Oral History: Carl Doering
Mayor, merchant, banker, vet – Carl Doering has done it all. It’s as a veteran of the U.S. Army that he speaks of his participation in World War II. He describes several harrowing encounters, dramatic escapes, and historic moments during his service as a member of the 38th Infantry Division. He claims the privilege as one of six Americans to witness the Japanese surrender of the Philippines into U.S. control. As First Sergeant, he was the only non-commissioned officer present that auspicious day, August 14, 1945, which coincidentally was his 21st birthday.
At age 89, Mr. Doering speaks of his military service with the measured tone of being distanced from the realities of war by 68 years, in the safety and comfort of his home, and the presence of his wife, Dorothy. He agreed to share his memories as part of the Williamson County Historical Commission oral history project.
Accounts are legion concerning the deprivations and ravages of fighting in Bataan, Corrigedor, and the area around Clarke Field, where he was assigned. Doering’s memories, as part of the Avenger of Bataan-Luzon campaign, is in agreement with history. Once, his company was isolated on the top of a mountain for two weeks, attacked nightly by the enemy. Throughout the assault, their only shelter was 3-foot fox holes filled with water from the daily rains. As their food and ammunition ran out, they watched most of the supplies airlifted to them drift away to the waiting enemy.
With clarity of mind, Doering describes two occasions his life was spared in inexplicable and dramatic ways. Surviving it all, he says, is due to his Christian faith. After the war, he returned home with a chest full of medals, chronic malaria, and a battlefield appointment to West Point, adding the reason he turned it down.
As a lifelong citizen of Georgetown, he also offers a sketch of post-war Georgetown, schools he attended, commercial ventures as banker, as cotton ginner and farm implement business owner.
Summary prepared by Jan Raesz, Williamson County Historical Commission appointee, 2018
Click here to listen to Carl’s story – March 14, 2014
Click here for the transcript of the audio file – March 14, 2014