CLAY CITY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — 100 year old Earl Orman and his younger brother 97 year old Bob grew up in the Clay City area, as part of a family who lived through the depression. Earl says that period was difficult with soup lines and unemployment. Their dad did have work in the coal mines.. that meant Earl and Bob worked the farm.
After high school.. Earl joined the Civilian Conservation Corp. he also built basements with a
brother in law Michigan. Later he was worked at an ordinance factory in Vigo County.
In 1943, he was drafted into the Army and was trained in the Airborne and Glider division, as a
paratrooper. First stop in the war, was New Guinea, then the Philippines. He spent months in Leyte and in Luzon fighting the Japanese.
Earl was a lead scout, which meant he looked for the enemy and reported back to his superiors
It was very dangerous. Death and destruction was everywhere. He saw his friends die, he saw the enemy die.
“I’m not proud of who I killed, but it was either that or me,” said Earl Orman.
It took weeks for U.S forces to take the airport near Manilla. His platoon started with 37 and after it was over, only 10 remained.
One time his squad was pinned down by enemy machine guns. He said he was flat on the ground and then rolled over on his side.
“When I rolled over on my side, a bullet hit right where I was laying,” said Earl.
Younger brother Bob admittedly had it easier. He too was in the army stationed in Hawaii as a cook. But his duty was also important to the war effort and he’s proud to have served.
“I had a pretty good deal and didn’t see any fighting,” said Bob Orman.
After the war, they both returned to Indiana. Bob worked several jobs including CBS Records.
Earl worked for years at the Crane Naval base. Unfortunately, both of their wives have passed. But they have a big family with kids, grandkids and more.
Today, they enjoy spending time with each and remembering the past and even looking at
some of items collected during the war.