D.L. Kennedy, Severino Armijo, Harold D. Burris

Sharna Johnson

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

D.L. Kennedy

Date of birth: Aug. 6, 1923

Dates of Service: April 8, 1944 to Dec. 23, 1945

Hometown: Avonell, Calif.

Lives in: Portales

Theater or location of service: Pacific, stationed on Guam

Branch: Army-Air Force

Rank: Corporal

Unit and specialty: 20th Air Force, 16th Bomb Group, Air Force ground crew, motor transport

After discharge: Bakersfield, Calif.

In his words: One of eight sons, Kennedy was the third to serve in the war.

The fighting had been long over on the island of Guam when Kennedy arrived as a member of the 16th bomb group’s motor transport division.

Kennedy’s days on Guam were relatively routine.
He said his group provided transportation around Guam, usually for officers.

Although his job involved frequent trips off the base, Kennedy said they were forbidden to explore the island.

As he learned during his time in the service, the Japanese had arrived on Guam ahead of the Americans and Kennedy remembers being shown what was left of a village — only one building standing in an area that had once been home to approximately 10,000 natives.

Most of the surviving natives had scattered into the jungles and there was little to no interaction between them and the servicemen.

There were reportedly also still a few Japanese soldiers hiding in the jungles.

The exotic fruits native to Guam became a delicacy in the barracks.

Bunches of green bananas were cut and hung near the bunks— as they ripened, the men would pick from them.
They also adapted quite well to opening coconuts, he said.
“I was in the service doing what I was supposed to do for my country, I wouldn’t volunteer for it, but it was my duty,” Kennedy said.

Severino Armijo

Date of birth: May 28, 1922

Dates of service: 1942 to 1945

Hometown: Clovis

Lives in: Clovis

Theater or location of service: Europe

Branch: Army

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Unit and Specialty: 88th Division Infantry

After discharge: Clovis

In his words: A single man when he was inducted, Armijo married his sweetheart when he returned home for a furlough to see his sick father.

It wasn’t until he returned from the war in 1945 that he met his little girl for the first time.

By the time he met her she was two years old.

Now, more than 62 years later, he and his wife are the proud parents of 11 children, a family born in a time of war.

Harold D. Burris

Date of birth: Sept. 12, 1925

Dates of service: Sept. 11, 1943, to April 10, 1946

Hometown: Eureka, Kan.

Theater or location of service: Eglin Field, Fla.

Branch: Army-Air Force

Rank: Sergeant

Unit and specialty: Fuels and lubricant division

After discharge: Eureka, Kan.

In his words: After volunteering to join the service, Burris attended basic training in Amarillo.

Burris recalls that it was a particularly cold Texas winter in 1943.

Many of the young men fell ill during training, a great number of them developing respiratory illness and preventing them from continuing. Burris was one of these men.

When he joined the Army-Air Force, he never expected to have sickness interfere with his career but not only did it interfere, it kept him stateside throughout his tour and left him with effects that he still faces today.

The diagnosis was rheumatic fever, contracted as a result of the field conditions in Amarillo.

The cure — warm weather, and a medical hold eight miles from Miami, Florida for five months. The hospital was a resort hotel that was being used by the military, not a bad place to go if you had to be sick, said Burris.

After recovering from his illness, Burris finished his enlistment at Eglin Field as a fuels and lubricants specialist. The GI Bill got him through college and he married the girl he had loved since the seventh grade.

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail:
sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com