From the interview with Warren Dickman of Tieton, WA conducted by Teddy Clark by phone on February 2, 2005 from the Fort Worden History Center. Mr. Dickman served in the Boat Battalion of the 369th EASR at Fort Worden in 1951-52. Here he tells why he enlisted in the Army:
“We knew we were going to be drafted and it was in the wintertime. We figured we’d just as well get it off and going. I figured I could swim further than I could fly, so the Air Force was out; and I could walk further than I could swim, so the Navy was out. That was my 19 year-old logic at that time. …I did end up in the Army’s Navy. When they asked me at Fort Lewis, they said they had two slots–infantry and combat engineer, which do you want? I took combat engineer, and actually ended up an amphibious engineer.”
Talking about his fellow soldiers:
“We had some real characters in our outfit, some real happy-go-lucky comedian types and some very serious, somber–just a cross section. We were made up of guys from Minnesota, North and South Dakota, quite a few from Wyoming and the rest from Oregon and Washington. As time went on, we had people come in from New York and about everywhere and some returning from Korea.
The New Yorkers were kind of a gang. One of the guys, I think his name was M—- was starting to take charge; and BP, a big part Indian fellow from Southern Oregon who was a timber feller, very quiet and easy-going, was not about to be stepped on. He and another big Indian guy from the Umatilla Reservation took care of about four of them. They were pretty docile after that. It was right back to as usual again.”
Describing training experiences on the almost vertical face of the bluff above the beach:
“We’d put on a full field pack and go up to those bunkers (on Artillery Hill), then go down that bank. That’s a long way down, and the rocks were flying, dinging off your helmet. The lieutenant would be in the lead and he’d take us out about a platoon at a time, we’d just follow single file. He probably had scouted it out and had picked a way you could get down. It was pretty brushy, which was a good thing ‘cause if you lost your footing you could grab a sapling or something and wouldn’t go off that vertical face up there.”