Birthday: February 19, 1919
Birthplace: Halder, Wisconsin
Family: Ignatius and Matilda Boehm
Occupation: Cutter operator for Consolidated Papers
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank: 3rd Petty officer, coxswain
Entered Service Date: May 18, 1944
Discharge Date: October 19, 1945
Clem Boehm was drafted in 1944, he wasn't drafted until late in the war because he was married, and had three children. " My wife was a little upset when she heard that I was going off, but we kept in touch, we had a code...like when I was in the Marshall Islands, I had a cousin named Marcella do I'd write about Marcella. She also knew I was in Iwo Jima and Okinawa...She knew I got hit, cuz' I had a cousin who's ship got hit and I wrote something like that." In April 1944 we went to basic training for 6 weeks and then was shipped off to Pearl Harbor. From there Clem got on the USS Hinsdale headed to Iwo Jima, that is a small island that is 5 miles long and ¼ mile across.
Clem was in charge of driving a P-boat, or the boats that drove the marines to the shore. The P-boats or landing craft were 36' long; it could haul 36 marines, an engineer, a driver, and a signalman. Besides hauling the marines on they also had to take on the ammo, supplies, and lay a smoke screen. Clem's boat was in charge of laying a smoke screen. The smoke screen was put out to hide the fleet of ships.
"We spent 10 _12 days with 120 air raids, they hit 200 of our ships out of 1400.... We saw the Kamikaze 50 miles out and we just opened fire, you looked around and all you saw was fire, we got most of the planes but a few did get in."
The day of the invasion of Iwo Jima,"That day the waves where twenty feet high, I was climbing into my boat I turned around and looked back, the boat I was climbing into went down, I slipped and broke my leg. I watched the battle from the ship deck and saw the six guys raising the flag at Sarabatchi. The battle was a real bloody fight. "...And that island was all volcano as and rock. Those Japs were dug in there, and we could see them down there... That was two o'clock, in the morning...and there was we put 3,000 marines in twenty minutes. And they boated down as fast as we could put them on. They just kept walking over the dead. They had to establish the beachhead. We would take in a load of the marines in there. And in twenty minutes we would be back to the ship. And in twenty minutes we had casualties back on the ship...and they put on 56, 000 marines to get those 21,000 Japs. And they had 27,000 casualties. And that was wounded and killed. The Japs never gave up. I don't think they took 20, way less than 200 prisoners. If they where cornered, they jumped of the cliff. They'd take their swords and commit Hari-Kari. Their idea was to die for their emperor...that battle lasted 37 days...they thought they would take it in a week's time. But them Japs never gave up."
After the battle of Iwo Jima the 6,800 wounded where taken back to Saipan. At Saipan the Hinsdale got refueled and restocked for the invasion of Okinawa. On April 1 they arrived at Okinawa. On Easter Sunday morning the crew of the EPA 120 USS Hinsdale was just getting their order to take the marines to the shore "On the top deck we were getting ready to take the Marines in. When we got the orders to go get the people, suddenly a plane crashed into the Hinsdale. We heard the crash, and then all at once, we heard the sound of the plane going over. Here the plane was in our ship already. It was faster then sound." The ship was hit by a kamikaze. The kamikaze pilots knew where to hit the ship to do the most damage. "In the engine room they killed about 50. About half marines and half sailors." "The kamakazies did not come until the end. They believe they are going right straight to heaven when they die. They had all their joys the night before and they were going to die for the emperor."
under Learn and Serve American Grant #00LSFWI104