Interview of Jose Frausto
By Eduardo Hernandez
Ed.= Eduardo Hernandez
Mr.- Mr. Jose Frausto
Ed: I am here with Mr. Frausto regarding his experience in World War II. Did you get drafted first of all?
Mr.: Yeah , I got drafted.
Ed: In what year did you get drafted?
Mr.: in 1942. I donít know if it was in 1942 in October or November. We were three brothers that got drafted and we couldnít be drafted all at the same time.
Ed: Right, so did you get drafted first?
Mr. Yeah, I was drafted first.
Ed: You were the first one?
Mr.: We were four brothers here in the war and then my youngest brother, well he came in later because they didnít want to take him, because we were supposed to leave one guy, one man in the family.
Ed: So one of them had to stay?
Mr.: Yeah, one of them had to stay. Also he wasnít old enough. He was, oh letís see, 16 or 17 yrs. Old.
Ed: And are you originally from Del Rio?
Mr.: Yeah, I am originally from Del Rio.
Ed: And when you got drafted, did you report toi Laughlin AirForce base?
Mr.: No I reported up here. I was in Colorado working up there in filedworks.
Mr.: When they drafted me I had to come up here.
Ed: You had to come back to Del Rio?
Mr.: I had to report here and we were a lot of them. They drafted a lot and a lot were from the same family, you know also we were 2 or 3 guys from a family. We were all workers, you know.
Mr.: Weíve been working forever and thatís why it started.
Ed: ok, and did you do basic training here in Laughlin.
Mr.: No, I went to El Paso.
Ed: In Fort Bliss?
Mr.: Yeah, Fort Bliss in El Paso.
Ed: Ok, you got your basic training there?
Mr. In Fort Bliss.
Ed: And that same year you went to England?
Mr.: No, I went to the Japanese south, from here I went to Australia.
Ed: Oh, you went to Japanese south?
Mr.: Yeah, and then I went to Australia, with the big kangaroos and all this and whatever, you know those animals with two feet and with the long tail
Ed: Right, yes.
Mr.: All these animals lived in small places and have big tails, anyway from here I went to Australia.
Ed: Did you have any combat there in Australia?
Mr.: No, no there was no combat, it was just a filed where they would just receive the soldiers.
Mr.: So they could be transferred overseas. We were received and from there we went to New Kinney.
Ed: New Kinney, that is?
Mr. The jungles of New Kinney, we stayed there for a year.
Ed: And was there a base there, a US base?
Ed: Or that was actual combat?
Mr.: No, it was supposed to be actual combat, but It was like I say. We were supposed to guard an air strip. So they sent us and Colonel Quwi. He was the commander, he was from Westpoint. He wanted to be where the combat was.
Mr.: So he volunteered and we helped the army a lot of times because during the night the Japanese would streak out and come up back and do the same damage up here where the infantry was.
Ed: oh ok.
Mr. From there we went to the invasion of Lusan.
Ed. The invasion of where?
Mr.: Lusan, the Philippines Island.
Ed: the Philippines Island and from there?
Mr.: a little boat picked us up at New Kinney, one late afternoon. We didnít know where we were going or what was going to happen.
Mr.: We didnít know it was going to be an invasion. The US had us for as the eye can see. Just like a movie, you know. The aircraft carriers and this and that, also destroyed what ever.
Ed: Everything was there?
Mr.: Everything was there.
Ed: Ready to invade?
Mr.: They would send a few Japanese to invade the convoy and they would sneak down to the bottom of the ajacks where they eat and sleep. All of these is where the Japanese were and where their ammunition was.
Ed: Ok, After you invaded the Phillipines?
Mr.: Yeah, we invaded Lusan, Yeah before Manila.
Ed: Before Manila. How many days was the combat there, was it several days?
Mr. Well, it was several days, I donít know how many days, 2 or 3 days, but when we went in they had already shot down everything that was inside.
Mr.: So there were some hills up there and the Japanese went to the hills. So we didnít see combat there. Well, we saw combat but we were not in front.
Ed: Right, you saw very little combat, just what was left.
Mr.: From then on, we had been in there because we were an aircraft carrier with 50 calibur machine guns, 40 amililiter guns for the aircrafts. We also had motor pools.
Ed: Motor pools?
Mr.: Yeah, motor pools, thatís were they cut the rader.
Mr.: It is for the airplanes. To tell you where they were ( Japanese soldiers) and then you get the thing like that and cut off whatever you wanted because since they were airplanes they could explode anywhere, so it was something very important at that time.
Ed: Ok, so your infantry was in charge of?
Mr.: Well no, we were on the back, we volunteered but we were on the back.
Ed: oh, ok.
Mr. Where there was no fighting.
Mr. No actual fighting, some were unable to see people. Ed: Ok, that was in the Philippines, from the Philippines after the war.
Mr.: oh no, thatís as far as we went.
Ed: Thatís as far as you went?
Mr.: We went in the invasion and it was like the movie.
Ed: Do you remember what year it was?
Mr. yeah it was in 1943.
Ed: in 1943.
Mr. No I went in 1942, and stayed in New Kinney one whole year. I donít know I think it was Jan of 43, when the invasion of the Phillipines. I knew McAuthur said, I shall return, he didnít say when.
Ed: Oh McAuther?
Mr.: he said that.
Ed: But you never saw him there?
Ed: General McAuther.
Mr.: I am glad we went up here because we were trained in the hear, oh maybe 100 degrees or so. I took my training in the Mohavi desert.
Ed: Oh you took your training in the Mohavi desert?
Mr. In 110 or 115 degrees.
Ed: Before going over there in combat?
Mr.: itís funny how the Mohavi desert is very hot during the day 110 and 115 and at night its cold, very cold.
Ed: So over there in the Philippines it was during that time.
Mr.: Oh yeah, it was hot, but not as hot as up here.
Ed: Right. Your brothers, where they sent too?
Mr.: Oh my brothers, my oldest brother was in the Airforce, he was an airplane mechanic. My second brother, he was the one that really got it, because he was in the infantry.
Ed: He was in the infantry, where did he go to?
Mr.: he went to Germany. My youngest brother went to the Navy. He went to see me when I was up there and right away they gave me a weekend pass and he stayed up there.
Ed: And you said your youngest brother got the worst of it?
Mr: No, my second Brother. Gregorio was the oldest one, Norbert was the second one, and Jose, that was me, and David was the youngest one. He was in the navy.
Ed: Did they talk about their experiences?
Mr.: No, they never; we never talked about it.
Ed: You just wanted to forget about all that?
Ed: It was a hard time, what year did you come back?
Mr.: It was in 1946.
Ed: In 1946.
Mr: Thatís when they dropped the atomic bomb, no 1945 thatís when they dropped the bomb.
Ed: But you never got to see any of that were already out there?
Mr.: No, I was in a different place.
Ed: oh ok. You came back in 1946?
Mr.: Yeah, January 1946.
Ed: You came back to Laughlin?
Mr.: No, I came back to the same place in Fort Bliss, thatís where I took my training.
Ed: From there the war was over, and you came back to Del Rio?
Mr: Yeah to Del Rio.
Ed: How was Del Rio, a very small town?
Mr.: Well, no, it was a small town and when I got here the MP pick me up because there was a base there.
Ed: Did all your brothers come back safely.
Mr.: Yeah, we all came back safely, it had been a long time that we didnít see each other and we lived a long life. Then David died, then Norberto died.
Ed.: ok, And how was Del Rio, where there many stores?
Mr.: No it was a small town.
Ed: Anything you remember?
Mr: Well, here in Del Rio, was the boiling alley, there was no building. There was no hospital in Del Rio.
Ed: Later I know that in the barrio of Chihuahua they built a hospital.
Mr.: yeah this was a hospital down here.
Ed: Where the Del Rio Nursing home is at it used to be a hospital.
Mr.: Yeah, it used to be a hospital and now a nursing home.
Ed: I guess thatís it anything else you remember about Del Rio.
Mr.: No it was small town because there was no hospital here.
Ed: You donít remember the flood of 1954?
Mr. Yeah, I walked all the way from Bracketville to Del Rio because I had a date with my girlfriend (my wife). And they told us no, itís flooded in Del Rio. I also went there for a checkup. I donít remember what was wrong with me but something was wrong with me anyway.
Ed: You had to come back
Mr: Yeah, I had to come up here and the buses couldnít make it. They said that they could only make it to Uvalde and from there we slept out there or the outside of a store.
Ed: And you walked from Bracketville all the way to Del Rio?
Mr.: Yeah all the way to Del Rio. There was no way I could cross and the only way I could cross was from the railroad track bridge although it was blooded the big bridge wasnít.
Ed.: in the last flood of 1998, did your home get flooded?
Ed: Ok, Mr. Frausto, thank you very much.