WWII vet recalls military life

Published 10:42 am Thursday, October 30, 2008

Elzie Minor of Chelsea said he remembers the end of World War II well.

He was on the front of an attack ship that had just hit the beach when the captain’s voice came over the loud speaker, saying President Truman had just announced the Japanese had surrendered.

“Everybody went wild,” he said. “That was Aug. 14, 1945, my 19th birthday.”

Minor said he basically toured the South Pacific on a ship, going wherever the military needed them.

“We had a few encounters with Japanese planes, but we held them off,” he said. “Everything was a military secret. We couldn’t write letters or get letters.”

He said one time they anchored off the Marshall Islands, but never went ashore. Instead, they went on to the Philippines and hit the beach there.

“But by then, we (the United States) pretty much had the Japanese on the run. They were hiding out in the hills and in caves. We were pretty well just mopping up. After the surrender, we were sent to South Korea for occupation duty. The Japanese had a full army in South Korea when we got there, so we were loaded for bear. But they never fired a shot. We rounded them up, took their weapons, put them on a ship and sent them to Tokyo.”

Minor said he got out of the army in the summer of 1946 and married in Dec. 1947, but stayed in the reserves three more years. He and wife Edith have three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

On display in the Minor home is a United States flag, along with a certificate that reads, “This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol for Elzie Cecil Minor, at the request of Senator Jeff Sessions, in honor of his birthday, requested by Amanda Michelle Minor (granddaughter).”

The certificate is signed by Sen. Sessions.

Other mementos displayed on the Minors’ walls include the vet’s honorable discharge certificate, dog tags, stripes and ribbons and the front page of a newspaper carrying the headlines, “U.S. Declares War on Japan.”

He also has a book, given to him by a son, about his outfit the Infantry 40th Division during WW II.

Minor said when they got ready to come home, they were told they could have two souvenirs. He chose a Japanese rifle with bayonet attached and a Japanese sword.