Oral History Interview with William H. Hitt


This interview was conducted by Rhonda G. Whatley on December 5, 1998, for Professor Tom Forgey's class in American Military History at Southern Arkansas University. The interview took place at Mr. Hitt's home in Gilmer, Texas. The transcript below is an excerpt of this taped-recorded interview. The original audio tape is archived at Magale Library at Southern Arkansas University.



Additional Photos of William H. Hitt


Mr. Hitt: I am William Hoyle Hitt, Sr., born June 1, 1925, near Tyler, Texas.

Whatley: What was your educational level at the time you entered the service?

Mr. Hitt: I was in high school at the time, but we didn't, my twin brother and I, but we didn't finish. But we came back to Texas and finished after the war.

Whatley: How old were you when you entered the war?

Mr. Hitt: Seventeen.

Whatley: What year did you enter?

Mr. Hitt: 1942.

Whatley: Were you drafted or did you volunteer?

Mr. Hitt: I volunteered [laughs].

Whatley: What was the status of the war when you entered?

Mr. Hitt: Well, we, I could tell about what I saw. Of course, it's after boot training in San Diego. We took a Lureline[sp?], converted into a troop ship, over to Pearl Harbor and I suppose it looked, at least I guess through a kid's eyes, [like] they had sunk most of our ships and did the Pacific Fleet. But the condition of the war was very severe at that time, because it looked like a lot of those in authority had thought maybe the Japanese were going to overrun us. But that's the condition the Army, the war, was in. [It] was almost from that day forward we began to fight back and really take back the islands that the Japanese had overrun.

Whatley: And you said you received your training at San Diego?

Mr. Hitt: Yeah, boot training at San Diego.

Whatley: What branch of the service were you in?

Mr. Hitt: The U.S. Navy.