Jeffery, Fred

Fred Jeffery is a lifelong Mainer. Born in 1918, he grew up in South Portland, and when World War Two began, he was able to graduate from college before entering the Coast Guard Academy. Unhappy with his experiences there, he decided to try something new, making the decision to enter the Marine Corps. Training took him to Parris Island and Camp Lejeune, where he became a phone lineman, a crucial task in the new style of warfare envisioned by the Corps. After heading out to Camp Pendleton in California, Fred made his way across the Pacific, where he was based on Guadalcanal. From there his unit moved immediately into combat, first on Bougainville and then on Guam; fierce resistance from the Japanese was encountered on both islands. Fred experienced all the difficulties that the Pacific theatre had to offer, including a bout of dengue fever. After Guam, Fred went into his last battle, the momentous and deadly battle for Okinawa. There too Fred survived many near death experiences; and in Okinawa he was preparing for the invasion of Japan when he learned of the atomic bombs and the Japanese surrender. Fred’s unit was sent to China, where they accepted the surrender of Japan’s forces in that region. Return to the U.S. followed in January 1946, and Fred made his way back to Portland via train, where he fell back into the rhythm of civilian life, raising a family and following a career in education.
Fred was interviewed by Scott Masters in July 2015.