TAYLOR, Texas — Around 77 years ago, the U.S. dropped the second of two atomic bombs on Japan. The bomb that was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945, brought an end to World War II. Forty-thousand people were killed instantly and thousands more died in the days that followed.
One month after the bombing of Nagasaki, the U.S. sent the Marines in to coordinate the Japanese military's disarmament. Archie Moczygemba of Taylor was one of the first Marines to enter Nagasaki in September of 1945.
"The bomb dropped in a valley, and everything for a half mile up the mountain was gone," said Moczygemba.
He has very clear memories of the devastation that was left behind.
"We more or less supervised the labor force created from the Japanese Army, stripping down the armaments that they had. They were loaded onto [landing ship tanks] and taken out the sea and dumped," he said.
Archie turned 98 back on July 4. This veteran spent 22 years in the military. He was an active-duty Marine for seven years and then joined the Army, where he served for another 15 years.
His military career almost didn't happen, as Archie didn't pass the physical to join the Navy back in 1942 because they determined that he had flat feet.
He didn't let that slow him down, though. Archie went right down the hall to the Marine office, where he passed the test.
After basic training, Moczygemba was sent to the Pacific, where he joined up with the First Defense Battalion. Archie would later move on to the Second Marine Division, where he was serving when he was sent to Japan.
Archie served all around the world. He still has a map in his Taylor home with pins showing his different stops along the way. Now, all these years later, he's still extremely proud of his time in the U.S. Military.
"The duties that those people pulled, and I pulled, I don't think they've changed much," he said. "I believe they deserve a lot of praise and honor."
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