Arnoldsburg resident Paul Evans vividly
recalls his days as World War II medic
By Bob Weaver 2010
Arnoldsburg resident Paul Evans, 89, pulled out his boxes and scrapbooks of photos from his World War II days as a medic in the South Pacific.
Last weekend he spent the day with his longtime World War II friend, Paul Fleming of Arnoldsburg, who was celebrating his 90th birthday.
Evans and Fleming are among a dwindling number of WWII soldiers. Hundreds of Calhoun's country boys went off to fight in that great war, many who hadn't been across a state line. Some didn't come back.
Evans keenly recalled the events surrounding each photo of his military life, the names of his fellow soldiers and the injured patients that recovered or died under his care in a large field hospital on New Caledonia island, off the coast of Australia.
The 1000 bed hospital, the 29th General Hospital, was built on the French island.
1000 bed military hospital on New Caledonia where Evans was assigned
Evans (right) with soldiers recovering from war wounds
Evans with fellow medics surviving South Pacific heat
"They brought the injured from all the islands, mostly gunshot wounds and shrapnel," said Evans, who worked on the surgical ward, adding "We treated the native population, too."
"It was a never-ending stream of wounded men. It was the first use of the "miracle drug" penicillin. I made some great friends there, bonds that will never be broken," he said.
Evans said "If you had to, you could just
about survive on the plentiful coconuts"
"I was in Okinawa toward the end of the war, after the US dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. I walked over the bodies of many Japanese soldiers who committed suicide when Japan surrendered."
Sgt. Evans was engaged to high school senior Margie Williams, who wrote him every other day during the long war years from 1942 to 1945. He was officially discharged in 1946 while working to build a hospital in Seoul, Korea.
Evans at home on leave gets engaged to Margie
during the war. They are now married 64 years
Paul has been married to Margie for 64 years. They have three children, Sherry Dale Fowler of Parkersburg, Sharman Matthew of Arnoldsburg and Timothy Paul Evans of Indiana PA.
Margie was quick to note their 8 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
Evans retired from the Hope-Consolidated Gas Company after 36 years, and among his many interests is being a snake hunter, and having breakfast with his friends at the "Y" Restaurant.
"It was a time long ago, but the memories remain strong," Evans concluded.
Battlefield strewn with dead Japanese soldiers
LETTERS FROM THE PRESIDENTS
Letter sent to soldiers by President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Letter sent to soldiers after victory by President Harry Truman