Interview With John W. Singhose

From the interview with John W. Singhose of Port Angeles, WA conducted by Rick Martinez on May 10, 2002 at the Fort Worden History Center. Mr. Singhose served in the 369th Boat and Shore Regiment, later called the Engineer Amphibious Support Regiment, at Fort Worden during the Korean War era. He was Staff Sergeant Singhose when he led his squad at the Fort. Here he recalls his early Army days:
“I joined the 369th very shortly after entering the Army. We were sent to Fort Lewis, WA for processing and whatever and to get our gear, clothing and all that. We were scheduled to get on a train and go to Fort Riley, KS for infantry training. They needed infantry in Korea real badly. They were real shot of infantry in Korea.
In the meantime, there was a flash flood in Montana and part of a railroad bridge had washed out and was damaged, so they couldn’t run trains over it. So they held us up for a few days. In the meantime, the 369th EBSR was activated and they had some reservists who were training here at Fort Worden and they were looking for some people. So they sent a little over a hundred of us over here to fill those ranks. We took our boot camp right here.
(Fort Worden) was a classic small Army post. We didn’t even have a guard on the gate. People came and went on their own, there was no check in, no check out. I had the same car I had before I was drafted. They gave you a little oval deal to put on your license plate, it was reflectorizd. My number was 207. After we did get a guard on the gate, the MPs would look at your little red deal and,’Hey, come on through folks, you must be okay.’
We had a wonderful firing range over at Cape George (on Discovery Bay). There were no homes there at that time. There had been an old sawmill there, and kind of like a little logging camp. There were still a few old cabins around. …I think that maybe it might have been the Second ESB that had gone down there and built some berms and stuff there, it was a pretty goood facility. Only thing of it was that the wind came right off the water, right to where we were firing there.
Captain Gibbs was our company commander at that time. It was cold and we were trying to fire and our hands were numb, regular combat conditions. He said, ‘Why don’t you fellows build some fires?’ In those days everybody carried a jack knife. We whittled some shavings and got some fires going. That was the best thing that could have happened to us. Very considerate person, Captain Gibbs.”
When asked if the troops had the standard targets with the big target cloth frames that were lifted, Mr. Singhose replied:
“We had people down there at the butts. They raised and lowered those. If you missed the target completely, they had a red flag called Maggie’s drawers that they waved back and forth. …I also remember if there was a boat that came in kind of close to shore, we had to stop firing. The bullets would go off the bluff into the water. There wasn’t much shipping in those days, but we had a fellow on either side of the range, it was their job to see if there was anybody coming. We were equipped with binoculars and all that.”

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