Interview with Bill E. Walker

From the interview with Bill E. Walker of Lake Stevens, WA conducted by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on January 24,2008 by Patience Rogge. Mr. Walker served in the US Army at Fort Worden from 1948 to 1950. Here he describes how the local townspeople related to soldiers at the time:

“They didn’t like the servicemen. They did everything they could to make them unhappy. I mean, for instance, one winter we had a bad winter. Streets froze up. They got melted and started getting mushy, so the city closed one. One of the local people went down through there and they slapped him on the wrist. A serviceman went through there and they slapped him with a big fine. It was made public. One time they paid all of us off in silver just so that the downtown could see where their money was coming from. …They made it quite obvious that they didn’t care for us.”

When asked about his job at Fort Worden:

“I was a driver for the company commander and drove a Jeep. When he wasn’t needing me, I would go out on other jobs. We were an engineer outfit and we had some heavy equipment. In order to get it serviced, heavy duty work done on it, we had to take them down to Mount Rainier ordnance down by Fort Lewis. On three different occasions, I took an officer and two guys in this big ten ton truck, with one guy in a Jeep following. Twice we loaded Caterpillars onto a big trailer and took off about four o’clock in the morning and headed for Mount Rainier. We met and had breakfast and they got the truck all ready to go and we went down there and offloaded. Sometimes we had something to bring back, sometimes we didn’t. We’d stop at Hoodsport and an officer would buy us a beautiful dinner. We’d get home about ten o’clock that night. Those were the other jobs when I wasn’t driving for the company commander.”

 

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