(Letter from Vic to his parents, Peter and Emilie. Written on Fort Sill stationary. Written from the Pacific, probably from New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. Photo is of group of Solomon Islanders.)
Undoubtedly you've been wondering why I haven't written recently. Well the reasons are many and censorship wouldn't permit the answering of any of them, I believe.
I am in good health but the heat isn't exactly to my liking. Most of my meager stationary supply is in bad condition due to the elements but I salvaged this from my bag. Disregard the title address as it's very misleading.
I saw Phil and many other Racine fellows back down the line and they enjoyed talking to someone fresh from the States. Phil and I had much to talk over but we're widely seperated again. A fellow I was confirmed with is in his outfit as well as a fellow who lived over on Hamilton St. just off Carlise Ave.
Quite a few of that crowd knew Rudy and asked that I convey their regards. Trouble was, everyone neglected to give me their names and I likewise forgot to ask them for same so I can't pass on their regards.
Will you kindly forward some stationary as well as govt. printed air-mail letters with the impressed seal? Remember to pack the envelopes so as to neutralize the sticking gum edge. The humidity will normally close them and everything decays or rusts away rapidly in these parts.
I will try and collect some Jap equipment or items as souvenirs. Possibly I can send something without military connection home in the near future.
My letters may come in greater intervals but don't worry. Please see that my friends get this address as I haven't materials to write them.
Mother, I haven't a birthday card to send you or Paul, but I'll send you my best wishes. Did you get all the letters, etc. I inquired of. At this writing, I still haven't received any mail since leaving the States.
Posted by BN at 11:22 PM
(Letter from Paul to brother Rudy and wife, Ann. Written from Racine, Wisconsin to Passaic, New Jersey)
Thanks for you letter, which we received today. Seems as if you never received out last letter of some time ago since you said it was us who owed you a letter.
Yes, Ruts, I was ailing on the lakers (only was on Lakes Michigan, Huron, & Superior) for a short time. I was on two ships, one a steelboat, the M.S. Steel Chemist, & the other an ore boat, the S.S. Col. James Pickands. I was a deckhand (ordinary seaman) on the Chemist & wiper - coal passer on the Pickands.
I liked sailing, but didn't think much of the work - your just a flunky on either one of those jobs. Besides on the wiper-coalpasser job you have to blow flues and the temperature is about 150 degrees between the boiler where you stand.
The only way to ship out on fresh or salt water is to go thru Maritime training first, & to do that you've got to have a 1-A classification. If you get reclassified, don't hesitate to enter the Maritime Service because its a pretty good set-up and the dough's pretty good. There were quite a few Maritime trained men on the ship I was on. Once you've completed training and ship out, the government has no further authority over you, that is no more than over any other merchant seamen.
We are sorry to hear that Wally injured his foot so severely. We hope it heals rapidly and does not impair is ability to walk.
Pa is still working for Oscar Seyforth and occasionally they work on Saturday so that helps on the pay check. I'll ask him what the scale is when he comes home.
The big news with me is that I'm finally going to get around to leaving for California as I planned for so long. I'm going to Oakland, leaving sometime Wednesday, providing I can on a train. I plan on working in the shipyards until November 1st, when I intend entering the University of California at Berkeley. I would go back to Mich. State, but since I can't seem to take the climate, I'd better go further south.
Right now it doesn't look like Ma is coming down there on a visit, at least not until the Fall of the year. She is as undecided as ever so it's anybody's guess.
It's nice to see that you & Ann could get on the same shift at Wright's How is the union coming along? How are you getting along on your gas rations & is the Olds still ambulating? The ration here were just cut from 4 to 3 gals per coupon.
Howie De Fault & Bill Fiala shipped out of Chicago at the same time I did. Howie's on a barge and says he's going to stay on it thru the season, wheras Bill's on an ore boat and says he's coming home in about a week. On thing about the lake boats is that they really feel good. We had two "coffee periods" to break the monotony of work on the Chemist & in the evenings the mess room is always open with pies, cake, fruit, and coffe at your bidding.
Pa is home now and I asked him about the paintin scale. It's $1.35 for most work & $1.45 for "swimg stage" or high work which Pa is doing now. There's a 3 cent raise per hour pending on both of these scales.
Have you been to any of the Soviet movies in N.Y. lately? I saw "Black Sea Fighter" which was one of the best action pictures I ever seen. Also saw a French weird-chiller "The Last Will of Dr. Mabuse" which was plenty screwy. Saw the play "Maid in the Ozarks", too, in Chicago.
Glenn Johnson is home on a furloough and I'm going out with him tonight. He's still in the paratroops and he's made 17 jumps, many of which were at night. He likes everything but the long hikes.
I'm going to sign off now and the next time you hear from me I'll be a long way from here.
Best regards Paul
Best regard from Pa
Posted by BN at 11:03 PM
(Letter from Vic to his parents, Peter and Emilie. Postmarked U.S. Army APO 502. Vic lists his address as Co. A-28th Repl. Bn - A.P.O. #502, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif. United States Army. The envelope is stamped Passed by U.S. Army Examiner 19654)
Enclosed please find a money order for fifty dollars. As currency is of little use to use I think it best to send most of it home in the future.
The Army has an allotment service that takes care of savings and transfer of money but if the service is as bad as the rate they send out one's war bonds I find the postal money orders far better when available.
Have you been getting all my mail? If I shouldn't write again for some time please dont worry. Please write as frequently and as lengthy as possible using air-mail or V-mail service.
Kindly give all my friends this address, tell them to write me, and say hello for me.
Best regards to you all -
Posted by BN at 10:51 PM
(Mimeographed document illustrated below. It reads...)
Domain of Neptunus Rex
Know Ye by these presents, that:
T/S Victor Petersen, 36262157
On the 17 day of July in the year of our Lord, One thousand nine hundred and forty three, while aboard the U.S.A.T. "SEA WITCH" in the latitude 0 00' 00" and longitude (CENSORED) in the presence of mermaids, sea serpents, whales, sharks, porpoises, dolphins, skates, eels, suckers, lobsters, crabs, pollywogs, and other living things of the sea, has been found worthy to be numbered as one of the trusty SHELLBACKS, has been gathered to our folds and duly initiated into the solemn mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Trident.
Geo. A. Vickin
CAPTAIN, U.S.A.T. "SEA WITCH"
SECT. TO HIS MAJESTY
KING OF THE OCEAN
EMPEROR OF THE SEA
RULER OF ALL HE SURVEYS
Posted by BN at 10:48 PM
(Letters from Emilie and son Paul to Rudy and wife, Ann. Written on same piece of stationary from Racine, Wisconsin to Passaic, New Jersey)
Dear Ann & Rudy,
Thanks for you letter we could have answered before but I don't know hwen the time goes, I ask Paul to write but it seems he havent the time or ambation
is Ann working - we would like to have your come out here, but maby a week is to short a time, I tried to tell pa I would like to go down to your hwen you had your vacation but I dont think he like me to go.
Paul is thinking of going to California I suppose you know Victor is shipped out, he sent some clothing and his footlokr home, please write him as often as you can he seems to want letters if you havent his adrs let us know and we wil send it to you
Rudy I gat Alfred Evens ad some time ago & he is in New Jersey to your better write him at navy as he may be moved. His wife is down ther to. I talk to her before she left Racine. I think Lloy Waid is in service as I se a service flag in the window of his Mother she or was living above Nevins Grocer store corner Harriet and State.
Well yesterday the 18, we had a picnic at the Old peoples Home we sure was busy from 9 in the morning to 10 at night, we had real nice weather and a lot of people and sold a lot of aprons and Pillowscase. Please answer ret away if you think you are coming papa would like you all to come so would I.
Best Regards from Father & Mother
Dear Rudy & Ann,
Time sure flies, & I see your vacation is already coming up. Ma & Pa would like you both to come out here on a visit if it's at all possible. For myself, I'd like you to come out too, but I don't think I'll be here by then.
I'm not ging out to California for a couple of months, meanwhile I plan to work on the Great Lakes as a wiper on a boat. I've got all the papers necessary & I think I'm going down to Chicago later this afternoon to see when I can ship out.
Well, Ann,how do you like Wright's. You've never said that your working, but according to Rudy, you were going to start.
How's swimming down there. It's swell out here - I go in the quarry, Lake Michigan, & sometimes one of the pools.
I'll drop you a line when I get some time in a boat.
Posted by BN at 10:29 PM
(letter from Paul to brother Rudy and wife, Ann. Written from Racine, Wisconsin to Passaic, New Jersey)
Here's my long overdue letter. Thanks for your recent card & letter. Say, Ann, did you ever get that pillow case that I sent from Scott Field.
Well, I'm finally working. I went to Vocational school for 8 hrs. per day up until a week ago when I started at Twin Disc. So far I've been running an end mill most of the time, but I should get some work on a lathe tomorrow. I'm only getting 70 cents per hr., but if I'm not getting considerably more after being there four week I think I'll look for something else. I could have started in other shops at a better price, but I took this because I thought I would have a greater variety of jobs & therefore be able how to run (& set-up) various machines.
Say, Rudy, are you still in the shipping dept. at Wright's. I really was planning on coming down to work, but your letter kind of changed my mind.
Ray Reed goes into the Navy tomorrow as a machinist mate 2/c, I believe. Maybe he got it fixed to go in as a 1/c petty officer, as he wasn't sure which it would be when I last saw him.
This town has certainly changed as far as I'm concerned. All the guys my age are gone - in fact I feel rather lost.
I saw Norman Hanson several times. He got divorced again and he drinks like a fish. He's making pretty good dough at Racine Tool, but spends more than he makes.
Ma saw Alfre Evans wife & she got his address at Ft. Monmouth, but since he's going to get transferred to a different part of the same camp soon, she thought she'd better way & give the more definite address. I'll send it down soon as we get it.
Pa has been working at Honlicker, painting on the outside, for the past several weeks. He drinks so much malted milk that he comes homes and groans about it giving him a stomach ache.
Let's hear from you soon.
Best regards from us all,
(Document from the United States of America Veterans' Administration, Washington, D.C. sent to Mrs. Emilie Jensen Petersen, countersigned at Washington, D.C. Illustrated here. )
National Service Life Insurance
Date Insurance Effective May 13, 1943
Certificate No. N - 10 966 994
This certifies that Victor Petersen has applied for insurance in the amount of $8,000, payable in case of death.....
Posted by BN at 9:56 PM
(letter from Paul to his brother Rudy and wife, Ann. Written from Racine, Wisconsin to Passaic, New Jersey)
Dear Rudy & Ann,
Here's my long overdue letter. I was discharged from the army last Tuesday, but I didn't get to Racine until Thursday, as I stopped for a day at Symmes' in Litchfield, Ill. Everyone was in fine health and Karen and Raymond had changed so much I could hardly recognize them. Dick, I foud out, had arrived at Scott field a few days after me, but as I had left Scott Field for good I never saw him.
I saw Rand De Faut & Mag Nelson at a May Day Party in Hungarian Hall. They came in Saturday & left Sunday.
Say about that check Mother had written to you about. It was an error on my part - so it's all O.K.
I haven't started working yet & I don't plan on looking around for a job until next week. Jobs are plentiful, of course, and most of them are fairly well paying. I am not certain yet, whether to work in Racine or not. I kinda would like to work down around your place, but as yet, I haven't made up my mind.
I'm glad to hear that you bought a bed room set. I'll bet Ann went out & bought it without you knowing about it, Rudy?
There is not much more to write about at the present time so I sign off.
Posted by BN at 9:43 PM
(letter written from Vic to his parents, Peter and Emilie. Written from Fort Sill, Oklahoma.)
Received your letter this afternoon. Imagine Paul is home by this letters' arrive. Tell me what your plans are Paul. I believe you'd best go back to school and finish your education. Unless perhaps you intend getting some defense work. In which case remember to stay within your physical means! Don't be so foolhardy as to tackle some tough grind.
Dave Altman was to have met me here at the barrack, and we'd intended going to a nearby State Park over the weekend. After no appearance on his part at 6 pm Saturday, I went into Lawton. Just after my departure he arrived from Chickasha, and some bunk-mates here must have misunderstood me when they told him I'd gone to Duincan. I assume that's where he went 'cause I didn't see him again.
Met Vic Valenti in town and he introduced to one Sgt. John (?) Sokol from Highway 11 just out of Racine. Said he lives near the grocer Henrickson (?). He runs the store on the corner of State & Prospect. This fellow left today for Ordnance O.C.S. in the Carolinas or Georgia.
Sunday morning I went up to Vic's outfit, the 689th F.A., where we ate dinner and then went over to the O.C.S. area. There we met Floyd Larson and Marshal Eckblad (both of Harriet St.). If they can stick it out another 6 wls, they'll be commissioned 2nd Lt's in the F.A. Would be nice to have the J-T put this in as it's unusually that we got to-gether. Fact is, I didn't know they were in the Army and Vic V. had just recently learned where they were.
Rudy has often mentioned a fellow from Paterson who's stationed in the reception center here for the present. After writing him, he came over yesterday while I was out. That's exactly how things go in the Army. Will write again soon.
Vic V said Racine was more or less of a graveyard. Will have to see for myself when we get a furlough.
Posted by BN at 9:30 PM
(letter written from Vic to his parents, Peter and Emilie. Written from Fort Sill, Oklahoma on Camp Roberts stationary. The illustration is Vic's promotion orders along with 22 other radio students.
They were Burnell Aaron, Gilbert D. Anderson, Bloise, C. Bell, Kenneth L. Blandin, Henry S. Calore, Orazio R. Carlucci, John W. Elvin, Patrick J. Feeney, Boyd O. Jordal, Vincent T. Kalup, Johnnie D. Lane, Maxwell J. McDiarmid, Matthew A. Murphy, Mitchell H. Nowak, Kenneth B. Oliver, Richard F. O'Reilly, Henry S. Pinyan Jr., Donald J. Quinn, Marlin G. Schwartz, Claude W. Scruggs, Floyd K. White and Dwayne H. Wynkoop. Signed by Capt. R.A. Pike for Brigadier General Balmer)
Intended writing sooner but we've been extremely busy. We're now in a new course, and we're given somewhat of a promotion yesterday to T-5 or Corporal Technician. The course is a one month affair in radio mechanics or technicians. Again we've night classes in able to accomplish as much training as possible.
Originally, the school staff intended dropping the nite work and extending the course to two months. However, the great immediate demand for personnel in this field prompted them to run us through as rapidly as possible.
The work is intricate radio and electrical repair and installation. Much theory is involved but the textbooks and refeerence material is somewhat simplified and more exhaustive than perhaps necessary. Please not my new address.
Haven't heard from Paul so I don't know whether he's been inducted, or if he's at home or at school. Have a good hunch he's in the service at this date but couldn't say whether he made the Air Corps 'cause the Army seldom if ever gives an inductee his choice. Don't imagine he knows where I am so he's probably waiting for you to send him my address.
Phil Mascaretti wrote again recently and I'd judge he in New Caledonia although he didn't specify 'cause he was afraid the censors would hold (confiscate) or blot out portions of his letters. He said Beeny could give me all the facts, but as I can't reach him could you ask his folks just to satisfy my curiousity?
Neither Jake or Lloyd Valentine nor Ray Campbell have replied my letters, but I guess the mail is rather tardy in arriving at distant points and vice-versa. Tell the church pator I've been receiving the Danish lutheran and give him my new address. Get some literature from Cases occasionally too occasionally, too. Perhaps you can for the J-T and have them publish new address or is that a military secret?
Visited Dave Altman (Milw. Spanish Vet) again last Sunday where he's stationed at a hospital in Chikasha which is about 52 miles north-west enroute towards Oklahoma City. Usually have a fairly good time up there. The transportation is quite a problem even for service men due to extreme congestion.
Can't say when I'll get a furlough. We can't even apply for one here, being as we're un-assigned. Some guys I know say the Army is cutting leaves down to 10 days and they were unable to get home in that time so they took there's nearby where they were stationed.
Last week we wound up the communications course with simulated battle attacks & retreats on a grand scale. They were held for the part in the Witchata Mts. Wildlife Refuge about 35 miles due east of here. I was in the 8th F.A. Bn which acted as Division Artillery and had a number of duties. We moved up by nite under strict black-out driving conditions and one command rolled down a ravine and injured several. Numerous rattle-snakes and lizards were seen and we all had wood-ticks biting us. The country we displaced is very wild and rugged and we never slept while out there.
(letter from Paul to his brother Rudy and wife Ann. Sent from Scott Field, Illinois to Passaic, N.J.)
Dear Rudy & Ann,
I had an enjoyable trip out here without running into any trouble, although the bus I was on had a coupla flats. I got our here to the field 4:00 PM. Tuesday.
They certainly are taking it easy on this bunch. As yet about all they've done is "asked" us to do this or that. All the fellows are college men so that probably accounts for it. The grub is top notch so far with all the butter (real butter) you want & peanut butter, jams, pickles and other accessories on the tables at all times.
When I was given the heart exam the doctor put me down for cardiac consultation. This means I must wait until the hospital has time to take some cardiographs & make further investigations. It will probably be two or three days before this is completed & then I still might not know whether I'll be in the army.
The major in charge is very particular in cases of this sort. There are about a dozen guys in the barracks now waiting for either C.D.D.'s or general orders who went for cardiac consultations. None of them ever knew that they had any kind of heart trouble. So if I do get discharged it'll probably take about a month.
I haven't got Vic's address so send me it in your first letter. Better still, send him my address.
I write you again when I know a litte more definitely what's up.
Posted by BN at 8:29 PM