Local veterans share their memories of World War II

Local WW2 Veterans

FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – At the age of twenty Bill Bowling worked at a factory in Loogootee, but after the attacks on the Pearl Harbor he knew that he would soon have to make a career change.

“We decided they weren’t going to draft us, so we joined the marines,” said Bowling, World War II veteran.

Bowling made a four year commitment to serve in the United States Marine Corps. During his time, Bowling says he and other marines invaded Guadalcanal. It was an invasion that came with some hardships.

“We were there about four months and our U.S. Navy had to leave because the japanese navy at that time was much stronger and the navy had to leave us without un-loggging all of our food,” Bowling said.

Although faced with the difficulties of war and having only rice to eat for several days, Bowling was able to return home and he says those who fought during World War II had a great responsbility.

“The military saved the country from Germany and Japan,” Bowling said.

James Riggins Sr. of Farmersburg was also a member of the United States Marine Corps in the south pacific during World War II.

Riggins says the process of entering the military wasn’t easy because of two children.

“I didn’t want to go off and leave them and it turned out I was drafted,” Riggins Sr. said, World War II veteran.

While serving, Riggins was shot in the back of his head and neck, which would later earn him a Purple Heart medal.  For years, Riggins has not had the physical medal because he says it was misplaced.

That changed Thursday afternoon, after Judy Brown, a military veteran herself, presented Riggins a new one.

“It’s really special. I’m tickled to death, I never thought I’d ever see it again,” Riggins said.

Although receiving wounds and fighting front-line battles, Riggins says he was proud to serve his country.

“I was proud to be a marine and I was glad a could do my little bit, whatever it was,” Riggins said.  

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