World War II Memoirs (Part I)

Several years ago, after hearing a story on NPR about World War II veterans, I asked my father to record his memories and experiences serving the in US Army during World War II. What he wrote was quite different than the stories we read in the history books, coming from someone who lived and served our country during that important time.

That story on NPR reminded me of the urgency and importance of my fathers memoirs. Over 1200 World War II veterans die each day, many leaving their story untold. I am blessed that my father was able to write the words you read below. Many veterans, my father included, rarely talked about the war.

Dec. 7th, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. I was in Zanesville, Oh on that day looking for a job on a construction project. Low and behold, I never stuck around long enough to find-out if I had been accepted. The reason, because the next day, Dec. 8th war was declared on Japan and Germany. Happen to be on my 21st birthday and looking great for military duty.

I enlisted in the Signal Corp. reserves on Sept. 16th, 1942. Six months schooling for radio repair at a pay rate of $1050.00 per month. Believe me, that was big money to pay my expenses. Three months schooling was at Wheeling High School. We graduated from that point and advanced to three months training at WV Tech at Montgomery, WV. Still learning how to make and repair radios, problems etc. That was a enjoyable stay, made many friends, but now that we knew it all, we were called to active duty Feb. 26, 1942. Pay reduced to $50.00 per month.

We were shipped, by troop train, to Camp Crowder, MO for six months basic training. In and out of the hospital several times for skin infections. So be it, I had to start my basic training all over again. So really, I think I had 8 months basic. Nardy Lipscher was with us up to this point. However, since he played several instruments was able to tied in with the local army band. I approached him one evening at the USO and let him know that I had received my helmet and blankets for overseas duty. I then was off again on the troop train to Camp Shanango near Youngstown, OH. This was a replacement center where ,I believe, we stayed for a couple of weeks. Was able to visit home a couple times during this period. Shortly thereafter, aboard the troop train for Pittsburg, Calif., replacement depot awaiting ship for overseas. Departed Sept. 7, 1943 for the 18 days boat ride.

Arrived in Noumea, New Caledonia on Sept. 25, 1943. Off to another replacement depot and then assigned to the 230th Signal Operation Co. APO #502. Now I’m assigned a new position as a radio teletype operater. Work 8 hr. swinging shifts, co. duty one day a week and off one day a week. This was a great location, weather super, camp directly across from a beuatiful beach which I frequented often. Camp well set up with all facilities, exchange with cigarettes .50c carton. We often when into Noumea for the day as it was only a few miles away. This was my experience for the next 13 months.


18 responses to “World War II Memoirs (Part I)

  1. Pingback: Answers to Burning Questions « Notes From Neal

  2. We still remembers all GI’s and Navy boys, staying in our island. We have some noumea places that already US Given names, like MOTOR POOL and RECEIVING.

  3. Pingback: Veteran’s Day « Notes From Neal

  4. I served in the Signal Corps was first a member of the 831st Signal Company, Noumea, New Calidonia. I arrived there about
    Feb. 1st 1944.
    We handled the communications for the local area and about 8/10/44 we were transferred to 3119 Signal Bn. also in Noumea.
    We handled the communications for South Pacific Base Command. My calassification was Cryptographer. In May or June 1945 we were moved to the Phillipine Islands and were located out of Manila where we staged for the landing in Japan.
    We moved to Japan in September and were set up in Kobe and were attached to Sixth Army.
    I was rotated home in December of 1945 and was discharged at Ft. Louis and returned Home to North Dakota in January 1946.
    Would be happy to communicate with any member of 3119 Signal Service Bn. Don Croy, Tigard, Oregon

    • Hello Donald Croy . My great Uncle S/SGT Donald Fletcher Davis Served in the 3119th as a cryptographer. He was from Billerica MA. Unfortunately he died 6/1945,non battle of a peptic ulcer on the island of Manila, in the Phillipines. I have many pictures of him and men he served with. If you remember my great uncle or would like to see any of my pictures I would love to speak with you. My email is

    • Joseph Sulewski

      Hi, my father served in the HQ Co 3119 SIG Serv BN. . I am sorry to say he died in 1986. Purhaps you knew him? Chester Sulewski from Detroit MI. I am in possesion of his photo alblum and recently located a cache of letters from him to family. His service record is allmost identical to yours. If not any info would be greatly apprecited and prized.

      Joseph Sulewski

    • Mr. Croy,
      I am looking for information about my Grandfather, Joe Healey. He would have been in the 3119 from 1 July 1944 to 1 Feb 1946. His records were lost in a fire and my Aunt and I are trying to get his head stone correctly labeled. Thank You for your time.
      Martin Healey


        Please give my email address to Martin……….

        >________________________________ > From: Notes From Neal >To: >Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 1:36 AM >Subject: [New comment] World War II Memoirs (Part I) > > > >Martin Healey commented: “Mr. Croy, I am looking for information about my Grandfather, Joe Healey. He would have been in the 3119 from 1 July 1944 to 1 Feb 1946. His records were lost in a fire and my Aunt and I are trying to get his head stone correctly labeled. Thank You for” >

    • Hello Mr Croy,
      First any foremost. Thank you for serving our country! My Grandfather was in Company D 3119 Battalion. His name is Perry Toney this was an all Native American Unit for Codetalkers. The Army has no records of this. Would you happen to know anything about or any person I could contact?

  5. Mr. Sulewski, the memoirs you’re reading in this article were written by my father. He died in 2005, and I know little else about his time in the service, other than what I’ve written. My father spoke little about the war until I asked him to write his story.

  6. Response to Anonymous Above:I am unable to give you any information on your Father. The 3119 had number of small groups processing information on the islands of the South Pacific. I was attached to the headquarter group and had no contact with the outlying signal groups. He was probably attached to a infantry group and never got near the headquarters of the 3119. We owe a lot to the men on the outlying islands. The didn’t have the benefit of having a city near their Camp as we did. Good luck in finding more information. You might call Mr Ed Dohring at 1 847 724 2188. He has worked with past members of the 3119 and has attended a number of conventions of the 3119. He might have a name of someone that can help you.

    You should be aware that most of the former members of the 3119 have passed on. I will be 92 in a few months and know that most of the former 3119 members are unavaliable. . You might also call a friend that served with me. He is living in Texas Name: Tom Lindemann Phone # 1 713 864 0848. His Email is He might be able to help. If you are able I would suggest you contact these people as soon as possible. Don Croy (email:

  7. My father, Nelson Grant, was mess sergeant for the 3119th signal service batallion, Company D. Before that, he was assigned to the 806th signal service company. It is my understanding that several companies (of which the 806th was one) were combined to form a batallion — the 3119th. My father died just this past july on the 19th (2013). He was 94 years old, and attended many of the 3119th signal service batallion’s reunions. I should like to hear from anyone who remembers him.

    • ralph franceschini

      Hello: My father served in the 3119th Signal Service and the 806, stationed at Guadalcanal and New Caledonia. He told us many stories of his time in the South pacific from 1943 to 1945. His name is Louis Franceschini, he passed away on October 25th, 2014, he attended many reunions of members of his battalion in the past. I am wondering if any of the men are left. My dad was 92 when he passed away. I wonder if he knew your dad.

      • Mr. Franceschini:
        I just now (27 December 2014) saw your post. Yes, my father (Nelson Grant) did know your father. I had the privilege of meeting your dad at the Memphis, Tenn. reunion in 1992. My dad and your dad were in the same company D of this batallion.

      • I am Don Croy

  8. My Daddy was Simon Husser, Jr he passed away in 1970 at 45 yrs old, he served as PFC Co C 3119 SIG SVC BN, I would like to more about his service time if anyone remembers him

  9. I am Don Croy and served with 3119th Sig Ser Bn. from Jun or July 1944
    until the war was over. I was a Cryptographic Tech. and was with Headquarters Co A. I did not know any of the people that wrote on this sight before me. When I finished training in Crypto at Camp Kohler California, we were shipped to New York and then boarded a ship. We thought we were going to Europe but the day after the ship left New York we found out we were off the coast of Florida and heading for South Pacific. We arrived in New Calidonia about 2 weeks later. I was transfered to the 806 Signal Co in New Calidonia and when the 3119 th came over we were transfered to the 3119.
    I was assigned to Crypto section and served in Crypto the rest of the war.

    I did not know any of the previous writers in this article but we made a very large Battalion and didn’t have that my chance to see the other Members of the Bn.
    I was with the 3119 th when it moved from New Calidonia to the Phillipines and then to Japan after the war was over.

    would welcome any note or questions. If i can will post a picture of me will do that or send it to any that respond to my address.

    Tech. Sgt Donald J. Croy. (now living in Tigard Oregon)

  10. My father’s discharge papers show only that he was in the 3119th Signal Service Battalion as a Lineman Senior and in the Pacific Theater from 17 Feb 42 until 12 Nov 44, but no company or other location. I’ve not been able to find any other information about him, his assignment, or specific locations. If anyone is still reading this, any suggestions?

    His name was Ellis H. Weaks, SGT

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