Segment 5


Walter Barnes and the other American forces in the area moved both during the day and at night. They were constantly chasing the Germans who were just fighting delaying actions. Having to shoot a man was terrible for Barnes. There were a number of Germans coming at them. Barnes knew killing was wrong because he was a Christian. Everyone else was shooting at the enemy soldiers so Barnes took aim and shot. He killed a man and thought that god would strike him down with a lightning bolt because of what he had just done. After that first time killing meant nothing to him. One time a few of them were sitting on the side of the road when a news crew came by and told them not to shave. The news crew wanted the GIs to look dirty. Then the news crew moved off and a few moments later Barnes heard the sound of marching. He looked up and saw a group of Germans marching north. There were dozens of them. One of the guys wanted to start shooting at them but they told him not to. The Germans just moved on past them. Walter Barnes served in the 135th Infantry Division, 34th Army [Annotators Note: 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division]. Barnes has some little pictures. [Annotators Note: Barnes and the interviewer discuss the content of the photographs] One of the photographs is a portrait of Barnes that was taken by an Italian. Barnes paid the Italian man two or three dollars for the man to take the photograph then mail the image to his home back in the United States. Barnes does not recall where he was when he heard about FDR’s [Annotators Note: 32nd President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also known as FDR] death. Barnes thinks he was at home playing in the school yard when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. After returning home from the war Barnes went to work for his father until the next semester of school started. He already had one year of college. Barnes went back to Tulane. He does not know how he got through. Barnes does not feel that the war changed him. He did not suffer from any psychological problems. If anything it improved his confidence with regards to talking to women. Barnes feels that it is important for future generations to study World War 2. When Barnes got back from the war he spent every minute he could in the gymnasium. He was a weight lifter and competed in the 132 pound weight class. He was invited to Dallas for the AAU and broke a number of records which held for many years.


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