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Examiner
  • Veteran Salute: Oliver Mullies

  • Veteran Salute: Oliver Mullies – World War II

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  • Veteran Salute: Oliver Mullies – World War II
    BRANCH OF SERVICE: Coast Guard
    YEARS SERVED: 1941-1946
    HOMETOWN: Independence
    JOINING UP
    Oliver Mullies was born in Worland, Mo. Oliver joined the Coast Guard in 1941. His parents thought it was better to join the service than to be drafted. His parents drove him to Springfield, Mo., where he was processed and put on a train to St. Louis. He went through boot camp in New Orleans. While on liberty for a few days, Oliver heard announcements over the radio that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and all military were to report back to their bases immediately.
    Oliver was sent to the Portsmouth, N.H., Navy Yard to lay submarine nets. It was so bitterly cold there that when Oliver walked to the mess hall, his eyes were frozen open. The thermometer read minus-50.
    Then, President Roosevelt declared war.
    WARTIME DUTY
    Oliver was then sent to Newport, R.I., where he had boarding duty. Tankers and freighters that wanted into the harbor had to know a code.  If they had the code, a net was dropped and they could get into the harbor.
    Oliver was sent to board the USS Wakefield AP-21 that had just been repaired after a torpedo attack. The USS Wakefield was fireproof from the top to the bottom, had the ability to carry 10,000 troops, and was able to make enough fresh water for a city of 25,000 people.
    The USS Wakefield left Boston to load and unload troops and made more than 20 crossings of the North Atlantic taking troops to Naples, Italy. The USS Wakefield was involved in taking troops to land for D-Day. They would take the troops 50-60 miles from the coast of France where an LST (Landing Ship Tank) would meet them to carry the troops forward.
    There were always Marines on board the ship for guard duty. The ship also transported German and Italian POWs. The POWs were brought to New York or Boston where they would get sent to work on farms. Farmers could check out POWs for the day to work on their farm. The ship also brought wounded soldiers back to Norfolk, Va.
    CIVILIAN LIFE
    Oliver was single while in the military. In June 1950 Oliver married his wife, Dorothy. Oliver and Dorothy had three sons. After Dorothy passed away, Oliver spent time walking at Rotary Park with a friend.  She told him about someone she thought he should meet. Oliver and Melba met and began dating and married in 2007. They enjoy going to country music shows together. Together, they have 20 grand and great-grandchildren.
    Oliver says the military was inspiring to him. He will never forget the feeling when he came back to New York City and sailed past the Statue of Liberty. It was one of the greatest things he had ever seen. He and the others on board would cry when they saw the statue because they knew they were really home. They were tickled to death to see the great USA.
    Page 2 of 2 - Peggy Sowders, who is on the staff for the city of Independence, compiles interviews with veterans from the entire area at the Truman Memorial Building. Contact her at psowders@indep.mo or 816-325-7979 if you are interested in helping a veteran tell his or her story.
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