Military Service Experiences Questionnaire
Part I - General Military Service
Highest rank or grade held:
Present address: Apartment:
City: State: Zip Code:
Co/Trp/Btry you served in: Commanded by:
Of Battalion: Commanded by:
Of Regiment: Commanded by:
Of Division: Commanded by:
2a. Enlistment Date: Age: Length of Service:
b. Place of enlistment:
c. Previous occupation? How useful was it to you in the Army, if at all?
d. If you had previous service in the Regulars, Volunteers, National
Guard, Organized Reserve, Civilian Military Training Camps, or Civilian
Conservation Corps, please indicate when and where.
e. How and why did you join the service?
f. Please describe the local enlistment or draft process with which you
g. At the time, did you feel that the 1940 draft was necessary and fair?
h. What did you feel about latern wartime draft policies?
i. Has your opinion of the World War II draft changed since then? If so,
3a. Describe the circumstances in which you first heard of the attack on Pearl
b. what was your reaction to that attack?
4a. What was your initial reactions to entering military service?
b. Please recount your leave-taking from family and friends.
5a. Where did you train as a recruit?
b. In what specialties were you trained?
c. Were you trained in first aid, siginalling, radio, or the use of any
special equipment? If so, what kind?
d(1).Did you apply for Ranger, Paragroop, or other voluntary additional
training? If so, what kind?
(2). Why did you seek such training?
(3). What were your experiences while undergoing such special training?
e(1). If you entered an Officers' training program, how were you selected for it?
(2). What were your experiences while undergoing such training?
f(1). If you were ever enrolled in the Army Specialized Training Program,
where did you attend?
(2). How did you feel about its cancellation?
g. Did your graining prepare you for your service overseas?
h. What further training, if any, did you recieve overseas?
6. At what posts were you stationed during your stateside service?
7a. If you were shown the film series "Why We Fight," what was your reaction to it?
b. Why did you fight?
8a. What was your opinion of the weapons you saw or used in the service?
b. Were they reliable?
9a. What were your opinions of the equipment, clothing, and rations you
b. How adequate were they for the climate and weather conditions you
c. How responsive were the supply services to your unit's needs?
10a. What do you think of the quality of leadership while you were in
b. How did officers commissioned through various means (service
academies, ROTC, OCS, National Guard, and battlefield promotions)
c. Please describe instances of particularly good or bad leadership?
d. Who were the "real" leaders -- officers, noncoms, or enlisted men?
e. How often did you see senior commanders in your company or battalion
area? Please describe such visits.
f. Please recount any cases of soldier violence directed against officers.
11a. What did you think of the discipline at the time (lax, moderate,
fair, strict, harsh)? Please comment
b. Please recount any particular punishments for breaches of discipline.
c. What did you think about military courts and justice?
12a. If there was any desertion in your unit, what caused it?
b. Was there much theft from one another in your unit?
13a. What forms of off-duty recreation were common?
b. What was your opinion of Special Services (USO shows, movies,
reading material, personal education opportunities)?
c. What, if any, materials did you read in your leisure time?
14. How did you and your comrades get along with civilians in the US?
15a. How adequate was medical care?
b. Describe the health of your unit.
16. For what did soldiers use their pay?
17a. Was drinking a problem in your unit? If so, how were the beverages
b. Was drug use a problem in your unit? If so, which drugs and how
were they obtained?
18. Was there much gambling? If so, what types?
19. What songs were popular during your military service?
20. What military slang words or phrases were popular during your
21. Did you note any instances of ethnic, racial or religious
discrimination? Please explain.
Part II - Overseas Service
22. When you first learned you would go overseas, what was your
23a. At what point in your movement overseass did you learn your real
b. What difficulties, if any, did your unit experience in getting ready
to move overseas?
24a. Please identify your port of embarkation:
b. Please identify the name of your transport:
c. Please identify your port of arrival:
d. Please describe your travel experiences (by railroad, plane, truck, or ship):
25. What information, if any, did the military give you about the
countries in which you served?
26a. What were your first impressions of service abroad?
b. How, if at all, did your views change?
27. How did you and your comrades get along with civilians overseas
before, during, and after hostilities?
28. Was there much fraternizing with local women?
29. Please describe any looting by soldiers of which you are aware.
30a. How was the morale of your unit? (Consider such things as mail
from home, living conditions, general homesickness, etc.)
b. What effect did combat have on morale?
c. What factors helped improve morale?
d. What factors contributed to a decline in morale?
e. What was your opinion of Army Troop Information programs?
f(1). What enemy propaganda, if any, did you see or hear?
(2). What was your reaction to it?
(3). What was its general effect on your unit?
31a. How and to what extent were religious convictions expressed in
b. How, if at all, did these convictions seem to influence
32a. If you were first sent forward as an individual replacement into a
unit already at or near the front, what was your reaction on first
joining that unit?
b. How did the veterans receive you?
33a. If you remained with your original unit, how did you feel about
individual replacements who later joined your unit?
b. How did your fellow veterans feel about them?
34a. How effective were the individual replacements in combat?
b. How did your unit integrate replacements into its ranks?
35a. Did you know or observe any newspaper or radio war correspondents?
Which ones and under what circumstances?
b. What did you think of wartime civilian newspaper, magazine or radio
coverage of the war and of your unit?
c. Did you receive and read Army news publications such as Stars and
Stripes or your unit newspaper?
d. What did you think of them?
Part III - Combat Service
36a. Did you take part in any combat action? If so, where, when, and
against whom (German, Italian, Japanese)?
b. What were you thinking and experiencing at the time?
c. Please describe your "baptism of fire" and your reaction to that
d. Please describe a "typical"day when your unit was committed to the
e. How effective was the fire support your unit recieved from other
combat arms (infantry, armor artillery), from air, and from naval
f. If you ever came under enemy air attack, please describe the
circumstances and your reaction to that attack.
37. How would your characterize your unit's combat performance? Was it
the result of leadership, discipline, unit camaraderie and cohesion,
individual courage or fear, or other factors? Please explain.
38a. If you were ever wounded in action, please recount the circumstances.
b. Did you personally experience or know of others killed or injured as
a result of "friendly" fire? Please explain.
c. Did you personally experience or know of others who experienced
"shell shock" or psychological stress in combat? Please explain.
d. How effective was medical care at the front and behind the lines?
e. Were you able to rejoin your unit? If so, when?
f. If you were not able to rejoin your unit, were you able to perform
light military duty? If so, what and where?
g. Do you still suffer any effects resulting from your wounds?
39. Did you ever participate in cooperative operations with a sister
service? Please explain.
40a. Was your unit (Co/Bn/Regt/Div) ever attached to a regular Allied
command? If so, which one, where, and when?
b. What special procedures, if any, were adopted to facilitate
operating with Allied troops? (Consider such things as attachment of
interpreters, liaison officers or NCOs, special training,
familiarization courses, etc.)
c. How, if at all, did their arms and equipment differ from those of
d. What problems, if any, did these differences in arms, equipment,
communications, or staff procedures cause? Please explain.
e. Even if not attached on an Allied unit, did you meet Allied soldiers
in staging areas or in post-war occupation service? If so, when, where,
and which Allies (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France,
Holland, New Zealand, South Africa, USSR)?
f. What were your opinions of the individual soldiers of our Allies?
g. What were their opinions of U.S. forces?
41a. Did you ever work with or alongside Allied or foreign auxiliary,
irregular, resistance, or guerrilla troops? If so, when, where, and
b. How effective were they?
c. What were your opinions of them?
d. What was their attitude toward U.S. forces?
e. What problems, if any, occurred between such troops and U.S. forces
42. Please describe a "typical" day in reserve when your unit was not
committed to the front lines.
43. Please recount your experiences, if any, in the gathering of
intelligence. (Consider such activities as scouting, interrogating
prisoners, patrolling, etc.)
44a. How did you and your comrades regard enemy troops (Germans,
Italians, Japanese) as fighters?
b. How well-trained, well-fed, and well-armed did they seem to be?
c. How effective were their weapons?
d(1). What did you think about the enemy as people?
(2). How, if at all, did your original opinion of enemy soldiers
change after you encountered them in battle?
(3). How, if at all, did your original opinion of enemy soldiers change
after you encountered them in the post-war period?
45a. Were you ever a prisoner of war? If so, when and where were you
captured? (If not, please go to Question 46)
b. How were you treated by the soldiers who captured you?
c. Where were you held?
d. How were you treated by the prison guards?
e. For how long were you a POW?
f. How, if at all, did your previous military training prepare you for
g. What factors influenced morale in the POW camp?
h. Please describe your experiences in captivity.
i. Did you ever try to escape from captivity? If so, please explained
how and what happened? If not, please explain why.
j. How and when were you liberated?
k. What was your first reaction to being freed?
46a. Did you capture any enemy prisoners? If so, please describe the
circumstances. (If not, please go to Question 47)
b. How were enemy prisoners treated by U.S. forces?
c. What training did you recieve in regard to treating enemy POWs?
d. Was the training adequate?
e. How, if at all, did your contact with enemy POWs affect your view
of that enemy?
47a. Did you help liberate enemy prison camps or concentration camps?
If so, which ones? (If not, please go to the Question 48)
b. How had the enemy trated the U.S. and Allied prisoners you freed?
c. How had the enemy treated civilian internees you freed?
d. What were your initial reactions upon seeing conditions in enemy
prison camps and concentration camps?
48a. What were your reactions and your unit's reactions to VE Day?
b. What were your reactions and your unit's reactions to VJ Day?
49a. Please describe any rumors you heard about the Atomic Bomb before
b. What was your opinion in August, 1945, on the use of the Atomic
c. Has that opinion since changed? If so, how?
Part IV - Occupation and Demobilization
50a. If your assisted in the establishment of Civil Affairs governments
in liberated friendly countries, please list your experiences.
b. If you assisted in the establishment of Military Government in
occupied enemy countries, please describe your experiences.
c(1). What efforts were made to root out the defeated enemy system of
government such as the de-Hazification program in Germany?
(2). What part, if any, did you have in such efforts?
(3). What did you think about those efforts at the time?
(4). How do you feel about those efforts now?
51a. How were local civilians treated by American and other Allied
b. How were local civilians treated by Allied military administrations?
52a. If you encountered Displaced Persons, from which countries or
ethnic groups did they predominantly come?
b. How were treated by American and other Allied soldiers?
c. How were they treated by the Allied military administrations?
d. What impression did the DPs make on you. (Consider such things as
living conditions and physical well-being).
53a. How was the morale and discipline of your unit after the end of
b. What efforts were made to maintain your unit's morale and discipline
after the end of hostilities?
c. What demonstrations or disturbances, if any, did you witness by
soldiers seeking to get home sooner?
d(1). How did the "point system" for demobilization affect your unit
and you personally?
(2). In your opinion, was the "point system" fair or unfair? Please
54a. What awards and decorations did you recieve?
b. In your opinion, were awards and decorations distributed fairly?
55. Please describe your welcome home to the United States.
56a. How long did you remain in service after the end of hostilities?
b. Why did you choose to remain in military service or to leave the
c. Please provide your date and place of discharge.
Part V - Postwar Experiences
57a. What did you do after you were discharged?
b. How, if at all, were your military skills or military education
transferrable to civilian life?
c. Please describe the ease or difficulty with which you readapted to
civilian life and the influence your overall military experience had
on that readjustment.
d(1). Before the war, had you graduated from high school? When?
If you attended or graduated from college or trade school before the
war, please name the school. Dates Attended. Degree.
(2). If you went to college or trade school under the GI Bill after the
war, please name the school. Dates Attended. Degree.
(3). Would you have pursued such postwar schooling without the GI Bill?
(4). What does the GI Bill mean to you?
58a. What were your expectations of civilian life upon leaving service?
(Consider such things as post-war America, GI benefits, educational
and career opportunities, marriage, and family life).
b. To what extent have those expectations been realized?
59a. Did you join the National Guard or Organizaed Reserves after the
war? If so, how soon after the war did you join and for how long did
b. Please identify your Guard or Reserve unit.
c. Were you ever called up for active service?
d. If yes, when were you called up, for how long, and with what unit?
60a. Please indicate any national or unit veterans' association(s) to
which you have belonged.
b. How soon after the war did you join such association(s)?
c(1). To which association(s0 do you still belong?
(2). Why have you remained with it (them)?
(3). If you have dropped membership in any such association, please
d. Please describe what your veterans' assocation(s) mean(s) to you.
61. With whom do you feel most comfortable discussing your wartime
62. If you have read any histories, articles, or other postwar writings
on campaigns in which you participated, what is your opinion as to
63. World War II was a significant national experience. What, if
anything, did it teach you about America or Americans?
64a. What were your expectations at the end of the war as to prospects
for world stability?
b. What were your expectations at the end of the war as to America's
place and influence in the world?
c. To what extent have those expectations been realized over the
We recognize that this questionnaire is by no means exhaustive. If you
desire to explain or comment on matters not specifically asked, please
feel free to do so on the "continuation" sheet. If you discover that you
have insufficient space to comment fully on a specific question, please
continue your ocmments on the "continuation" sheet indicating thereon the
question number. Please feel free to add more sheets if you care to
provide specific details on any aspects of your military service. Again,
your recollections are an important source of information for historians
and researchers. Thus, we sincerely appreciate your taking the time and
effort to complete this questionnaire.