World War I 100 Year Anniversary On Veterans Day! Interview With A Vet!

World War I 100 Year Anniversary On Veterans Day! Interview With A Vet: Thank you to all the men and women who served! Today, we’re going to get a firsthand account of what happened in World War II. Hear a firsthand account of a POW that was in Nagasaki when the bomb was dropped! We’re going to also talk about some of the memorials and what we should be doing to honor Veterans Day and what you can be doing in your community to do that as well. Tune in now to learn more! 

Air Date: 11/12/2018

Guest: Rufus Chote

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


Listen:

Download: Click Here

Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always doing that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

Today, we’re definitely going to get some historical perspective on World War II and some amazing things that happened there. We’re actually going to get a firsthand account of that. We’re going to also talk about some of the memorials and what we should be doing to honor Veterans Day and what you can be doing in your community to do that as well.

Our conversation today is with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton’s with us, national speaker and pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator.

Check us out at WallBuildersLive.com for some of the archives of the program, to learn more about us as hosts, and also to be able to send in your questions. Send them to [email protected] and that way on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs we can add some of your questions in there.

Also go to WallBuilders.com for a wealth of information and tools that you can use to equip and inspire your family. All available right there at WallBuilders.com.

David, Tim, later in the program we’ll have a veteran with us. One of our programs we love to do, we try to do this several times a year, and actually get some of these guys on the program to get firsthand account, so it’s not just us talking about what happened. But we talk to the people that actually were there.

David:

Yeah, we talk to some folks that were there. And I had the opportunity to meet one of these really legend kind of guys not long ago. Actually where our ranch is here in Texas, it’s in a county that is not a very highly populated county. The entire county has 9,000 people in it. So, you take a county that’s fairly really kind of a country like that. And this county was started back in 1855. And for the length of its duration it’s never had a veterans memorial or any kind of a war memorial at all.

The Lost Battalion

David:

So, the pastor of a church where we attend really felt like we needed to do something to honor veterans. So, he put together a plan and it was a fantastic plan. He got the community involved and built actually what is one of the most beautiful war memorials I’ve ever been around. It’s just fantastic what was done with that and it is, again, better than I see in a lot of really big towns.

So, as it came time to dedicate that we actually had some World War II aircraft do a fly over on dedication there. And we had a good crowd turn out, hundreds of people turn out, and in a county that that small that’s a big turnout.

One of the folks we brought in that day was a veteran, Rufus Chote. We’re going to talk to him shortly. But Rufus was part of World War II. He was one of the World War II vets still alive and he was a prisoner of war for nearly all of World War II. He was actually being sent over to help support the Dutch in the Philippines and South Java when Pearl Harbor happened. So, he was already being deployed to help allies when the war broke out.

And what happened was that group of Texans, it was part of the Texas Division, that group of Texans was only fighting for a couple of days before the Dutch gave up and then they were made prisoners of war by the Japanese. Because they were made prisoner of war so quickly nobody back home knew what happened to that entire battalion. So, they were called the Lost Battalion. It was like 42 months before word got back that these guys are alive, but they’re prisoners of war.

And that Lost Battalion is, if anybody has ever seen the movie, great Hollywood movie, called The Bridge Over the River Kwai, the Texans in the Lost Battalion, that was about them The Bridge Over the River Kwai. Now, not all the Texans were involved in that story and Rufus was actually sent to Nagasaki and was there when the atomic bomb dropped as a prisoner of war in Nagasaki. So, he has a really interesting perspective. This is a guy who has been through hell in a very real sense as a prisoner of war. And it was just such an honor to have him there at the dedication to the memorial to be able to honor him and to be able to honor all our veterans.

So, Rufus Chote out of Texas, he’s out of Abilene area. He was part of the Lost Battalion. Great story that he has.

Rick:

Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with Rufus Chote here on WallBuilders Live.

Share a veteran’s story

We Want To Hear Your Vet Story

Rick:

Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live.  Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.

You have friends and family that also served.  If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at [email protected]  Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!

David:

Rufus, it is such an honor to be with you. Thank you for taking the time to be at the dedication memorial. We appreciate you and your service. And let me just kind of start with when you became a prisoner of war. How did that come about? What were you doing, what were you thinking, what was going on?

Rufus Chote:

March of ‘42.

What Did You Do As a Prisoner of War?

David:

March of ‘42 – wow.

Rufus Chote:

And really, December of ‘42, well, in fact, on December 7th of ‘42 was when I arrived in Japan.

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

In Nagasaki where we put to work in a shipyard. And we were there two and a half years until toward the midsummer ‘45 when the Japanese was certain that they were going to be invaded.

David:

What did they had you guys doing as a prisoner of war?

Rufus Chote:

We worked on a ship guard, everything just right side by side with the Japanese. We had guys riveting and, well, what they called a crew. One of them heated the rivets and tossed them over to another guy who put them in a hole. And two men on a riveting gun – one backing it up and one riveting. We had a lot of welders.

The Japs told us, one of these kids told us point blank that he said– they were always talking about the invasion. He said, “The first American to set foot on our land, our homeland,” he said, “we’re going to kill all of you POWs and then we’ll fight to the last man, woman, and child.” And that was their strong belief. They had been told that so long. And it would have happened if they had had an invasion.

Because we had been working a whole lot digging tunnels back into the hill about so far in and we would see how they would stock that with food, and ammunition, and medical supplies, and everything. And then a man on a gun, a field *, or machine gun, or something, up in the face and they would shoot from there.

They did that Okinawa, you know. And they had, until someone was able to blast the entrance to death, it was pretty hard to defend against.

An Effective Strategy

David:

Yeah, that was all over the Pacific. That was a really effective thing that they did.

Rufus Chote:

Well, they were doing that all over the island and I could see why.

David:

So, they moved you out just before the bombs were dropped on Japan then?

Rufus Chote:

Well, our camp was on an island out in Nagasaki Bay about six miles from downtown Nagasaki.

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

Whenever I saw Nagasaki, we left there by train in June to go back to this coal mine camp in Northern * island. And then when the war was over, well, we were still here about 30 day–

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

Waiting on the recovery team to come in.

David:

So, did you get any news at all about what was happening in Europe, or the Pacific, or anything?

Rufus Chote:

There was an English language newspaper called the *New Palm Times. Of course, it was all propaganda, but you could read it. The propaganda was coming from the Solomon Islands, and the next day it was coming from an island closer this way, the next day it was coming closer. Well, you could see the progress of the war.

A Real Amusing Term

Rufus Chote:

But they had a real amusing term. They would say, “Forty of our faithful fighters flew out and engaged the enemy, bombed so and so. Thirteen of them came back and seven are yet to return.” They never would admit they had 20 people lost, but half of them was always hit.

David:

They were always on their way back eventually. Wow.

Rufus Chote:

But that was printed in their paper. But we could– people could bribe some of the Japs down there to bring a paper in. You got caught with it, it would be bad, but they were smuggled around and everybody got the news one way or another. But that way you could see the war was getting closer to the home islands all the time.

David:

So, you could tell that it was going the right direction–

Rufus Chote:

Right.

David:

–and it was coming to a close at some point.

Rufus Chote:

And the same thing about the European war. It was always– the Germans was always winning, but there was always **.

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

Road the same train back through Nagasaki and I saw all the devastation.

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

Just two and a half months after I’d seen the whole city.

One Bomb

David:

Had you heard about it all while you were in the camp? Had anybody said anything?

Rufus Chote:

No, not officially. But we had a habit of questioning the kids. They had kids working there until about 16 and then they went into the military. And between our accumulated Japanese, and some of them spoke a little bit English, a lot of sign language, we was always asking them questions.

This kid one day, I was asking him something there, and oh, he looked real bad. He said, “Nagasaki is all gone. One bomb.”

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

SPEAKER: M2

I thought, “Hmm, I guess we kind of got a little bit carried away here.”

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

What I compared it with, in the early part of the war in Europe, Germany was dropping what they called “blockbuster” bombs on London. I thought, “Well, they probably improved that a whole lot during the war there and it’s probably a bigger bomb.” But I couldn’t, even in my own mind, see one bomb, or one of anything, that would destroy the– Nagasaki was a pretty big area–

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

–and it’s in the valley, like–

They Disappeared

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

When we came back in later, of course, we knew after the war was over, we knew what had happened. It’s kind of funny – after the war ended, the camp commander said we had to stay in the camp. He said, “The guards will be on the outside for your protection, but you’re not to leave the camp.” Well, that lasted about five-six days until we got rested up, got a little food in our stomach and everything, and we started venturing out wherever we wanted to go.

Well, three or four of these guys–

David:

Were there any guards on the outside actually or did they just say there were?

Rufus Chote:

No, no.

David:

They war was over. They were gone.

Rufus Chote:

They disappeared, yeah.

David:

Wow. Wow.

Rufus Chote:

Anyway, they rode the trains down to Nagasaki, got the ferry out to the island, and went out there, they wouldn’t let them in. We had a, let’s see, one American doctor, a doctor and a dentist was the only two officers there. And I believe just one * from Fredericksburg. He’s dead now.

But anyway, they were afraid they were radioactive–

David:

Oh wow.

Miles of Scorching

Rufus Chote:

So, they wouldn’t let them in. They came on back home, but apparently none of us suffered any effects of it.

But coming back from the cold mine camp, as I said, the train was going kind of uphill a little bit and we could see the trees out here. And you could see the blast, the line of the, the trajectory of the land, you know.

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

It was all burned on this side.

David:

Wow.

Still green and natural on this side.

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

But it was just obvious that the heat of that thing, what it did–

David:

It scorched it miles away. Wow.

Rufus Chote:

And, of course, the only thing I can remember standing was two or three concrete structures, but the rest of it was just rubble.

David:

Wow.

That Was the End

Rufus Chote:

Of course, we didn’t stop. The train went right on through and then the doctor unloaded us off the train, of course we were into American custody then. But some of us went on aboard ship the next day and we were off and gone and that was the end of Japan.

David:

So, how long after you get back to the United States did did you muster out? When were you done with service?

Rufus Chote:

Oh, about six months.

David:

Six months.

Rufus Chote:

I got my discharge in May of ‘46.

David:

May of ‘46. Wow. Once you got out, got back home, and looking back, what was the most surprising thing that you didn’t hear about that surprised you when you got back?

Rufus Chote:

Well, really, what was really happening.

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

The battles and everything. Like back Nimitz and when he wiped out a good part of the Navy, those big battles that happened, you never heard of the bad side for Japan.

David:

How big a part did faith play in stuff when you were in Japan? How’d your faith come into bear?

What Part Did Faith Play?

Rufus Chote:

Fortunately, one of the officers who was in charge of our party, traveled a good deal, was a Christian, claimed to be. And he stepped in there a lot of times. I know we were allowed to have a church service in a room there. Japs had a habit of, they’d print signs out, or tags, so they’d let us have church service in a room nobody was living in. And we had to have a tag on the door stating that it was church services. Nobody ever bothered us in there.

I never could see whether the Japanese professed much religion. I’m sure they– I know they had a religion, but they didn’t seem to push anything like that more or less. If they were left alone they didn’t bother anybody. That’s kind of my idea. It might not be correct, but we were allowed to have a church service.

David:

Interesting.

Rufus Chote:

Only trouble was we couldn’t get very many to come to church.

David:

Wow.

Rufus Chote:

Kind of like at home.

David:

It’s still the same problem we’ve got today. Yeah, nothing’s changed. For so many kids, particularly, knowing any details about World War II is just, they just don’t get it today very much, they don’t get much history.

Rufus Chote:

Well, they’re blanking out so much stuff. You take and, well, like our kids. My son now, he knows a whole lot. He was– in school they covered a lot of stuff. But after him, after his age, they believe in whatever instruction is now and they don’t want to bring it up and I don’t know why. It should be brought up.

What Do You Really Want Kids to Know Today?

David:

It should be taught. What are things you would really want kids to know today?

Rufus Chote:

Well, we have a saying, you’ve heard it before, is that freedom is not cheap.

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

You want to cuss the government, but it’s best government around that we know about. I don’t know of any other one around that I’d care to think about living under.

David:

Yeah.

Rufus Chote:

Patriotism is kind of a laughed at. But I got out bent out of joint a few times during the Vietnam War. I guess because my son was in it couple of years.

But I was in construction work and we were doing a job out at SMU one time. And these kids got out there and they put a bunch of flags out there altogether protesting the Vietnam War. You want to– tough term is you want to go there and kick butts, but you knew you couldn’t because your company would be in trouble, and you’d be in trouble, and you couldn’t win anyway because the college pretty much was allowing it, so you could say they was in favor of it, I guess.

David:

Well, you guys paid such a high price for everything that they take for granted, that we all take for granted now. It is a high price and one of the things we like doing is telling the stories of individual people. Because what little they get in history books, they don’t they don’t know the stories. And so your story is one of those things that will help them understand that it’s real people, and it’s real sacrifice. So, thank you. Thank you much.

Rufus Chote:

Well, I’m happy to do it.

David:

Rufus, we appreciate your service, all you’ve done for the country. It’s our honor to be able to honor you and thank you. Thank you for being part of this. We’ll be back in a Veterans Day Special

Tim:

We want to let you guys know about a TV special coming up on Veterans Day. Actually, for TBN we’ve been filming throughout the year a series of holiday specials. And the holiday coming up right now is Veterans Day.

David:

And we were able to sit down with three amazing veterans and hear their stories. Actually, two of them are congressmen. Congressman Barry Loudermilk, who was in the Air Force, who was one of the guys that was shot at in the baseball shooting, congressional baseball shooting, had more bullets fired at him than any other Congressman.

And then Congressman Steve Russell who helped capture Saddam Hussein. An amazing story. And then Chad Robicheaux who went through eight deployments in Afghanistan.  It’s amazing what he did as a special forces guy. And they get to share those stories with us. And we’ve known them for years and the details they shared are things we’ve not even heard before.

Tim:

Yeah, there are aspects of the story that we thought we knew some of their story and they’re sharing and we’re going, “Okay, we had no idea that that happened in your life.” It really was something so fun to help capture these stories. And, obviously, we want to honor veterans on Veterans Day. Watch the program, learn about these stories, and appreciate our veterans.

Rick:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Very special thanks to Rufus Chote for joining us here on WallBuilders Live. And, David, thanks for doing the interview, man. Thanks for bringing that information to our listeners.

Struck by a Couple of Things

David:

I tell you, it was a blast being with them. It’s an honor. He has such an upbeat attitude, such a healthy, wholesome, attitude. It was fun being able to sit down and interview him. We did that interview right after we did the dedication at the memorial, so it was fun being with him and talking about all sorts of stuff and getting his perspective. And actually got to talk to him about a whole lot more than we recorded, a whole lot more than got played, and his perspective is absolutely amazing.

As a matter of fact, I was really struck by a couple of things. One is when the boy said, “One bomb, no city.” And it’s like, yeah, that’s that blockbuster stuff, the Germans must have developed something new. He had no idea what they were talking about with the atomic bomb. And then as he was able to see the city didn’t exist anymore, and then he got back, and the American GIs weren’t taking some of the prisoners of war because they thought they might be radioactive. They were there in Nagasaki when the bomb hit.

Tim:

That would be a really weird thing, right. Especially when you don’t know if somebody is radioactive or not. And if you were a prisoner and you’re so happy that you are no longer a prisoner and yet nobody will come near you, nobody wants to talk to you, they don’t want to take you on their ship, or on their vessel, on their plane. That would be a very weird, uncomfortable, situation, when you’re celebrating and yet you’re ostracized. That would be so unique. I can only imagine what some of that must have been like. But that is a really interesting thought.  

David:

It was such an unusual time because we dropped the bomb only a week after we had successfully tested it. So, we didn’t even know what the radius was going to be on some of that stuff. We talked in one program about how that Paul Tibbets and the planes in the air, they didn’t know what the blast radius was going to be up in the air. So, they dropped that thing from 31,000 feet and they hurried their plane as far away as they could get. They were 14 miles away when the shockwave hit them. And the shockwave blew them to a force of 3.2 G at 14 miles away. Nobody knew what was going to happen. And other planes that were circling 15 miles out, it blew the lens out of their cameras and they thought they were at a safe distance.

So Much Was Unexpected

David:

So, so much of what happened was unexpected. And I’m certain nobody had a clue what the radioactive fallout was going to be, or whether you could be contaminated as a human, and whether it was contagious – do you have an atomic virus? I can imagine the uncertainty that existed back there at that point in time because this is a brand new thing that’s just not been used before.

Rick:

I wonder how long before people weren’t looking at him with a little bit of, “I’m not sure I want to be in the same room.” You know what I mean? Did that take a while? Because we didn’t know what radiation really meant at that time. Most people didn’t.

David:

No, lot did not know. But at the same time, it’s like you have such a camaraderie in the military that he’s one of ours and–

Rick:

Yeah.

David:

–we’re going to bring him back into the fold. So, it was raised kind of as an issue, but not really a big thing that kept them from getting back together. And for all of that he went through, spending nearly the entirety of World War II in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and he was really upbeat. He did not cover a lot of the details of the harshness of the treatment from the Japanese. He kind of alluded to it said, “Well you kind of learned how to how to say things to these guys and which ones were going to beat you.”

But he had a real kind of a wholesome, upbeat, kind of look back at what was happening. And that was just kind of his personality. He was just a really, really, upbeat guy and it was a great interview.

Compilation of Interviews

Rick:

We’ve actually compiled some of our interviews from over the years to make that available on a CD. People can also go into the archives and listen to more of these. Why do you guys think it’s important to share– not just share these stories with our listener audience, but get them to share it with their kids and grandkids to remind them about these kinds of sacrifices?

Tim:

Well, Rick, one of the things obviously, that we promote at WallBuilders is remembering our history – who we are and where we came from. So much history has been forgotten. And for so many of these veterans, their stories just have not been largely told and people have no idea the sacrifices that were made for our freedom. Which is why, obviously, on Veterans Day we take time to honor the people that have sacrificed for our freedom.

But one of the things that we’ve long encouraged people to do is ask them their story – what did you do in the military? What experiences did you have? And praise God some people did not have to go and serve in combat scenarios. Some people served in times of peace, some people served in this Cold War era where there was a constant threat, a constant concern, of what might happen.

And then you’ve had people, right, from Operation Enduring Freedom, or Desert Storm, or this war on terror, and so many things that have gone on. There are so many military veterans living in our nation. And not only do we want to appreciate them for their sacrifice for freedom. We want to remember their stories so we know exactly what price was paid for our freedom.

Rick:

Well, hopefully it’ll inspire others to be willing to give a little bit. If you think about it, these guys were willing to give everything – we’re only asked to give a little bit. Spend a little bit of our time, basically our life, investing in studying the Constitution, sharing these stories, learning more about the foundations that worked and what we need to do to make a nation and a society that thrives and has prosperity and freedom. So, that takes time. So, that’s a little bit of our life.

Lives, Fortunes, and Sacred Honor

Rick:

And we’re also challenged to give little to our fortune, just like the founding fathers did. Just like all of these guys like Rufus and others that serve, they gave up years of their lives, in the prime of their life, that’s a big part of their fortune. But even financially to invest in freedom by donating to candidates that stand for these things, by investing in good organizations like WallBuilders that’s out there spreading the word, by being willing to literally put your money where your values are.

And then sacred honor is sharing these truths and speaking truth regardless of what the cost might be in a culture that sometimes doesn’t want to hear that there is truth. There is a cost, but we’ve got to be willing to give our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.  So, what a great way to do that. Share this program with others, so they can learn the same things we’ve learned today and understand the value of the sacrifice that came before us.

It’s really having a heart of gratitude. Just literally being grateful for what we’ve been given and the sacrifice of generations before us. But then saying, “Okay, because of that gratitude, I’m going to do my part. I’m not going to just enjoy the blessings of liberty. I’m also going to bear the burden, I’m also going to do my part to make sure those blessings are alive for the next generation.

World War I 100 Year Anniversary On Veterans Day! Interview With A Vet!

Rick:

So lives, fortunes, sacred honor. We can all give a little bit of those three things. Specifically, I’m going to ask you to give a little bit of your time right now to go to WallBuilders.com, click on our opportunity for you to donate to WallBuilders, give a little bit of your fortune. When I say a little bit, I mean a little bit. Give up a fancy coffee a month, or whatever it might be for five bucks a month, to help us continue this great mission that we’re on to rebuild the foundations of America. You can be a big part of that.

Go to WallBuilders.com today and join us. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.

2018-11-14T23:43:08+00:00November 12th, 2018|Godly History & Good News|0 Comments

Leave A Comment