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WWII Veteran Forrest Villarrubia and his Map of Chats

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for edited cEvery day at the Museum, visitors from all over the world come to learn about the American Experience during WWII in our galleries.  At a table just to the right of the Museum’s main entrance sits our WWII veteran volunteers who share their war stories.  One veteran in particular, Forrest Villarrubia, who just made three years volunteering with the Museum, has been documenting origins of all the visitors in which he has shared his WWII experience.

Fascinated by the countries people were coming from to visit the Museum, Forrest, a Marine from the Pacific Theater, started keeping tally marks on a world map of where his new friends originated. Since he started this project two years ago, he has met people from all over the world, but he enjoys his chats with New Zealanders the most.

Between October and December 1944, Forrest served as a Marine in combat in Leyte, Philippines where his troop received food rations of eggs, butter, milk, and flour from New Zealand—the right combination of ingredients to make pancakes.  He and his comrades had a pancake-eating competition where Forrest lost having eaten 16 pancakes and the winner 24. Having been full on this wartime treat, the loss of the competition is something that Forrest enjoys recalling—and still thanks Museum visitors from New Zealand for the food supply.

Forrest will continue to share his stories and tally the visitors he meets, but this week he will be getting a new map because as you can see, his current one is a little worn out.

Post by Katherine Odell, Social Media Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

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