SHSND Home > North Dakota History > Unit 6: Hard Times and War, 1929-1945 > North Dakotans Go to War 1941 – 1945 > William Fairbrother

Unit 6: Set 4. North Dakotans Go to War 1941 – 1945 - Interview: William Fairbrother

Introduction | William Fairbrother | Andrew Leier | Woodrow Wilson Keeble

William (Bill) Fairbrother was interviewed by his daughter Laurel Fairbrother Kaye about his experiences as a combat Marine who saw action in the Pacific. Bill rose to the rank of sergeant in the 2nd Marine Division and participated in battles of Tarawa, and Saipan and served in occupied Japan until January 1946.

Fairbrother was born in McHenry County on January 1, 1923. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 before he finished high school. After the war he earned a Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) and took a few college courses before buying a farm.

Fairbrother was wounded in combat, but bandaged his wound himself and never received a Purple Heart. He was among the first Americans to see the damage wreaked by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in August 1945.

As you watch and listen to Bill Fairbrother, you will hear him speak with pride of his service, some bitterness of government decisions about wars, and warmth of his army buddies. He glosses over some of the more painful memories, but tells a story of determination, duty, and honor. Bill Fairbrother died 9 April 2004.

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