Border Patrol Agents George I. Hendricks and Paul Marbry were jointly interviewed on April 8 1987 at the National Border patrol Museum by Ms. Terrie Cornell. Mr. Marbry was a member of the 17th Border Patrol Session and Mr. Hendricks was a member of the 16th Session both at Camp Chigas El Paso Texas.
TC – Would you state your name please?
GH – George W. Hendricks.
TC – And yours?
PM – Marbry: Paul Marbry.
TC – Mr. Hendricks when did you enter the Border Patrol?
GH – In December of 1941 from Roswell New Mexico.
TC – Why?
GH – I was paid $25 more than where I was working.
TC – Where were you working before?
GH – For the Southwestern Public Service Company.
TC – A utility service?
GH – Yes.
TC – In Roswell?
GH – Yes in the electrical department.
TC – You heard about the Border Patrol hiring?
GH – I think a Border Patrolman there I cant remember his name
asked me why I didnt put an application in as they were accepting Border Patrolmen. I took the examination and was called not too long after that for an interview. And not too long after that I was notified to report in El Paso.
TC – Where did you take your interview?
GH – In Albuquerque. The examination and physical and interview was given in Albuquerque New Mexico.
TC – When did you go to the Academy?
GH – I cannot tell you. I really dont know because I was sent on detail as soon as I came in and bought a uniform and it was several months before I got to go to school.
TC – You bought the uniform right away?
GH – Yes the first week I was there because I thought it was pretty! (Actually I had some extra money from my former job.)
TC – (To Mrs. Hendricks) Tell the story that you told me – that they sent him on detail right away because he had the uniform.
Jean Hendricks: Thats what he always said he was one of the first ones that had a full dress uniform and he got sent on these details because he did have it.
TC – Where was your first detail?
GH – I believe it was to California to pick up a bunch of aliens to transport to a detention camp in Texas all Japanese.
TC – This was after Pearl Harbor?
GH – Yes.
TC – Where were you on Pearl Harbor day?
GH – On the river on the bridge working the river in El Paso. There were barrels across the river there for fire guides and everybody was so scared that we could see Japs running back and forth between those barrels. We thought we could that was our imagination. It was real scary.
TC – So immediately you were sent to California?
GH – It was oh I dont know two or three weeks something like that. They came out and asked who had a full dress uniform and I had one so that is why I was sent on a detail to pick up aliens. At that time they were beginning to intern Japanese.
TC – Did you take them to Crystal City Texas?
GH – I believe that was the name of it.
PM – Yes it was Crystal City. Then we made another trip back later on and picked up everybody at Crystal City closed the camp and took them to New York and put them on the Gripsholm.
TC – Were they all Japanese at Crystal City?
GH – Yes.
PM – They were all Japanese.
GH – They picked these people up. The Japanese I think had sent the United States a list of the people they wanted so we had a lot of doctors lawyers engineers scientists that Japan wanted back. I dont remember exactly that was a long time ago when we got to New York City I think we had 1500 all told in the Pennsylvania Hotel and we were there for several days processing them separating what they were supposed to take with them and what they couldnt take with them. And then we were sent back to El Paso.
TC – So these educated professional Japanese that they wanted right away they were the first ones traded for our prisoners?
GH – Thats right.
TC – They were all traded?
GH – Yes they were exchanged.
PM – He went around over the country hunting them.
GH – Oh yes. One of the first places was Clovis New Mexico. There were I dont remember how many about twenty five or thirty something like that that were afraid to get out of their homes. we were sent over to pick them up and bring them to a little ranch close to Fort Stanton New Mexico. Thats where they were not exactly interned but they were put up there for their own protection. They landscaped and raised vegetables and garden flowers and made a beautiful spot out of it.
PM – Did you tell them how cold it was up there?
GH – It was pretty cold. They would bring in beautiful loads of vegetables and the people I think the first load they bought but they found they were raised by Japanese and then they wouldnt buy them then. That was all of it.
PM – But it was also in that same encampment there up in the mountains from Fort Stanton. We had several from California.
TC – Several Japanese?
PM – Yes.
GH – In which camp?
PM – The old CC Camp.
GH – That was all Germans wasnt it?
PM – No no there were two camps George.
GH – O.K.
PM – The German camp and then we had the Jap camp about 15 miles up in the mountains. It had been the girls CC Camp.
GH – Thats the one where we placed the Japanese from Clovis.
TC – Thats where they grew the vegetables?
PM – Yes. I was up there in September. It got so cold that I had to sleep under six blankets. It was very high altitude.
GH – I was never at that camp except to help deliver the Japanese thereI was never stationed there.
PM – I was up there two weeks by myself.
JH –Was the other camp where the Germans got trichinosis?
GH – Thats right. As I remember it they wanted blood sausage. Pork and barrels of blood clots were purchased from Peyton Packing Company in El Paso. The German~ mixed it. It wasnt well cooked. I tasted some and thought it tasted like it had been roasted in a hot blanket. All of them came down with trichinosis. Our government brought in doctors from all over the country to treat them. There were about 500 Germans there. It got to the point where we just counted heads. We had pictures and names but we couldnt even identify them from their picture.
TC – They were so sick?
PM – Thats right. They were so sick. They were so swollen and everything else. They were a very sick bunch. As I recall only one died. I was in the hospital room – the hospital was so crowded – I was in the room with two of them. One had the worm that causes trichinosis (or whatever it is) right on his top lip and every once in a while you could see it jerk.
We had a cook who was a sorry dish washer. You could pick up one of the coffee mugs and it was so slimy that if you didnt grip it real hard it could slip out of your hand. I got dysentery and it took them three days to get me out of there.
TC – Sounds like you were lucky to only get dysentery.
PM – They treated me for 24 hours with a saline solution in the arm just to get some liquid back in me.
TC – This was before antibiotics too.
PM – Yes.
Those two poor guys! We would sit and talk about Germany you know. They would tell me how fine it was. One of them had been trained as a maitre d. This is how I found out about how involved the training is for a maitre d. I guess it should be for the money they make. He was from Austria and had trained in two or three foreign countries.
Then they told me they had a machine gun at that time that would shoot more than 600 rounds a minute. I think they said it was air cooled and about like shooting a water hose. I had never heard of anything like it. All we ever had was the old Browning and it was water cooled.
TC – How long were you there at Fort Stanton?
PM – Lets see I think I had to pull extra time because I also went to the Jap camp. They had a man up there I dont know where he was from or anything but he couldnt get along with the young woman who was more-or-less in charge. She had a habit of telling you what you could and what you couldnt do. Since he couldnt get along with her they shipped him down here and shipped me up there.
* (Explanation: The Germans were aliensindistress who had been picked up after scuttling a luxury liner somewhere off the coast of Mexico or South America. The ship had been scuttled to prevent the US from seizing it. We brought them from California to New Mexico. Most spoke several languages were highly skilled workers musicians or entertainers.)
TC – Mr. Marbry when did you go into the Border Patrol?
PM – March of 1942
TC – From where?
PM – Southern Illinois.
TC – How did you find out about the Border Patrol?
PM – In the fall of 1941 I was the assistant farm boss at the Illinois State Penal Farm. One of the guards there had heard about it and we got to talking. We were standing in front of headquarters and he told me that he had gotten an application and was going to try to join the Border Patrol. Usually we worked 7 days a week so he asked me why I didnt try so I went to Vandalia and got an application.
The reason he talked me into taking the exam was that I had a car and he didnt. We had to take the examination in Centralia so I took him with me. In those days I think the exam had 120 questions. Wasnt that it George?
GH – There were a bunch of them
PM – Im sure it was 120 questions on the examination and you had a time limit to answer them. The instructor who was giving the examination said that whatever we did we should not waste time. He told us to skip a question we couldnt answer try to finish them all then go back to ones we had skipped. Anyway I passed the examination and the guy I took with me flunked. In about January I received a notice to go to East St. Louis to take a physical. There were about 8 of us who took it and only 2 passed. Why they didnt pass it I dont know. Then I was told to report to El Paso on March second. Thats how I got out here.
GH – Well I took the exam in 1939 when I was going to Texas A&M. There must have been 600 taking exams. I had my interview in Albuquerque and about eleven of us were accepted.
TC – Mr. Marbry did you go to the Academy here?
PM – I went to the Academy in May of 1942. I worked the line part of the time and part of the time I was on one or two day details up or down the valley. Then in November of 1942 they transferred me to Lordsburg.
GH – We went on one or two details together after you were in Lordsburg.
PM – Yes.
LH – When did you come to Lordsburg George?
LH – I know that we had been there awhile.
TC – You were all married when you came into the Border Patrol?
GH – No.
LM – Yes we had a little boy who the inmates were raising.
TC – Not a very good influence?
LM: Yes they were. They all loved him because he was the only little boy around.
TC – How long were you in Lordsburg?
PM – Two and a half years.
TC – But you were sent on detail the whole time?
PM – It seemed like it. We were in and out of there quite a bit. George at that time wasnt married. In those days when you went on a detail you furnished your own money. Eventually your per diem caught up with you.
TC – Tough.
PM – Wicked. If you were careful it covered your expenses.
TC – Real careful.
PM – You didnt get anything extra. You had to eat out you had your laundry your room rent and everything else. Now as I understand it they go down and draw money to take with them. Then if they run short of money they can draw more. Sometimes I had to go to the bank and borrow the money you know.
JH –George didnt you say that you spent 19 days on a train one time?
GH – Yes I think from the time I left El Paso until I returned I had been across the US twice. The only thing we had to take a bath in was a wash basin in one of the pullman cars.
GH – We also spent ten days on the train when we left Carrizozo. We went all over the southeastern part of the US picking up Japanese citizens to deport. There were eleven sections of this detaileleven trains. The other trip was to pick up and deport German citizens.
TC – Eleven trains or eleven cars?
PM – Eleven trains. We had ten or eleven cars on the section we were guarding–all Germans.
TC – You were picking them up around the country?
GH – It was Sharp Park just above San Francisco where we hooked up the first train. Thats where we caught the train first them we came back across and wound up at Crystal City Texas.
PM – I never was on so many railroads. After all those railroads down in South Texas I knew where they got the expression the streak of rust. On those trains you were doing about ten miles an hour because of the tracks. We ran all over that flat country and after about ten hours it would drive you nuts.
* GH – I remember that we stopped at one stationeverybody was hungry. There was a guy selling candy Clark bars a good piece of candy. I asked him to let me have a box and
ended up with a case or 12 boxes holding 24 bars of candy each. To get my money back I had to sell candy-even some of the prisoners bought boxes.
* (Explanation: Food staples were rationed other items hard tofind and some just nonexistent. Good candy was in the almost impossible to find category.)
JH –They were both in the Santa Fe riot too.
GH – I was stationed in Columbus NM and went to Santa Fe
TC – You were in Lordsburg?
PM – Yes they told me to report to Santa Fe as soon as possible.
GH – Well my partner and I were in Columbus when the order came. We just loaded up and left immediately.
TC – Who was your partner?
GH – Moore Clayton Moore. When we got there there were something like 1500 Japanese in one camp. They had put the rising sun flag in the middle of the camp. Most had shaved their heads and put on white shirts with a rising sun painted on the front. They had notified the guards that they were going to take over the camp.
Well I cant remember how many of us got there-not too many. The brass took our guns away from us and gave us billy clubs or saps then they told us to go in and push the Japanese back where they belonged and take down the flag. So the gates were opened and we waded in which turned out to be a little bit rough. Finally we got the flag and backed them all up.
TC – How many of you do you suppose there were there?
GH – We were outnumbered about fifteen to one or something like that. About 300 Japanese were out in the yard. I know that Brackeen was the man next to me when we went through the gate. The Japs taunted us saying that they were going to show us what karate and jujitsu was like. Brackeen said Well I dont know much about that but when I come through this gate you are going to find out about West Texas bulldogging. The next thing I saw was this little Jap up in the air. From then on we didnt have many threats. Anyway we had had some training in karate.
TC – You had had training?
PM – Oh yes when we went through school. We had selfdefense not a lot but enough to take care of ourselves.
TC – Were these Japanese real nationalistic and militant?
PM – Oh yes very much so. Its not like you read in the paper now that they werent any of that. The fact is I never saw anything else did you?
GH – Not many.
PM – It was quite a hassle but there were some funny things about it. Do you remember Harry Brackeen? Not Harry that was his cousin the pitcher for St. Louis. Brackeen was a good sized boy–larger than George. When these Japs would start chattering the camp commander would tell us to go in and get them. Two or three of us would go in and bring them out. Its the only way we could control them. This one guy a ring leader started chattering. Brackeen and somebody went in after him We had a dump truck we were putting them in. Brackeen reached down and picked up that guy after he hit him with a billy club. He picked him up threw him in the truck and said Stay there you sonofabitch.
GH – I think when it was over there were 15 of them taken to the hospital. Not any of them hurt real bad.
PM – Did you go down there in the camp with us that evening to pick up the leader?
GH – No I dont think so Paul.
PM: Lets see I drove the car. There was J. Eldon Taylor and the camp commander and I dont know who the other guy was. Anyway they were in barracks and I think there were about six barracks buildings.
GH – Yes
PM – They were clear down at the end. We went in the side gate and we were all carrying machine guns. This was the only time I was ever told that if they start anything to shoot doesnt make any difference whereshoot. Well we had to because we were in the back end of the camp. Lets see there was one guy in one window in the middle. I got out of the car and went to the back double doors. The camp commander and Taylor walked around to the front double doors. The camp commander told himCome on out you are leaving here or we are taking you out. He started crying. Someone said
Do you want us to take him. The Jap answered No if you do you will kill every one of us.
We had the doors open and I was standing there with a riot gun. someone shoved this guy through the window so we just picked the old boy up and put him in the car and took him out. Then they shipped him out and that ended all the trouble.
TC – He was the ring leader?
PM – Yes
TC – An old Japanese guy?
PM – No he was young. There were not too many old ones.
GH – They were between 20 and 30 on the average. Not old or not really young either.
PM – The thing that teed me off most was that after that all happened we had to do our own cooking. That hurt more than going in after that guy.
GH – When that camp was first put in I was sent up there on detail to wire itto wire the kitchen and laundry. The laundry equipment was old and I had to rebuild it first.
TC – As an electrician?
JH –You went to several different ones. Wasnt there one in
GH – Yes
TC – You wired which camp?
GH – Well Lincoln Nebraska
TC – Lets go on to that one in a minute. Did you wire
Fort Stanton or the garden camp?
GH – No I wired the one at Santa Fe. It was originally
full of Japanese and Italians.
PM – I didnt know that.
GH – Yes they couldnt get along and had to be separated.
TC – What happened to the Italians?
GH – They put them in another camp. I think they took them to Lordsburg.
PM – They had Italians in Lordsburg at that army camp. Thats the only ones I knew about.
GH – In Lordsburg yes.
PM – Thats all I knew about. I was in and out of there so much I really didnt know. I do know this I had been back from California for three days from a three months detail and wound up in Santa Fe.
TC – And then you wired a camp in Nebraska.
GH – Well I went up to help on that camp.
TC – Which camp was that?
GH – Fort Lincoln Nebraska
PM – You left as soon as it was completed?
GH – Oh yes I left before it was completed but it was already in operation when I was sent up there. I helped to do some wiring then I came back to El Paso.
JH –Back during those days I guess they had Patrolmen doing everything. George even spent what three months working on cars and jeeps in the garage.
TC – Here?
GH – In El Paso yes. I also got assigned to load ammunition. Tommy Box and Bob Sparks found out that I had shot a lot and had loaded ammunition. I ended up loading ammunition for everybody to practice with.
Charlie Vail and I also built the first pistol range out on the Carlsbad highway. Neither of us had ever used heavy equipment nor done much rock work. We were having to learn as we went. Chief McBee came out to check on us and said that between the two of us we had done about a dollar fifty worth of work. (Wages at that time were about ~ dollar a day.)
I spent a lot of time on these kinds of details.
PM – Well didnt you make the trip when we took Fritz Kuhn
to New York?
GH – Yes I did. We put him on the Gripsholm in New York City. Fritz had a guy who carried his suitcases. When you got off the train and walked to the top of the Jersey pier it was thirtythree steps a long way up. This guy had been loaded down with Fritz belongings so before we started up the stairs we took the suitcases away from him and made Fritz carry them up the steps.
When we got to the top he was handcuffed to me and someone else. I dont remember who it was on the other side. It was Pat Callahan who came over and handcuffed him to us. Fritz didnt want to appear to be a prisoner so this patrolman and I walked far enough apart to stretch out his arms so that it could be seen he was handcuffed when he walked up the gang plank to go on board the boat.
You know Keith McDonald almost had to kill him in Fort Stanton.
PM – Well yes that was when we were gathering him up to take him out.
JH –Fritz Kuhn was a German Bund leader. The Bund was considered subversive during the war.
PM – He was raising hell one night in the barracks.
TC – In Fort Stanton?
PM – Yes. Keith and J. Eldon Taylor were there. Keith had a tommy gun. He raked out the window glass and started to let him have it. J. Eldon grabbed the gun and pulled it up. Finally they kicked the door down to get him out. He didnt want to come out and be put on a train to be sent back to Germany.
GH – We had several who didnt want to go back to Germany. We had several prisoners who were wanted there for murder kidnapping and everything else.
TC – Their fate would be a lot worse over there?
PM – Right they knew that they wouldnt have a chance. We had one guy on the train who acted more or less insane. The story was that he had been brought here from South America and if he wasnt returned Hitler wouldnt take the rest. Whatever he had done we never knew but he was Hitlers personal choice to get back.
TC – Poor man.
GH – One of the oddest things happened to me; A German named Rickeplus was in that camp. How he got out and got to stay in the US I never could find out but he was let stay here for some reason. Anyway he came through Lordsburg looking for me. When he found me he asked to borrow $20 to get to California. I told him that I didnt just have $20 to give him so he asked if I would loan it to him on his watch. I said sure and kept his watch. About a month later he sent me $20 and I mailed him his watch.
PM – He made it to California.
GH – Yes. He was one of the prisoners from the scuttled liner. After he showed up here we did a little checking but we never found out anything.
JH –What group did you pick up where you were ordered to show up with that number anyway you could?
GH – They were in prison out in California. On that detail I didnt know where I was going. Pat Callahan was the officer in charge and he didnt know until we got on the train. I think we picked up I dont remember exactly about 30. The order was to get them to New York dead or alive.
TC – Japanese or Germans?
GH – Germans
PM – Lets see I think it was a Chicago detail where we took all the prisoners off the train and took them to the county jail in Chicago. We were riding down Michigan Boulevard on a Sunday morning. I was with this guy driving a van load of German prisoners. All at once he decided we were going the wrong way so he pulled a Uturn on a red light and started back. He said he had passed the jail. He made a U-turn on Michigan Boulevard and went back. I sat there and cussed for ten minutes at him and said that I didnt need to come to Chicago to get kill.