VIC'S ARMY TRUNK          

December, 2001

(This is the last letter Vic ever wrote. It was never mailed and it's unknown who was the intended recipient. After the war, Vic received his High School Diploma and returned to work at the Case farm equipment company. In the early 1950's he moved to Los Angeles and worked for the Bendix automotive company. He got married twice, but had no children. He died at his home in North Hollywood in early 2002 at the age of 83. This letter was found on his writing table. Photo shows Vic - on left, with his friend Ben Louie squatting, and two other soldiers posing in the Philippines in 1945. Ben Louie died in Sacramento shortly after Vic. This letter completes Vic's Army Trunk.)



Many thanks for writing. I've been in poor physical health for a long time and was hospitalized in ER of Kaiser Permanente, Panama City again last week for 2 1/2 or three days. Friends from Heatherdale here rushed me up there and also returned to get me upon notification.

I've sent out no holiday cards this year and have many that I must respond to (especially Europe - Denmark, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland - to their beautiful cards, msgs., and photos.) During the past year I've been hospitalized at least 3 times and also spent last years' big holiday period inside Kaiser.

Thurs. or Fri. - Dec. 29?

It's now a week later (since I began this) and still haven't finished reading all the holiday cards and letters I've been getting - let along begun answering. Tho I sent Ben Louie a letter and some old snapshots (many from WWII) a week or so before I entered the hospital - haven't had a reply. Other guys from our old outfit have sent me cards & letters but no one has mentioned Ben - hope he's OK and still around.

You could swap (exchange) stuff from me with George Conrad. Do you see him?

Inside a letter and card I rec'd at Kaiser hosp/ was this match cover from our UAW union local secretary/treasurer who made quick holiday trip to his home in Iowa.

Wishing you both all the very best.


December 30, 1945

(Letter from Vic in Racine, Wisconsin to younger brother Paul in Berkeley, California. Photos show Vic's discharge paper, and letter of thanks from President Truman.)

Sunday morning,

Dear Paul,

I suppose you've been wondering why you haven't received any written word from me. Well, to begin with I intended writing from Camp Anza, Calif. soon after sending the telegram and Jap propaganda books. We were alerted for shipment momentarily so I didn't try to write just then.

However, train delays held us up 'til noon of the 14th Dec. Believe I mentioned in the telegram we'd landed on the twelfth. North of the Hawaiian group the skipper of the "Sea Corpora" was notified to change his course and dock at San Pedro, Los Angeles P.E. If we'd followed the original schedule and put in at 'Frisco I'd have easily seen you. Perhaps I might even have spent the Xmas holidays there because of lack of transportation facilities.

Anyhow, the reason I didn't want you to come down to Camp Anza is because it must be five hundred miles south of you up in the isolated foot-hills of the San Bernadino Mts., and we might've left for Wis. anytime.

Our train for McCoy with guys from Wis., Upper Michigan and Minnesota finally arrived there early Tuesday morning, the eighteenth after numerous delays. They certainly have a busy schedule for seperatees and we hardly stopped for breath during our two day stay there.

About 11:am Thursday the twentieth Dec. we got the final discharge ceremony and our discharge papers. We were given $50 cash of our mustering out pay and a check which included the other fifty of the first hundred (we get the other two hundred bucks in two monthly payments) plus 5c a mile rail fare to our home towns plus back pay plus all soldiers deposits we were accredited with.

I then caught the noon Hiawatha into Milw. but missed the North Shore to Racine and had to wait for the next one. Anyhow, I got home around 5:30 p.m. that same day. I went out a few times the first few days. Several days back I came down with malaria and've been home since. I had one helluva job getting quinine here in town.

Perhaps to-morrow I'll go up to the Wood Veterans Hospital in Milw. for an exam 'cause I still have something like a jungle-rot on my back. At McCoy I filed claims for that & malaria.

Paul, I'm short some negatives and wonder if you have any of mine out there. If so, will you please send them to me? I'll write again soon.

Your brother,

P.S. - Did you receive the cookies &tennis shoes that mother sent? Thanks for the books and Xmas card. How's the weather out there? In southern Cal. it was damn chilly & we all froze there moreso than out here.

November 23, 1945

(Letter from Vic in the Philippines to younger brother Paul in Berkeley, California. Photos show picture of SS Sea Corporal arriving in Los Angeles, and part of front page of "Rock and Roll", an onboard newsheet.)

Friday Afternoon,

Dear Paul,

Well, we're still here on Luzon at this writing but've just finished tearing down our tents and turning in our cots and mosquito bars. This evening we're leaving Camp La Croix by large trucks and travellinng over to Tarlac. There we'll board a train and proceed to the port of San Fernando up on Lingayen Gulf. We'll then board ship sometime to-morrow and the S.S. Sea Corporal is due to hit the states before the 15th of December.

We'll go to Camp Stoneman and may be restricted to same until we head for our separation centers. I'll do my best to get a pass and look you up. I'm scheduled to do go Camp McCoy, Wis. and that's definite. If any hitches develop I won'
t see Xmas at home.

I'm enclosing some articles from the Army newspaper, Daily Pacifican. Please send them on to Ruts and remind him that they might be good re-print material for PM. Believe that paper publishes good articles. Not all of them would be classified, naturally.

Best Regards.
Your brother, Vic

P.S. - No, Max Mueckler is not over here. Believe I told you that he went home back in March on T.D. (furlough). That was just after I'd seen him when I was in the hospital. Anyhow, while home the point system was announced and he was almost immediately discharged. He is now in some sort of soda water manufacturing & distributing business. Believe he sunk all his saving into same along with one or more other guys & is trying to make a go of it on an independent basis.

In his last letter he mentioning having talked to Mike Principe. Don't know whether Mike is out of the Marine Corp yet. Know Bob Hoey was home but don't know whether he's been discharged either. Karl G. quait their shop some time ago and was working in Dept. 27 (boiler works( where the 155 mm shells are made at Case. However, he said he'd quit that place too now that the war was over but didn't say what he intended doing. Bob was home on furlough but I can't say whether he was discharged.

Hope to be seeing you soon!

November 16, 1945

(Letter from Vic in the Philippines to younger brother Paul in Berkeley, California. Photo is of a Philippine volcano.)

Friday morning,

Dear Paul,

Finally obtained several air-mail envelopes. Don't believe the letter I sent you via free mail will arrive for almost a month. Thought perhaps you might not have received same before I hit the West coast.

Today our ship is due in at San Fernando up on the Lingayen Gulf. It's the fast transport "Sea Corporal", and should dock in 'Frisco about 3eighteen days after getting under way from these parts. A good percent of the division will be aboard this ship - parts of the 145 INF., 148 INF., 135 F.A., 136 F.A., 112 MED. BN, M.P. CO, plus the division commander, MAJ. GEN. Brightler. Our battery will load on sometime between tomorrow and Monday. Come Monday the 19th Nov. the Sea Corporal will pull out.

The entire division will have embarked on a number of ships over a period of one week or possibly slightly more. We're not sailing in a convoy. Last nite most of the 148 INF. REG'T. and the 140 F.A. BN. loaded aboard their ship, the Dutch "Veldereden", which will saidl shortly thus being the advance vessel.

They have group lists of the personnel going to the various seperation centers throughout the United States which are being flown home so that train schedules will be all completed when we hit 'Frisco. We're to go to Camp Stoneman, and won't be there more than 48 hrs.

I can't get any satisfaction over on this side as regards being promised a pass from Stoneman to look you up. Our brass won't commit themselves, and it's rumored that we'll be confined to Stoneman during our brief stay there.

I'm tentatively scheduled to be on the train-load of us 37th fellows going to Ft. Sheridan. They tried to send me to Camp McCoy where practically all Wis., upper Michigan, & Minnesota personnel will go. They claim Sheridan is overcrowded and handles only Michigan (proper) & Chicago area men. Finally convinced our B.C. that it'd be cheaper to send me to Sheridan because it's so damn close to home, but I may yet wind up at McCoy.

Here's a copy of a letter of appreciation from Gen. Devers that was handed out to all the old vets. Sent it on home to the folks. Haven't seen my letter re-printed in the Mail Bag column of the Daily Pacifican as yet.

Best Regards! Your brother,

Last nite I was up to the "Grass Shack" and saw the U.S.O. troupe put on the show "Hello Chicago" featuring five good-looking Am. Gals and a very good M.C. comedian. Several nites ago we saw the riotous film "Duffy's Tavern."

November 15, 1945

(Letter from Vic in the Philippines to younger brother Paul in Berkeley, California. Photo shows review of American soldiers in Rizal Stadium, Manila.)

Tuesday afternoon,

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your recent letter dated thirty-first October bearing your new address. Meant to reply via air mail yesterday but I've been unable to purchase or borrow any air-mail envelopes. Our mail clerk said that even the div. A.P.O. hasn't had any in stock for some time now.

Just received a line from Yuts dated 29th Oct. He said he'd been alerted for shipment the next day and that he would probably wind up with the Fleet Air Wing I in China. That's bad considering the unpopular support our War, Navy, and State Departments have been giving to the Chinese Nationalists, French Colonials, and Dutch and British Imperialists. These Asiatic people are certainly going to hate us for our present actions here in the Far East.

I'm now in "B" battery because we've all been transferred around according to the number of points we have. We're leaving within a few days and I should certainly be at sea within a week.

Am enclosing a number of articles from the Army newspaper here in the Pacific, Daily Pacifican, that I thought might interest you. Perhaps you'd care to pass same on to Ruts or Ed. I'm replying to the vicious letter sent in by one T/SGT. Carl W. McGuire from HQ of this division. Perhaps I won't be here on the island when they get around to publish my line. If I see it I'll forward same on to you. This newspaper has been publishing a number of good articles. I previously sent Rudy several copies.

Undoubtedly this letter will take many days to reach you because it'll travel by slow ship. Incidentally, Yuts said he'd recently received a letter of yours dated in July that you'd sent under regular 3 cent postage. I've had that happen quite often in the past. Also received long-overdue letter that were incorrectly addressed or lacked my A.P.O. number.

May not get to see you on the West coast. It depends entirely on the situation at Angel Island or Camp Stoneman (to whichever we go to after disembarking). They won't promise me a pass on the West coast at this time. I should be in the States by the tenth of Dec. Don't reply!

Your brother,

October 31st, 1945

(Letter from Vic in the Philippines to younger brother Paul in Berkeley, California. Photo shows GIs and Filipinos dockside at Manila pier.)

Wednesday, Evening

Dear Paul,

For all I know you may've moved by this date, but I presume you left a forwarding address.

Here're ten pics that Yuts sent down. Also note the other two which I don't think you've seen.

I just got back from Manila late this afternoon. Left on a two pass Monday. Was sick there the first day & nite. Stayed at the Manila leave center (for G.I.s). It rained all last nite and part of this morning down there.

Yuts has a new address but I imagine he's written to you recently. He said Ted Kraynik visited him.

Still no definite word on when we're leaving. Rumors vary from the fifteenth to the twenty-ninth Nov. Gen Krieber (DIV. ARTY.) spoke to the men of the division yesterday & said it'd be this coming month.

Just a reminder - don't answer this letter.

Did I tell you that Nick Julian went hom on that over 38 yrs (or was it 35?) deal? At least he headed for a casual camp and I presume he's made the boat by now.

Now that Vernon Bown is in Frisco I presume you must get together quite frequently.

We saw that Ernie Pyle film "Story of G.I. Joe" last Sunday nite. Last nite in Manila I saw "Hotel Berlin", but didn't think it was so hot. Some time ago we saw "Woman in the Window" (Edw. G. Robinson). Forgot to mention seeing "Our Wines Have Tender Grapes" which I liked. Perhaps these are old films in the States, eh?

Our mail doesn't amount to much these days. Wrote to Reader's Scope and In Fact to send my future copies to Racine. Heard from Phil M. who's in Yokahama, but expects to ship out for the U.S. very soon.

Vest Regards, Your brother

October 18, 1945

(Letter from Vic in the Philippines to younger brother Paul in Berkeley, California. Photo shows letter of appreciation sent from Commanding General Jacob Devers in Washington.)

Thursday evening,

Dear Paul,

Even tho I asked you to discontinue writing me I rather expected to still receive a few rather late letters from you. Without mail time certainly passes slowly. Anyhow, don't bother to write at this late date. Still don't know when we're leaving.

I'm enclosing several articles from the Field Artillery Journal that you probably haven't read as yet. Perhaps Ruts'd like to read same. Let me know what you think of same. Remember the stuff is mostly concerned with arty. and is naturally written from such an angle.

Read that copy of "Life" on the U.A.W. They certainly played up Ruether and gave him credit for work actually accomplished by the more progressive leadership elements - namely, Addes and Frankensteen. The stinkers (Time and Newsweek) haven't been giving Pres. Truman much credit of late and have begun a smear campaign against labor in conjunction with the press.

We haven't been able to keep up with most of the news recently because our Special Service radio sets have all been turned in, and the div. daily newsheet hardly even is seen around nowadays.

Our present battery commander is a southerner, and one of the most stubborn, moronic jerks we've had the misfortune to have run or attempt to run the battery. He'd make an A-1 scab and at discussion classes gives anti-labor spiels. Another fellow & myself usually put him in his place, tho.