November 7, 2013 | 130 views
Arthur Weaver - American hero
“I was 18 years old and skinny as a stick. I never thought they’d take me,” said World War II veteran Arthur Weaver, who will be honored by fellow veterans at the Freeport Recreation Center on Monday, November 11. “But there I was – at 38 Whitehall Street. A man at a lectern looked down at my papers and stamped rejected, but then he changed his mind. He stamped my papers ‘accepted’ and told me to report the following day, 6 a.m. platform 17 at Penn Station.”
Like many young men, Mr. Weaver had no idea of what lay ahead. It was July 1944; the second World War was raging. In a few short months Mr. Weaver would be literally knee- deep in the dirt on the island of Leyte in the Philippines, one of many soldiers who participated in the U.S. Army’s Philippines Campaign of 1994-1945 that drove the Imperial Japanese Army out of the Philippines.
Over the next two years Mr. Weaver would overcome many travails including a near death experience and racism, but as he left the induction office that day he said he went “to the Paramount to see a movie with a friend instead of going home because my mother would have performed! I can’t remember the movie, but it was with Yvonne De Carlo,” said Mr. Weaver.
At the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Mr. Weaver took leadership training and brought two units through basic training. He was there three months before he was shipped out to the Philippines. “There were 11 ships in our convoy. We knew that the convoy was supposed to be part of the invasion of Japan. We headed to Leyte Island and then I was sent up to Clark Field.”
In January of 1945 the United States Army took control of Clark Field, 40 miles northeast of Manila. The field had been in Japanese hands since 1941.
It was in Clark Field that Mr. Weaver almost lost his life. “In the Philippines, they have this thick clay, then sand and I was in a hole working when I looked up and all this clay and sand hit me in the chest. I was buried up to my shoulders and my buddies were chopping with their shovels trying to get me out. I remember that I couldn’t breathe,” he said.
Mr.Weaver spent 29 days in a hospital and then was shipped first to Quezon City, a suburb of Manila and then to Subic Bay where there was an American Naval Base facility.