Utah World War II Stories is a stirring landmark series in five parts. The men and women of "the Greatest Generation" recollect the pivotal events of World War II in this important series from KUED. Utahns tell some of the greatest stories of their lives in The Struggle, Europe, The Pacific and The Home Front and Untold Stories.
Utah sent more than 70,000 troops to war; to the jungles of Asia, the mountains of France, the air over Berlin and the waters of the Pacific to battle the forces of tyranny and reclaim freedom. More than 3,600 never returned to tell their stories. Those who did carry with them a sense of pride and unfailing humility.
They offered up their lives, many enduring unspeakable horrors. Utah veterans share their compelling and very personal memories in "Untold Stories" - the fifth and final episode of KUED's award-winning series, Utah World War II Stories.
After KUED's original broadcast of the four-part series, dozens of Utah veterans and their families contacted the producers to share their own very personal experiences. So compelling were the stories that KUED created this extended new episode to share them with viewers and document them for future generations.
KUED is proud to bring these powerful battle front and home front stories to light for future generations so the sacrifices will not be forgotten.
Disclaimer: The following transcripts may contain language that can be considered offensive. The language has been retained to give an accurate historical record of their remarks.
"I could hear a noise. It sounded like explosions, so I looked out the porthole and I saw smoke rising. My first thought was, God, it must be the Army holding maneuvers because there was nothing scheduled."
"We were young - 17, 18, 19 years old. Uh, didn't think too much of the past; concentrated more on future."
[ Richard Burt: ] I'd do anything I can now to get the word out, and I wish...I hope other people would be doing the same. But let's face it - we're dying at a thousand a day now. We're just not gonna be here very long.
"This country was worth fighting for. If it took my life, it was going to take my life, and I didn’t think I was ever going to come back anyway when I went over."
"Well we got about a day out of Pearl and we picked up speed again realizing that something else is coming on, but where? Well that was Midway."
"I thought the Americans would be there before the end of the year. I really thought they would be. In fact I thought the war would never last that long. I made up my mind that I was going to make it through."
"Topaz was divided into 42 blocks. There were about 225 people per block and the bad thing is there was only one latrine and one shower facility for all 225 people."
"There was a sign that said, 'A slip of the lip can sink a ship.' So you see we really weren't supposed to talk about what we were doing there."
"One time my husband was being transferred from California to Florida and the trained stopped in Ogden and he sent me a letter later and he said, 'Oh I wish I could have gotten off that train. If I would have had fifty dollars I would have got off that train and I would have come home and taken a risk of getting thrown in jail.' He said, 'They wouldn't let me off of the train. They kept me on the train.'"
"I never was able to say anything to anybody. I just thought, well, if you're a GI, you're a GI and you went through the same thing I did."
"It took a good 50 years before I could talk to my kids or to anyone about the experiences of the war, and many of it I'm still not talking about very much. But the kids would look at some of the pictures and ask me what happened here and what happened...They were pictures that I had and briefly would talk about, but that's it."
"My kid says, 'Dad, you know, you have to leave a legacy for your grandkids too,' so when I started actually talking about my experiences, my load started to drop. I felt like all those years, you know, I couldn't talk about it because...The other guys talked about; I just joined in with something else."