World War II Veterans History Project
The Fort Smith Historical Society

World War II, the “Good War,” ended in 1945, over 60 years ago, but we are still trying to describe and understand it. The World War II generation is fast dying off, and their stories are dying with them. As they move into their 80s and 90s, many of the remaining veterans are ready to tell their stories, which can serve as valuable lessons for today’s generation. The Fort Smith Historical Society is in the process of interviewing local World War II veterans, making video recordings of the wartime experiences as told to an interviewer in the veteran’s home. An interview is usually one hour or two in length, with a few minutes necessary to complete paperwork. The veteran will receive a video copy of his interview on a DVD.

We welcome your nominations for persons to be interviewed.  If you would like to make a nomination, you may due so by completing an Interview Nomination Form and mailing it back to us at the address noted on the form.

R.C. Goodman seen aboard the Queen Mary, on his way to Europe in fall of 1944. His Arkansas National Guard unit was sent to Nome, Alaska in September 1941, when he had his 21st birthday aboard ship. In September 1944 he was again aboard a troop ship, for his 24th birthday, when 15,000 officers and enlisted men, replacement troops, were aboard the Queen Mary for the 5-day Atlantic crossing. It was an eventful trip for Goodman as he was a 1st Lieutenant in charge of 200 MPs to keep order aboard ship during the crossing. There were 2 men assigned to every bunk, one used the bunk during the day, another during the night. On the 5th day, Goodman was assigned as escort to accompany Sir Winston Churchill, who was aboard with his wife and his entire general staff.  Churchill wanted to speak with the American troops aboard ship on their way to Britain.  Goodman was with the 9th Army, 102nd Infantry Division.
Charles P. Alley, a Benton, Arkansas native, joined the US Navy on Mar. 3, 1942. After basic training he went aboard the destroyer, USS Carmack, for duty in the Atlantic during the African campaign. In August 1943 he was transferred to the USS Charles J. Badger, a Fletcher class destroyer for duty in the Aleutians, before transferring to the destroyer USS Twining for antisubmarine duty in the Pacific. He returned to Fort Smith in 1945 and went to work at Flanders Industries in 1958-1959. Later, he and his son put in a furniture factory in Van Buren and one in Fort Smith, where he is still involved.

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Read Transcripts of the Interviews

R..C. Goodman Charles Alley Emory Lundquist Orville Bittle Ken Boley
Jim Champagne Ben Core Don Flanders Wendell Foran Elvin Frick
Delmer Clive Gray Clara (Rogers) Hall Roy Henderson John Holland Carter Hunt
Seborn Jackson Thurman Jordan Fred King Henry Lowey Earl Muck
Willie Newman Albert Rogers Paul Schaefer Warren Taylor Wayne Treadway
Vern Ussery Don Watts Bob Yada Ted and Betty Skokos  
  Emery "Swede" Lundquist served on the destroyer, USS. Monaghan, in the Pacific theater and was aboard ship inside Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th, 1941.  The Monaghan was able to escape from the harbor without damage, and in the process they intercepted, shot, and then rammed a Japanese two-man sub.  Swede was one of the two men who fired the shot which sank the submarine that fateful morning.

Emery Lundquist: 
...So I heard the machine gun rattling, so I ran up the ladder and I heard some more machine gun going and this was real early. So I ran to my gun, and while I was on the way, I felt a real blast of heat, and that was when the ARIZONA blew up.


Read the oral history interview with Emery Lundquist.


Emery "Swede" Lundquist

We are interested in the spoken history of American war veterans of all branches of the service: the Air Corp, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Merchant Marine, and Seabees, with an emphasis on World War II. We would also like to document the contributions of civilians such as Red Cross, war industry workers and medical volunteers who supported these troops. Related documents such as photographs and manuscripts, as well as written memoirs, diaries, collections of letters, photographs, or maps are welcomed.

Jose Bunda, left, is a native of the Philippines. He joined the Army when he was just 18, after high school graduation, serving with an infantry unit, a branch of the U.S. Army.  He went on to serve in the infantry and artillery during World War II. He was taken prisoner on Corregidor in 1942, survived a death march, escaped from a Japanese forced labor camp, and joined a guerrilla unit, where he fought until the war ended in 1945.

On Monday, November 13, 2000 the old veteran, retired First Lt. José Bunda, 88, honored for heroism, sits next to a large glass-covered frame containing the medals and decorations he received for 30 years of service to the United States.


With the help of family friend, Danny Byrd,  Jose Bunda researched his military service, discovering honors for which he had not received recognition.  A group called Military Honors in San Antonio assisted the two in cataloging the medals Bunda had earned, and were able to see that Bunda received 11 more of the 16 medals to which he was entitled. 

Bunda and wife, Rosario, moved to Arkansas when Jose was stationed at Chaffee in 1957. He retired in 1962 after serving for 30 years in the U.S. Army.  Among the medals he earned are the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Prisoner of War (Bataan Death March), Army Good Conduct Medal (Bronze clasp, 5 citations), American Defense Service (Bronze service star - 2 citations), Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal, World War 2 Victory Medal, Army of Occupation medal, (Germany clasp), Korean Service Medal (Bronze service star -3 citations), and Presidential Unit Citation Medal (Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster - 3 citations).


This collection of the spoken word, the oral history of a generation of American war veterans, will be archived by the Society in files at the Fort Smith Public Library, to serve as a record of American veterans’ wartime experiences for future generations. We might also use a story for publication in our Journal, for presentation on the Society’s website, and other scholarly and educational purposes. These files are made available to scholars, researchers, or family members.

The interviews are underway now, with many veterans’ stories already recorded and more scheduled in coming weeks.

We encourage area vets who are interested in participating to call 479/785-0309, or 479/646-9140.


Donations are tax deductible and may be mailed to:

Fort Smith Historical Society
3201 Rogers Ave.
P.O. Box 3676
Fort Smith, AR.  72913-3676

or contact us at

Wayne Treadway, England 1945 joined the US Air Corps on November 17, 1942, after working in San Diego, California at Consolidated Aircraft for 10 months. After boot camp at Shepherd Field, Texas, he was sent to mechanics school. After advanced flight training in Altus, Okla., where he received his wings and second lieutenant bars. He trained with a B-17 crew, then was sent to England to the 384th Bomb Group for training in combat flying. On his 19th mission, Feb. 3, 1945, while assigned to a 2,000 plane armada with the 8th Air Force to bomb Berlin railroads, his plane was shot down.  The entire crew of eight had bailed out.  He was captured and moved to a POW camp outside Nuremburg, where he remained for two months before being sent on a forced 12-day march to Moosburg prison camp.  There he remained until liberated by Patton's army. After he was discharged on November 5, 1945 he worked for Robins Buick as a body shop man, before opening his own business in Fort Smith Arkansas, which he and his son still operate, Treadway Body Shop.
Born in 1922 in Logan County, Files went into the Navy in September 1942. After training he spent time in Millington, Tennessee at the naval station there, before being assigned to a ship which took on duty as mother ship to ten sub chasers from California to Honolulu. At Pearl Harbor they refueled, took on supplies, and headed for the combat zone. Island hopping to the combat zone. Files and his crew mates saw action in Subic Bay, Okinawa and other parts of the Pacific Theater. After discharge from the Navy in November 1945, he joined the Air Force in 1949, serving until he returned home in 1953. At the time he participated in the reactivation of the Air National Guard here at Fort Smith, becoming a charter member of the 188th, which was the 184th at the time.

Bill Files takes a break aboard ship in the Pacific in the spring of 1945.

Photo Courtesy of Bill Files