Lee Roy Dugas was born in August 1926 in Scott, Louisiana. His grandmother owned a small cotton farm on which his father worked. Dugas helped pick the cotton. Picking cotton in August and September was difficult because of the incredible heat and humidity. Dugas managed to gather over 300 pounds of cotton in one day. That was quite a feat to pick that much by hand from sun up to sun down. Dugas had two brothers. He was raised speaking the French language and did not learn how to speak English until he started attending school. He graduated from Scott High School in 1943 at 16 years of age. When he turned 18 years old, he joined the Navy with his father's assistance. Dugas did not want to be drafted into the Army.
Lee Roy Dugas was sent to San Diego for his Navy basic training. It was his first trip out of Louisiana, having never gone further than New Orleans prior to that time. He ended up traveling quite a bit on trains while on leave. Basic was not difficult for Dugas because he was used to the challenge of hard work and discipline having been raised as a farm boy. After basic training, he was sent to San Francisco to work in the fleet post office. From San Francisco he was sent to Leyte in the Philippines. The seas were rough on the voyage over. Women were onboard as upper deck passengers. Seasickness was prevalent although Dugas never became ill. He worked in the post office in the Philippines as a code caller. Packages would arrive with a destination code associated with each individual parcel. It indicated where they were supposed to be sent. Dugas would call the codes and others would sort the packages appropriately. There were still Japanese snipers randomly firing at the Americans, but Dugas was never targeted. After being a code caller for several months, Dugas landed what he thought was the perfect racket. He traveled to Manila carrying registered mail and spend 24 hours of liberty there. He then traveled back to Subic Bay carrying registered mail. He would get another 24 hours of liberty at Subic before repeating the process. The work was good and the food was not bad. He particularly remembered one special breakfast he had when he gave blood. He had some interaction with the local Filipinos. When he was in the Philippines, the French Navy was also there. Dugas was able to communicate with them in the French language. Dialects were different, but that was no different than the multiple dialects of French spoken near him in Louisiana. Dugas had deployed to Leyte at the time the Germans surrendered. He was in the Philippines when the Japanese surrendered. Dugas was in service approximately 18 months before discharge.
Lee Roy Dugas returned to the United States where he was discharged. He returned to his home in Scott, Louisiana. He worked initially with a photography company but then spent his career with the United States Postal Service and retired in 1982. He used the G.I. Bill to aid him in attending a business college after his discharge. Dugas visited The National WWII Museum and was pleased with what he saw. Back during his time in his Philippines, after being a code caller for several months, Dugas landed what he thought was the perfect racket. He traveled to Manila carrying registered mail and spent 24 hours of liberty there. He then traveled back to Subic Bay carrying registered mail. He would get another 24 hours of liberty at Subic before repeating the process. He enjoyed that time. To Dugas, the memory of World War 2 is too far in the past for people to see the significance of what happened. He is very displeased with the current actions of the government.
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