Biography of Arthur Schwarz

CCCman c.1935-36, Company 2115, Camp Simnasho, Oregon

Sgt, 21st Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, USMC

     The Civilian Conservation Corp was an agency authorized by the government to hire unemployed young men for public conservation work. It started in 1933 and was formally organized by an act of congress in 1937. It was later abolished in 1942. I enlisted in 1935 at Fort Devens, in Massachusetts and was assigned to travel to Oregon to work in a SCS, Soil Conservation Service, camp. My pay was $30.00 per month, $28.00 was sent to my mother, and in 1935 it meant a great deal. $2.00 was paid to me and was more than I required. We left Fort Devens on a pullman train and we were not aware of it, but we traveled first class, sit down meals in the dining car and a porter making our upper and lower bunks nightly. I can recall we took a very circuitous route and finally arrived at the Dalles, a city on the Columbia River. By truck we traveled southwest about 60 miles to Warm Springs and then to Camp 2115 at Simnasho, or. there were 4 barracks bldg. a mess hall and one long latrine and shower bldg, I think the mess also had the camo store for shaving, candy, smokes, etc. This camp was on an indian reservation so hunting, fishing was not allowed for us, and of course no alcohol. Our duties consisted of felling small pine trees, about seven to eight inches diameter. They were de-barked and cut to ten foot lengths. They were to be used to build corrals for the indians to round up their steers and cattle. Many times we returned to find that the logs were gone, the indians had taken them for firewood, being loaded with pitch the burned like tinder!! I remember the forester very well, his name was Mr. Kegg. he'd measure out the corral on paper and we'd follow his instructions. One of the first things he did was to assign jobs. He picked me and three others and told us we were all PHD's. Later I found that we were POST HOLE DIGGERS. His was a very wry humor. Of all the corrals we built about five of them, I only saw animals in one!! And I was there six months. The other jobs we did was building small soil erosion dams at nearby streams. We used fine chicken wire, sharp wooden stakes and rocks. There did not seem to be any appreciable roots in the ground to keep erosion checked. We were Southeast of Mt. Hood which is 11,000 plus feet high. Since the camp elevation was 3,500 ft we could also see Mt. Rainier in Washington which is 14,000 ft. plus. There was plenty of game that we saw while working an big white jack rabbits that were 2 feet high when they sat up on their haunches. The indians on the reservation were quite friendly and enjoyed playing football when we had a game going. At Christmas we were invited to their long house for a celebration. The long house was full of smoke and they had made sauna baths from birch branches and large enough for two men to enter. You could hear the steam hissing and escaping though the branches, finally one man would burst out bare and lobster red, he had lost the contest. Then the braves would march from one end to the other in their leather, beads and feathered dress and get a lot of applause. It was a sight to remember.

       Now it is a week later. It must have been a Sunday because I walked up to the top of the hill to watch some Indians setting up some shelter, it was interesting to watch the way they made their wigwams etc. After an hour or two I came back down to the billets and went in to my bunk to get some smokes. When I tried to go out I was stopped by a man who turned out to be security. Later the Captain came in with others, a couple Indians and a man who turned out to be the Marshall. After they left I was told that someone had stolen a lot of Indian regalia.

       To make a longer story shorter two of the boys had stolen the stuff and one man squealed to the Captain on the men. The Marshall told the Captain to get rid of the men because there may be some prison time involved. The Captain had the three trucked down to The Dalles and put on a train back to Boston.

       A couple weeks later someone got a post card from Boston. Somewhere in Wyoming at a water stop the two took number three off the train and tied him to a telephone pole. The train left without him and it was three hours before the train got to civilization again.

       Being there in the winter we had quite a bit of snow but very little numbing cold weather. I stayed until April- did not re-inlist and returned to Massachusetts with the same accommadations.

       I joined the Marines on Sept. 7, 1942. After boot camp in Parris Island I was assigned to FMF, Fleet Marine Force, and the 3rd Marine Division, 21st Regiment. We were in the following campaigns: Bougainville, Guam and Iwo Jima.

       My daughter dug this out of the past!! It was sixty years ago Christmas Eve l943, and I wrote the following.

Bougainville Lullaby

'Twas the night before Christmas,

And all through the sky,

The searchlights were beaming;

The plane was up high.

And we were all sleeping,

As sound as you please,

With visions of women,

In black silk chemise.

When all of a sudden,

The ground was alive.

We knew in a moment,

He was making a dive.

I tore out of my hammock;

My form hit the deck,

Crawled into the shelter,

With a bad twisted neck.

And there in the shelter,

There rose up to view,

Ratley and Anderegg,

Cossaboon, too,

Stokes and Varndell,

And finally Lee,

But they all moved over,

And made room for me.

Then in the next instant

We heard a slight click,

The sort of a noise

Made by breaking a stick.

We then heard the whistling;

We then heard the roar.

It missed our scant shelter

By two rods or more!

The ack ack was open,

The sky was all red,

And into the firing,

The lone "Aichi" sped!

The 40s and 90s

And 20s took aim~.

Their target was "Charlie,"

Their purpose the same.

Well, Charlie got through

Though how, I don't know.

Then off to the north

With a roar he did go!

But to get away safely

Just wasn't his fate,

For at 10,000 feet

Was a P-38!

Charlie banked, then he dived,

Then away he did sail.

But the man in the "Lightning"

Was right there on his tail!

From the ground we could see it,

Like rubies all strung

From fighter to Aichi

Those red tracers hung.

Not long it did last

Ere Charlie did dive.

But he wasn't to come

Out of this one alive.

The fighter rolled over,

Sign of victory, you know.

By the bright Christmas moon

We could see from below.

T hen I in my skivvies

And Joe in his boots,

Crawled back in our sacks,

And the rest followed suit.

'Fore long we were sleeping

As sound as we were able

With visions of Spam

And "dried eggs" on the table.

After what happened

On that Christmas Eve

It's not hard for us here

In St. Nick to believe!

If believing in him

Is enough to suffice,

I'll believe in St. Nick

For the rest of my life!

       On April 1945 I had enough points to come back stateside. In that time I was promoted to Sgt. I was discharged on Sept. 26, 1945.  Seems like a long time ago.

By Arthur Schwarz

Curator's Note, Unfortunately, Arthur passed away November 26th, 2004 at the age of 87. He was retired from Eastern Airlines and lived his last 18 years in Zephyrhills, Florida. He is survivied by 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

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