Albion Central Schools Veterans History Project

Roy McMurray

Click here for a complete transcript of Mr. McMurray's interview

ROY MCMURRAY: BIOGRAPHICAL & MILITARY SERVICE INFORMATION

  • Birthplace: Grafton, New York
  • Place of Residence*: Albion, New York
    *at time of interview
  • Wars of Service: World War II
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit/Division/Regiment/Ship: Eighth Division
  • Date of Birth: Jan. 13, 1915
  • Method of Induction: Enlisted
  • Service Dates: 1942 - 3/16/44
  • Place of Service: Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina

Mr. McMurray’s time in the army started off a little differently than most Americans’. ; firstly, he joined the military before the United States joined World War II and secondly, he did it on a dare. He and one of his good friends, Max Hedges/Hegeson***, were eating ice cream together one afternoon when Mr. McMurray’s friend said, “I dare you to do what I’m going to do tomorrow.” Not one to shy away from a dare, Mr. McMurray said he’d “dare to do anything” his friend would do…and so both men ended up voluntarily enlisting in the U.S. Army.

Mr. McMurray didn’t regret the decision, however, since joining the Army let him do many things that he otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the chance to do. For instance, being in the Army allowed him to travel across the country, and he spent time in a dozen different states before he left the service. He also received training in fields that he previously hadn’t known much about. His first assignment was as part of a medical outfit, so he began taking first aid classes. In morning and afternoon classes, he learned how to give injured soldiers pain killers, how to treat and wrap wounds, and other first aid skills. But after a while, he wanted to become a cook and was transferred to a cook and baker school and then to mess sergeants’ school. He passed both trainings and earned a rating for both, which allowed him to prepare and serve food in the Army. When he wanted a different duty later, he was given a job as an ambulance driver, which is what he continued to do until he left the service.

Mr. McMurray liked his work in the service, and was pleased to have so much more free time. When he worked on a farm before enlisting he worked 10 to 12 hours a day…but in the army, he only had to work about 8 hours a day, which gave him a lot more time to relax and enjoy other things. When he was off-duty, Mr. McMurray often went to the movies or into town to have a steak dinner with a friend. He also wrote home to his mother, about once every three weeks. Some soldiers passed the time by doing athletic things; for example, some men he knew passed the time by playing baseball. Mr. McMurray’s favorite athletic activity was probably when he was in South Carolina and he got the chance to go swimming in the four small lakes around the base where he was stationed.

Overall, Mr. McMurray enjoyed his time in the Army. Even the meals weren’t too bad, for the most part…although there were one or two times he recalls where the food wasn’t very good. One time, after eating, he had to “go on sick call,” meaning he was unable to work because he felt ill. Another time, he remembers going to the mess hall and finding it empty…everyone had left because the meal was so bad they couldn’t eat it and everyone had gone back to their barracks.

After leaving the military, Mr. McMurray joined the American Legion, a group of people who share an interest in the nation and in our history. He also goes to the Veteran’s Club occasionally. These organizations, and others like them, not only allow former members of the military to get together and talk about their experiences but also help remind people of the sacrifices these people made for our country.

WWII Helmet

World War II helmet worn by medics on the battlefields.