Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with John H. Holdridge
HOLDRIDGE: That was July the 7th, I believe, 1937. So we just missed it. We had left in May. In those days the US Army transport used to stop in Chinhuangdao—that was because we still had a regiment of infantry, the 15th Infantry in Tientsin. So the transport would bring in replacements, and the people going home from China could get aboard and those, like ourselves, who were on extended leave got on the transport and then sailed back to the United States. I might mention also in Peking were the “horse marines.” They had theoretically a regiment, I think it consisted probably of two battalions, one company of which rode horses. None of our units in the army were at full strength because of financial problems. My father, in fact, had taken a 15% pay cut while we were in Chicago simply because the government was trying to economize. But anyway, from China we sailed back to San Francisco; from San Francisco we picked up another transport, went through the Panama Canal and all the way to New York City, where my father was on temporary duty at Governor's Island for a while. My father then, after a period of temporary duty, let's see, we arrived probably about, figuring we left Beijing or Peking as it was called in those days, in May, we got to New York City probably in the end of June or July. His next assignment was to the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. But that didn't start until September...
Q: We are talking about 1937?
HOLDRIDGE: Yes. We dangled around there for a little bit while he worked on Governor's Island, and we lived in New York City. Eventually, we bought a car and drove to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Now I've told you a lot about my history...
Q: Where you're coming from and all that is part of the story. So you are in high school by this time?
HOLDRIDGE: Yes, and I went through the 9th grade at the post school in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. And then, after my father had graduated from the Command and General Staff School, now known as a college by the way, he was ordered to Washington to work in the Adjutant Generals Department here in Washington. I went to Western High School in Washington, DC, now the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. I graduated from that high enough in my class to get into Dartmouth without any particular problem. After a year and a half in Dartmouth, I was able to get into West Point.
Q: So you got into West Point what year?