Segment 1


Leisey was born in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania May 10th, 1923. He moved to Honey Brook, Pennsylvania where he ended up meeting his future wife. He characterizes his life as being a rural existence. He was active in all sorts of organizations in high school. Leisey went to Penn State [Annotator’ Note: Pennsylvania State University] in 1941 upon graduation from high school. He tried out for football at Penn State and made the team. He wanted to earn his meals there by playing on a team. He was at Penn State from September to December. On December 7th, Leisey was hanging out with a high school friend and he learned that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. he knew his days at college were going to be numbered and he knew that they were going to be in a long war. One of Leisey's buddies, Paul, was in the NAVY ROTC program at Penn State. He was killed before Leisey finished his first year there. Leisey did not go to Penn State for his second year; he and some friends joined the Marine Corps. He felt they were the best trained organization at the time. He also did not want to be fighting in Europe in the cold. Leisey went to Parris Island in November of 1942. When he graduated from boot camp he was an honor guard for President Franklin Roosevelt. He was told that he was not going on with his fellow boot camp graduates, but that he was going to stay back and play baseball. Leisey felt he did not join the Marine Corps to play baseball. Colonel Gene Tunney had found out that Leisey played baseball at Penn State so he had him stay and play. Leisey pitched in some games and things went well, but he wanted to go with his friends. After about a month and a half of playing baseball Leisey was sent to Camp Lejeune. He received his combat training at Camp Lejeune. Leisey was sent to Guadalcanal in May of 1943. He joined in the mop up operations. War was tough to him. He recalls a ship carrying nothing but powdered eggs coming to Guadalcanal. Another ship had nothing but prune bars. The real irritation was the way that you had to live in the tropics dealing with tropical diseases. Leisey was then shipped up to Samoa to join up with the 22nd Marines [Annotator’s Note: 22nd Marine Regiment]. He recalls people coming down with elephantitis [Annotator’s Note: also known as elephantiasis]. Leisey learned how to live in those conditions. They got their training in Pago Pago Samoa. He was then sent to radio school.  


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