Description: Interview with James William "Bill" Harrison, a serviceman in the U. S. Navy during World War II. He explains how he joined the navy in San Diego without going to boot camp. He worked on an oil tanker that shipped out to Pearl Harbor a month after the attack there and transported fuel out of San Diego to various ships at sea. He was then transfered to Admiral Nimitz's public relations department. There he and two others wrote stories about the action in the Pacific theater, particularly about the Battle of Midway. They also contributed to a radio show and worked with the national press corps. He then worked at the Naval Air Station in Seattle before traveling to Hilo, Hawaii to meet with soldiers who had returned from Tarawa. In Texas, he attended officer training school and college at Southwestern University. After the war ended, he studied at the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma for law school. He recalls an incident in which his office released a story about a cat that had kittens on board a cruiser; they reported this good news from the Pacific prior to the Battle of Midway. He also met Admirals Nimitz and Byrd, typed up a letter for Elliott Roosevelt to his father (without knowing at the time that he was President Roosevelt's son), and received a ride from shipbuilder and Kaiser Permanente founder Henry J. Kaiser while hitchhiking during leave.
Date: January 27, 2005
Creator: Parish, Brainerd & Harrison, James William
Partner: National Museum of the Pacific War/Admiral Nimitz Foundation