re-enlist. He came home on a 90 day leave, then went
to San Antonio for about three weeks. Hull then went up to Grand Island,
Nebraska for about eight months. From there he went to Roswell, N.M., Army
Air Field, and stayed for about eight months. He was then discharged again
and stayed out of the service until 1949.
In 1949, Hull re-enlisted (a three year
enlistment into the National Guard into the 49th Armor Division and stayed
in for 16 years. The National Guard unit was headquartered in Dallas.
There were five companies in Hull's battalion. During these years he made
summer camps in Fort Hood during the Korean War.
In the Cisco Unit, He was under Lieutenant
Colonel Frank Sayre, now of Eastland. Hull's company mobilized for
war in 1961, going to Fort Polk, LA., for a year during the Cuban Missile
Crisis. After the company got combat ready in about eight months time,
Hull and his fellow Guard members suspected they would go to Germany,
until 1962 when the crisis was over.
Between his re-enlistment and final
discharge, Hull had five re-enlistments with the National Guard.
Wade F. Beall, F2C Navy, World War II
Wade was assigned to a ship called the USS
Ruben James. The original ship by that same name was the first ship lost
in World War I. He said it was one of the escort ships for supply convoy
headed for the Mediterranean Sea. They had a crew of a hundred and sixty
sailors. There were as many as a hundred commercial ships carrying all
kind of supplies, soldiers, equipment and ammunition. This Naval Ship
would navigate along the outer edges of the convoy looking for German
Subs. They were using sonar listening for any unidentified sounds below.
Luckily there were no mines in these waters. The biggest challenge was
warding off the German aircraft that would attack each morning about 2:30
AM and continue their bombing and strafing until sunrise. In the aircraft
attacks in the Mediterranean, they shot down one of the German planes.
Early in the trip they were able to sink a German Sub
about 175 miles off the coast from New York City. When they would locate
an enemy submarine, it was time to launch several depth charges, about the
size of a fifty-five gallon barrel.
On another convoy they were in the area of the Rock of
Gibraltar and on down to a southern port in Africa. At one point there the
British would fire across their bow because they had the bigger guns on
their ship. Wade said you could hear those shells bussing through the air
above their ship. They would refuel in Newfoundland before turning back
Side Note: Wade Beall
later served as a Federal Marshall. Some of his duties were:
Escort Robert Kennedy's children to school, work in Selma, Alabama
during the segregation problem days and serve papers to the
Sharpstown Bank in Texas when it was closed down. 9/16/03 WJ
Jesse H. Reynolds Jr. Pfc - Army - World War II
My name is Jesse H. Reynolds Jr. I was born in Gorman Texas, April 14,
1921 but my family moved to Cisco when I was only six months old.
When World War II started I was working in my family trucking business
The Cisco Transfer & Storage Co. I was drafted on July 3, 1942.
nearly a year and a half in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the
Infantry. Then I spent three months in Louisiana on maneuvers and
three more in California. I went from there on a troop train to
Baltimore, Maryland. We shipped out of New York and went on a
liberty ship. It took three weeks to get to South Hampton,
England. We went in a convoy and the convoy would zig zag to keep
from getting hit by submarines. I was in England when the first
day of the invasion started June 6. It was three or four
weeks before we landed on Omaha Beach in the middle of the
night. There was not any shooting but it was a mess and it was
clear that there had been a terrible battle. We then walked
three or four miles to St. Lo. From then on
we were in
I dug my foxhole in the graveyard beside an old toilet. The next
morning we went about a mile and we were hid behind a hedgerow. The
platoon Sergeant told me that I was 2nd scout and an older
man by the name of Mike was 1st scout. I was looking over
the hedgerow and there was a clearing going for about a ľ of a mile
and then there was a kind of creek. I could see some people walking
around down there.
walking that way and I let him get out about 200 feet then I started.
I got about 50 feet and bullets started flying all around us. I hit
the ground and lay there. I heard Mike run by me and I jumped up and
ran back also. When I got back behind the hedge row Mike had a bullet
hole all the way through his helmet and he was going to pieces and
shaking all over. So the Sergeant said Reynolds you are now 1st
scout. I told Sarg ďno wayĒ, but that did not help.
I took off along the side of the hedgerow instead
of going over it. I went about 600 yards and came to a sunken road. I
went down it for about ľ of a mile and there was a clearing with some
high ground or a hill. It was Hill 122, which was our objective. It
had a pillbox and they were firing machine guns. We got to it and
threw some grenades in it and one of our men had a flamethrower.
He used it on them. We lost several people in this fight. We went into
St. Lo fighting. At one time we were about 1,000 feet from Notre Dame
Church. It had been bombed and artillery so much the only thing left
was the church cross. In fact the whole town was nearly flat.
At one time we were cut off for 3 or 4 days in a peach
orchard. We ate peaches nearly all this time because they could not
bring us food. I still donít care too much for peaches.
I was wounded but patched up and sent back in. It had been
nearly 11 months since we came ashore in Normandy. We had slept in
foxholes in all kinds of weather. Sometimes it was hot in summertime
and sometimes it was very cold. Sometimes the snow was at least a foot
Nearly every day during all this time, we were shot at
by artillery or bombed by aircraft. A lot of the boys went crazy. I
donít know how we all kept from going nuts. I know that nearly
everyone that I have talked to even now after 55 years still has
Finally we got orders to go home. We got on the Queen
Mary on September 5th and we arrived in New York on
September 10, 1945. The Statue of Liberty was about the prettiest
thing I believe I had ever seen. I was so glad to be back to the U.S.
This is from some of the writings that my father made upon request
from his grandchildren so that they would know more about the things
that their "Papa" went through during the War. He saw combat in
France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. Five Campaigns in
all." Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, Central Europe".
He received numerous medals including EAME Campaign Medal, Good
Conduct Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and five Bronze
stars. He was also one of eight Eastland county soldiers who received
the Jubilee of Liberty Medal from the People of France on August 27,
1997 in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, which
he was very proud to receive. He died January 6, 2002.
Sandra Reynolds Hill