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.