Raymond Loidolt was born in 1924 on a farm east of Pierz, Minnesota. The farm kept the six of them busy. He went to school for seven years. He walked even in the snow and cold. He never went to high school because he had no way to get there. He returned to the farm and worked. [Annotator's Note: The interviewer asks Loidolt if he remembers where he was and what he was doing when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941.] He could not believe it. He was doing farm work. They had one radio and it came over the radio when they were having dinner. His father said he might go once he got old enough. A year later in December [Annotator's Note: December 1942] he was called up. He went to training at Parris Island [Annotator's Note: Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in Port Royal, South Carolina].
Basic training was rough for Raymond Loidolt. He was 18. It was lot of climbing with full packs on. Once you go through it, you are a man and a Marine forever. He went home for Christmas [Annotator's Note: December 1942] for two weeks. He went to Camp Lejeune [Annotator's Note: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina] for more training for combat. He did not think about going into war. It was just one of those things and it was going to happen. He was not going to worry about it. He was sent to California for more training for four months. He boarded a ship to Japan for the invasion of Japan. He had a Browning automatic [Annotator's Note: M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle; also known as the BAR]. It was big and powerful, and he knew he would be one of the first to hit the water. He also carried a full pack and some ammunition. There was so much to be carried another guy had to carry some too. They did not get to Japan. When they got close, the bombs [Annotator's Note: nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 6 and 9 August 1945] fell. That saved him. They were rerouted to China.
On the way to China, the ship Raymond Loidolt was on ran into a hurricane [Annotator's Note: typhoon]. The ship was going up and down and he learned the power of water. Before that the ship went through water full of underwater bombs [Annotator's Note: mines; stationary explosive devices triggered by physical contact]. He could hear them all night long scraping against the ship and was praying they did not go off. They got through that and the hurricane and got into Tientsin, China [Annotator's Note: Tientsin or Tianjin, China]. They could not get close enough to land and they had to wait two days for the right tides. He did not think anything of it. Going through the mines those two days, was the scariest. It scared him a lot. The Lord had a different plan for them. They had to go to the border every three days and make sure no Koreans were coming across. Other days they had nothing to do. The war was over. China was so different. They only had horses for transportation. They had men pulling buggies too. It was a very poor country with lots of people. The people were nice, and they had no trouble whatsoever. He was there for about nine and a half months. Nobody ever asked him what it was like in China. It was a country way back in time.
Raymond Loidolt took a Navy destroyer back to the United States from China. They went through mines [Annotator's Note: stationary explosive devices triggered by physical contact]. The officers were trying to shoot the mines. It was a better ride than when he went over there. All of the veterans in China had to go home or stay there and stay in the service. Loidolt chose to go home with about 30 others. Later on, he thought he should have stayed in. He was sick of it. It was a fast life to him, and he did not care for it. It took six weeks to get home. He is proud to be a Marine but did not want to stay in as one. He used the G.I. Bill [Annotator's Note: the G.I. Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, was enacted by the United States Congress to aid United States veterans of World War 2 in transitioning back to civilian life and included financial aid for education, mortgages, business starts and unemployment] and went to Dunwoody Technical College [Annotator's Note: Dunwoody College of Technology] in Saint Cloud [Annotator's Note: Saint Cloud, Minnesota] for auto training. He got married two years later. He went to work on big tractors for 35 years. Loidolt does not have memorable experiences of the war because he never got into it. He is thankful they dropped those two bombs [Annotator's Note: nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 6 and 9 August 1945]. It saved him. He knew that if he had had to land there [Annotator's Note: for the invasion of Japan] he would have been killed as he had the heavy weapon [Annotator's Note: he carried the M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle; also known as the BAR]. He served because he was drafted. [Annotator's Note: The interviewer asks Loidolt what his service means to him today.] Loidolt finds it hard to answer because he never got into anything himself as far as action goes. He would gladly have given up his life. He was ready to go and ready to die. Most fellows felt the same way. Loidolt thinks that even though so many wars have happened since, it is important to teach about World War 2. It was the only war that was completed and won. Since then, none have been won yet. He was proud of being a Marine. Even if he would have gotten killed, he was a Marine. It is not crazy to be ready to die. His brother was in the Army and never went overseas. Loidolt was on a ship and hundreds of ships were blown apart. His training made him ready to live or die. There were times he thought he should have stayed longer. He told his kids to join the Marines if they went into the service. Even the Army felt the Marines are different.
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