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Service in Pacific at war’s end: learning, growing experience
Written by Chandra L. Mattingly   
Thursday, November 08, 2012 4:56 PM

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Capt. William M. “Bill” McClure originally enlisted in the United States Army to “go fight the Japs,” he said.

Instead, the Rising Sun resident became friends with Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, later executed for war crimes. And McClure directed the building of a 2,200-bed hospital in just 10 days, using mostly Japanese prisoners of war for the labor.

McClure's fate likely would have differed had he not been diagnosed with a perforated eardrum during training. The Logan native enlisted in 1942 while a student at Purdue University, with just one semester to finish, he said. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had occurred Dec. 7, 1941, and the United States entered WW II thereafter.

“Me and 30 others went down to Fort Henry Harrison and signed up to fight the Japs,” he said. He registered in ROTC, and had bought a uniform in 1940, which he still can wear, said McClure, 92. He wore it recently when his accomplishments in the service were recognized at Aurora Farmers Fair.

But because of the problem with his eardrum while he was in training at Ft. Sill, Lawton, Okla., McClure was offered a choice: go home or stay and take a desk job.

Last Updated on Thursday, November 08, 2012 4:59 PM