Interview With Jack W. Hendry

From the interview with Jack W. Hendry of Bremerton, WA conducted by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on February 10, 2004 by Patience Rogge.  Mr. Hendry served in the U.S. Army 248th Coast Artillery G Battery and the 749th Military Police Battalion during World War II.  He had drawn the first draft number in Bremerton and was drafted on January 28, 1941. Here he describes his duties during his early days at Fort Worden:

“I was assigned to G Battery, which is a search light section of the 248th Coast Artillery.  My training part would be in the old balloon hangar, where we had search lights, power plants, sound locators, etc. We did our drill and we had to know all the parts of all the search lights and how to polish and clean it up and everything.  We’d be out as late as 10 o’clock or later because it didn’t get dark in the summertime.  We’d get quite a late start, but we still had to get up and report to duty at 5:45, regular Army time.”

In response to a question about the daily routine:

“We had to learn how to haul the search lights around and to learn about the planes they sent over for us to check on.  If we shined on them too long, they couldn’t see their instruments inside the plane.  On Fridays, we usually went on a hike in the area for five miles or more and we took all of our equipment.  Each outfit or battery would come marching in while we all stuck together.  We had a fellow who played the bagpipes and the snare drum and we’d always come back in marching like a bunch of Scotsmen.”

Other Fort Worden memories:

“They used to have machine gun practice on airplanes.  They flew in from Payne Field and they towed a target behind them.  It wasn’t very long after that they decided against it, because when they got back to Payne Field they found bullet holes in the tail section.”

“We had a Supply Sergeant.  Just after war was declared, he figured they didn’t have to keep any records because the war was on.  So he threw all his records out in the street.  The Captain came by and saw that and said, ‘Hey, pick all that stuff up and you keep your records up to date.”

“Before I left Fort Worden (He was shipped to San Luis Obispo to join the 749th) we used to feed the fellows in the field.  They had a 4 by 4 truck with fuel stoves in the back end and I used to cook pancakes.  When you went down the road, you’d start to pour them.  They’d be two inches wide on one end and a foot long.  Everybody got a warm breakfast and we also served a stew so they’d have a hot meal during the day.

I had some dental work done while at Fort Worden.  The dentist was at the hospital and he had a foot powered drill. His assistant ran the power for it by pumping pedals like he was on a bicycle.  The dentist drilled it all out and said, ‘You should have this in gold.’ So he gave me a gold foil filling, which he hammered in with a mallet.”

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