My name is James T. Moon, serial number 34220609. I was born in Lula, Georgia on June 4, 1913. I enlisted in the Armed Services at Ft. Benning, Georgia on. From there I went to Ft. McClellan, Alabama and on to Indian Town, Pennsylvania where I joined the Infantry. Mountain Maneuvers Special Troop #1686. From there onto Ft. Meade, Maryland and to Oakland, California. I boarded a ship in Oakland to go to Brisbane, Australia and onto the New Guinea Jungles with the 870th Field Artillery Battalion for three years.
I was a Medic and Cook and helped with the building of airstrips. While in the jungles I crawled a mile or more through the jungles to shoot at the Japanese which was my only time on the front lines. In the jungles were the biggest snakes that I had ever seen before or since! I used what medical skills that I had to patch up the wounded. One time I attached an arm as best as I could, using a regular needle and thread and pouring alcohol over the wound. This soldiers arm had been cut to the bone by a Japanese soldier. A lot of my medical knowledge was taught to me by my Mother who was a midwife and knew a little about all types of medicine.
I remember when General Douglas McArthur announced his support for The Australian Government. This was that no more African-American troops would be sent to Australia during World War 2. There was talk about trouble but I never saw it.
I remember one of the best times that I had during the war. It was when John Wayne, the actor, camped in a tent near mine. He gathered us all around a campfire and talked with us most of the night. We went into Australia for R&R every so often. I was well treated by the Australian people.
U.S. National Archives records indicate that Wayne, in fact, did make an application to serve in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the modern CIA, and had been accepted within the U.S. Army's allotted billet to the OSS. William J. Donovan, OSS Commander, wrote Wayne a letter informing him of his acceptance into the Field Photographic Unit, but the letter went to his estranged wife Josephine's home. She never told him about it. Wayne toured U.S. bases and hospitals in the South Pacific for three months with the USO. During this trip, he carried out a request from Donovan to assess whether General Douglas Macarthur, commander of the South West Pacific Area, or his staff were hindering the work of the OSS. Donovan later issued Wayne an OSS Certificate of Service to memorialize Wayne's contribution to the OSS mission.
James T. Moon
as told to Iris Thompson Fry.