Patriot’s Landing resident Richard Bostic shares his story.
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This special answers for elders podcast honoring military veterans is sponsored by carriage. For more information about carriage, the website is sear EA gecom. This is Chuck Holmstead with answers for elders. With me today is Richard Bostick. He was semen first class in the navy and Richard, thank you for joining me today. Tell me about yourself. I was born in Pomona, California and in one thousand nine hundred and twenty seven, may twenty eight. My folks were from Montana and they had, just a year previous to that, moved from Montana to California. And so I have a brother and a sister that are older, that are older than I am our world, or they’re they’re both deceased now, but they were born in Montana. So and I’m a and the family was I have three brothers and three sisters. So there was seven children in the family and my father was a he’ve always wanted to be a cowboy. Foot ever got the chairs. Yeah, so what what’s looking to California? He was raised on a cattle ranch and in Montana and when he moved to cal California he took up making boxes to ship the fruit into the you know, like grapes and Apples and and that kind of stuff, and he was very, very good at that and made it excellent living making those boxes. He would rent the machines, go to the site where the boxes were to be, where the fruit orchards were or whatever, and he would make the things right on site and pile and up there and they would use them and ship the fruit and put them in the box cars of course, ship most of them back east. Yeah, well, most of us, you know. You think about southern California now and the sand Gabriel Valley along there, and it was, you know, it’s full of population, but when you were born back there in in nineteen what what year was it again? One Thousand Nine hundred and twenty seven? Twenty seven, so that was mostly farming community and mostly gross. Back there was a small town about probably had about tenzero people in it when I was when I was born, and courts at the end of the at the end of World War II, they had twenty seven thou I think it was, or something like that. So it had grown quite a bit. Yeah, so you were about fourteen years old at the start of World War II of thirteen, fourteen years old. So certainly you remember what that war effort was like and I’ve impact all of the battles and all that kind of thing. And I thought if it goes on long enough, I’ll join and and did my part. And so when I turned seventeen, I the war was still on and so the next month I it was may twenty eight, and the early the next month I went down and signed up for the navy. Interesting, so that would have been about nineteen forty four or so. Forty four, one thousand nine hundred forty four, and they the minimum requirements for the getting in the navy were five foot two and you had the way a hundred and twenty pounds, and I just met those requirements. Apparently I hadn’t started to grow, Uh Huh, and I don’t know why that was. But when I got in the boot camp, they they ran up through the the obstacle courses and Barnet marks, this on the on the the field out there and all that, and I began to not only gain weight but gain height. But every night I would go to bed and all of my muscles and joints would be ake. You were going through growing pains, besides the interesting ha ha, and I think it was probably good that I was doing all that exercise because I grew about four inches and I think I gained about twenty pounds when I was just going through boot camp and amphibious training. And where was boot where was that training? Amphibious? I took amphibious training down and Cornado, off the beach down there and we we practiced with LC beat lcvp’s and LCM’s, bringing them through the surf and back off the beach and the idea was some day to make an assault landing on one of the islands. But that’s that’s I’m I don’t want to jump ahead, but we never got a chance to make a landing. So get a lot of other type of activity. So you were now what was your job specifically then? You were a seaman first class. So what was your job there? I was assigned to the LCUM. It was an lcm three and I it was number one, the number one landing craft on we carried S. I think it was twenty four landing craft on the on the APA and they put them in the water, you know, and took the troops ashore. But I had that. I was very, very proud, seventeen year old and they gave it was eighteen by almost eighteen by the time, or said, well, he’s going on eighteen by the time. But anyway, and I could I I had a hard time getting the the thirty five million, the thirty five foot lcvp through the the surf. I would get back at off the beach. It had a single engine. I’d back at off the beach and it would begin to turn and I couldn’t keep it from getting sideways to the ways. But the LCM, I I could bring that straight back because it had twin engines and I could control that and I got ri I was really good at interesting and so they assigned me to that and I was the cocks in of that that El. See, I’m on the ship when we got on the ship and anyway, I was on that ship for its entire life in the navy. Eighteen months is basically the total time from the time I got on the ship until this ship was decommissioned. and which ship was that? It was the APA one hundred and seventy eight and it was the USS Lander. I’ve got here one of the alsos on the ship made a book. It’s like a you know, high school an album. went an album with all the pictures and the and the story and everything. But now was that ship Pacific or Atlantic? I was in the same specific can and we one of our two of our assignments. One of them was that at Iwill Jima, we picked up some wounded and and also some troops that were being relieved and they were going back to the states. And then our second assignment was all yeah, it was Okinawa. And at Okinawa we took we took away five hundred and sixty Japanese prisoners, and that we took two hundred and some troops that were being relieved and we dropped those prisoners off and Lea Lethi and they were we transferred them to another APA and and then we would I forget where we went from there, but the prisoner, the prisoners, were dropped off and Ulethie. Oh when we took the troops back to to away, to to Pearl Harbor. Yeah, Hmmmm, what year was that? Would that have been early forty five? Then it was in forty five. Yeah, and then so you were in some pretty dangerous situations there, but we never, I know, we never got took a shell, we never fired at anyone and no one fired at us. But we did see the action at at especially at at he was, even when we would come in at night waiting. We were waiting to be able to get the the word to come in and and do what we were supposed to do there, pick up the wounded and all that. But it took us, I think, twenty days signing, going back and forth. They had they thought they were going to secure that island and three days and it took them twenty six days to secure the island. So we came in just about, probably just a few days before it was declared completely secured. And but each night when we’d come in, we could see the lights of the the flashes of the guns, and they were the Mount Serabatchi was being saturated with with napalm because the Japanese had put caves up into the up in the Mount Sir Botchi there and they had guns like probably mortars and that, and never shooting from up there. So they had to get him out of there. They had the they had the advantage of the elevation and then, yeah, yeah, so anyway, it was very interesting and I never felt all the time that I was in the navy. I never felt any danger for some reason, but I didn’t worry about it. I thought if, if it happened, it happened, you know. And after the after the Japanese surrendered, we went we were the first wave to go in on the end, the first wave to go in on the occupation. We were practicing for the invasion down on the Philippines. When when Japan surrendered and every man on the ship was disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to make a landing and when we saw how we would have had to go in on a landing to invade Japan, we realized we were very happy that we didn’t have to do that, because I think we would have, we were our ship would have been totally I think. You know, they had guns up on the up on the mountain, upon that not on the mountain, but on a ridge up here, and and they had a fake guns that they purposely made them so you could see them and if you shot at those, you aren’t going to be doing any good. Yeah, yeah, and so we we, every man on the ship, felt kind of lucky after we had gone out and they had on the occupation. Yeah, well, the you know, there’s course the drought. The bombs that dropped on hire or Shima and Nagasaki were certainly terrible, but the reality is it’s saved a lot of lives, didn’t they did. Yes, and it could have saved your life. It did. HMM. Yeah. So how long were you involved in with the occupation? How long were you in Japan? and well, we just went in there and took a whole troup, whole shipload of troops and there too, you know, to go in and we just were on the beach about three days, I think, or something like that. But when we were unloading the the stuff from the ship and they Japanese local citizens came out and help unload the boats. Really, yeah, they were, were they? They were glad to see you or just happy that the war was over, that they were glad, but that some of them would die to us, and they were very, very helpful, you know. Yeah, respectful. Yeah. So then what happened after that, after you were in Japan? And and how many more years or months were you in the service? Two more years in the navy after the war was over, because I had signed up for a minority cruise. That’s go in when you’re seventeen and get out when you’re twenty one. And so then the lander. The slander went through the canal and and to the East Coast to get decommissioned. And I was and I went through there with that and I bet that was an interesting experience going through the Panama Canal. Through the canal was very interesting. Tell me about that. Well, we it’s not a very exciting thing, but you go through and they pumped the thing up to your up to the level of the lake and like Catun or got on or wherever they however they pronounce it. And as we were going across the lake we broke out all the fire hoses and and and wash down the ship with fresh water. Interesting, uh huh ha ha, because you know, they get the ship gets pretty salty, gets out their own ocean. Sure. And Anyway, the boat. I was in the boat group on the APA and the boat group when they when the ship wasn’t when we weren’t doing any of the boat boating and you know, going landing and all that, we were actually part of the crew of the ship as well. So we stood watches on the ship and all that and one of my watches was up in the crow’s nest with the Barre Bernoccer is, looking out over the horizon and one time I spotted a submarine a periscope, mm. And I reported that the bridge and they says, well, thank you, we’ve been in contact contact, he said, a friend Lake. So well, I’m sure that was a good feeling that it wasn’t the wasn’t the enemy. And but we were. We were far enough away that I was pretty sure that it wasn’t the enemy. We were we just left actually just that Pearl Arbor and we weren’t very far out. Yeah, and anyway, what was life like aboard the ship when you were when you were crossing? Was it tough? A lot of it was working keeping the ship in shape. HMM. We would we would be chipping the paint on the deck. Just about a hundred percent of the time. Somebody was chipping somewhere and you’re repainted the deck and some and then some guys will go over the side with a boasting chair, they call it, MMM, and chip the sides of the ship and paint it. Are about a picture of the ship. I don’t have it here, but I got a picture of the ship at home and it looks terrible because it’s got all as fats work painting done on it. It takes a lot to keep the ship well. That’s salt water, especially that the there in the heat, the heat and the salt. I’m sure it’s just brutal on the on those ships, on those steel ships. So what year did you then get out of the navy? What I got out of the Navy? And and one thousand nine hundred and forty eight, and I think it was probably the march rape, late March for early April, like I remember, which and and you’re twenty one years old. You’ve been in the service. And so what did you decide to do next? Well, I was when I got out of the service, I was on the I had been on the Robert I payin they destroyer scort for the time after the lander was decommissioned and we did maneuvers down off of Cuba. But Anyway, I forget the question. What did you do after the navy? Oh Yeah, I was transferred from the Robert I pay into another ship to wait discharge and they gave me two to two choices, both of them. One of them I would get a bonus of seven hundred dollars, I think it was, and the other one one thousand five hundred, and I can’t remember which with which. Uh Huh. One was if I would really resign in the navy and the other one is if I would take the discharge o the Boone us either way. And Wow, and I think I don’t think I got as much by being discharged, but I wanted to get out because I wanted to get my education. MMM, and so I so, did you go on the GI building? I went on the GI bill. I used the for four years of the GI bill. I went in the navy before I graduated from high school, but only because my I took the general education development test, the ged test, and I graduated from giant high school with that. But I had to make up my all of my high school credits that that were needed to get in the college. So I I went to the first few, first few, one or two semesters of junior college making up these credits that that I had didn’t have because I left high school early. And so it took me two semesters, I think, at Mount San Antonio College just outside of Premona and unlet’s see where am I? And that would have been about one thousand nine hundred and forty nine or so where in there. And and Oh, yeah, then I oh, then I went to Oh, I got I got married just shortly after I was finishing up my semester at Mousin Antonio College, and I had my first wife and her, her dad, her father, told me that he said that he would help me to get through the rest of the years of college, you know, and I know, well, that would be great. And I and he said I wouldn’t have to make that. Mary’s daughter to and but he’d made it a point. He had helped other other guys get through college to you know, and so, but I I was going with his daughter, and so I decaid, well, I’ll just ask her to mirror be. Ye, sure was, she did. She accepted and then we got married and that and then I moved to I went, I went to Santa Monica City College because that wasn’t so I could prepare to go to UCLA. MMM, and I took two semesters at Semer Santa Monica City College and I had to get a certain grade level there before I could get into UCLA. And what was your major at US ucling electrical engineering. MMM, and it so I I was in my last semester ucla. Why not my last, sir? I was in my would be my junior year, the last. No, no, it was in the first semester, first semester of my last year. Yeah, and I didn’t make good enough grade to continue. And you have to have you have to make a forget what it is. You have to make it somewhere between a be in a sea average and and I dropped down to see every see or whatever. And so they said I could finish college by taking but I’d have to take nineteen credits and I’d have to keep a be average. I thought, well, I can’t be there. Wow. So I decided and that that’s and I went to a job one of these job fairs or whatever was, and McDonald Douglas was there and they interviewed me and they said they would like to have they would like to have me come and interview with them, you know, and maybe and maybe take it, you know, maybe get hired. I said sure that I would be good. So I went that, I went an interviewed with them and and they they said, well, we have a little short test. We give to everybody that comes in. And so I sat down with the test and everything and about twenty minutes I had done the whole test and I don’t know what they were what it didn’t seem very hard to me. But I handed into the secretary and she says you’re down already, and I said yeah, and she said well, okay, and apparently I must have done well on the test because they asked me if I could go to work the next day. Wow, working for McDonald Douglas and I was at down in Long Beach area and Santamona, in Santa Monica, and they were they were sent. They were in Santa Monica and they were working on that six six B, the six A and six B series DC airplanes, six a and DC six B, which were propeller planes, propeller M and so they first when you first go to work there, they put you in, I didn’t realize that, but they put you in what they call a dfreeze and they put you down there doing drawing chains and you after you’re supposed to be down there about six weeks and then by that time you know that you’ve done a lot of drawing changes and they figured that and put you up into the regular, regular company there. Anyway, two weeks went by and they gave me a two three drawing changes every day and I would do them and turn them back into the they guy that was in charge of the d freezer and he had a hard time keeping me busy because I kept I kept getting doing and I would catch a lot of errors that people would ask for changes that you couldn’t do them the way they asked for him, and I’d point that out to him and all that. And so after about two weeks they said you’re going to be we’re going to move you to the radio wiring group. So they moved me out of the deep freeze into the radio wiring group and so we were making up radio waring diagrams for the airplanes, for all of the all of the avionics equipment, and so I did that for I don’t know how long, and the there were I was the dachs seven when I finally they come up with the d seven and I was doing it on that. And then somewhere along the line, I can’t remember exactly when, but they there were they were going to put missiles up over in England and they were the thor missile and they were going to put sixty of them up over in England aimed at Russia. It was a secret order, a secret plan, of course, but anyway they called me. They they didn’t call me. They put out a little notice that they were going to they needed people to go on this. It was called the emily project and they didn’t tell you what it what it would do, what it was doing, but they told you they give us some good idea what it would be. And so I applied. There was and there was six hundred people applied for that thing and there was only I think they were taking twelve people or something like that, and so that why was one of them. And I was supposed to be a they were making me a customers service rep and I was going to go over there and teach the British army how to use our missile. Interesting and but when I got over there, the first pad there was three three Messles on each pad and the first pad was not completed and the they had they had made changes. Each of the pad engineers had made changes to his equipment and they were all different. You know, they’re to fix the same problem, they do a different way and so they they asked if we could get some English engineers to come in there and do drawing changes and get everything straightened out so they were all the same, and I said so, I think we can do that. And there was a place. So they’re called Marshall fought marshalls flying school and it had a they did changes for aircraft and all that for the for their for their companies over there. But we hired those guys and we paid them so much money that they they didn’t want us. They didn’t want us to pay them a big salary because the taxes over there were such that after a certain time, they after a certain level, that the government takes away their that money in taxes, about ninety percent of their money after a certain level. So they honored us two give them a very high what was it? Per D M change, you know, for and so they would come up from where were they from, down on Cambridge, and come up and live at a motel up there. And we paid him, I think, almost as much as we were paying him to the work, hmmm, for per dam, and that they got without tax M so, but anyway, that was how long did you end up working for McDonald Douglas, I work thirty four years, for thirty three years, almost thirty four, thirty three and a half years for McDonald im. And what did you end up at the last before your retirement? He ended up I was a senior engineer, scientist and I was responsible for the navigation equipment on the DSDC ten and the case ten Richard. I’ve so enjoyed your story today and I want to thank you for your service and thank you for joining us today on the Special Veterans Interview on answers for elders. This has been a special honoring Veterans Presentation of answers for elders, brought to you by carriage. 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Originally published September 09, 2017