Oral memoirs of Walt Fleming: an interview conducted on May 12, 2020


Born in Van Zandt County, Texas, Walt Fleming was raised in New Mexico during the Great Depression. On May 1, 1944, he enlisted in the Navy at the age of 15, underage, having lied about his age and forged his parents’ signatures. He served in the Navy for two years with the rank of Seaman First. After training in San Diego, Fleming became the operator of a Higgins boat, the Napa APA-157, which was used to land troops and transport wounded. Fleming recalls in some detail his part in the invasion of Iwo Jima, including when another transport ship collided with and nearly sank the Napa. He also describes additional trips in the Pacific transporting troops and other ways that the war impacted him and his outlook on the United States and life. While his vessel was in Norfolk, Virginia unloading guns and other equipment, he met his first wife May and describes the risks he took to see her. Following the war, he did not speak about it, but six decades later a parade inspired him to write and talk about his story.


contained in: George Ricks Memorial World War II Oral History Archive
Includes interview transcript and letter.