Boone was part of the first wave that took the island of Leyte after off-shore guns had cleared the way…
Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.
Jay C. Boone
Date of birth: October 28, 1923
Dates of Service: 1943 to 1945
Lives in: Clovis
Theater and location of service: South Pacific
Unit and Specialty: 2nd Engineers Special Brigade, Medic
After discharge: Clovis
Boone was part of the first wave that took the island of Leyte after off-shore guns had cleared the way. Accommodations were less than comfortable, the troops using the Japanese bunkers that were left vacant by the offensive and subsequent deaths of “hordes of (Japanese)” as Boone recalls. They slept in hammocks positioned over their foxholes so they could “roll out of the hammock into the trench” if they came under attack.
One night, while getting a drink of water, two members of the camp drove into camp in a truck with its lights on, carrying barrels of gasoline. “Suddenly a plane cut loose a bomb, that’s a sound you’ll never forget, and we all ran for a bunker”. One of the fellows stumbled while trying to get through the door, causing a “jam-up” as Boone tells. Exposed and with no way to move, all of the men received superficial wounds from shrapnel. A Major informed them that they would all be eligible for a Purple Heart, but Boone remembers “after seeing what happened to our buddies in the truck there was no way any one of us would consider it.” The plane had “scored” a direct hit.
On a ship two days from Hawaii, Boone and his fellow soldiers were told that they would be training with “green troops to invade Japan proper”. It was then the war ended. “The end of the war was my happiest day while in the army. I was ready to go home.”