December 22, 2014

What Did You Do During The War Mom?

Yates, Davis and Huntley WW II era

 

Esther Bielmeir Boyd

Photo credit – Kitsap Sun

We live in a military community here in the Bremerton-Port Orchard area, and the history of our county is peppered with those who have worked at the Naval Shipyard.  This week one of our “Rosie the Riveters”, Pat King Harms was in the Kitsap Sun article written by Keeley Smith entitled – Calendar honors Port Orchard resident’s wartime shipyard work.

For the past three years The Washington Women in Trades website has offered for sale “The Rosie Legacy” calendar (I believe they still have some older issues) to the public.  This year’s theme is A Good Hand and Mrs. Harms is the June 2011 calendar girl.

The Moline Sisters

We had a “Rosie” in our family too. My aunt Jeane Moline Davis worked at a Tacoma shipyard as a riveter if my memory serves me correctly.  Aunt Jeane is on the far right in the photo from the WWII era above. My mom, Joan worked in a meat market during the war while my dad (her fiance at the time) was overseas.  Pretty sweet job for mom and her parents considering the meat rationing.  Mom and her coworker would deliver meat to one of the old Seattle restaurants, and they would take their own cut of meat along and the restaurant would cook it for them!  It was my aunt Joyce though that probably had the most dangerous job. She was an Army nurse and served in Europe on the front lines.

Women working at the Naval shipyard here is not just a thing of the past. Their numbers might have dwindled after the war was over, but they have grown again since and they now represent a good portion of the workforce.  These are women who get right down there and slog with their male counterparts in jobs like pipefitter, welder and electricians.

Thank you to Pat King Harms for your service to our country!

Otto Family Had Five in World War II

Otto-Ranslow WWII newspaper

All Came Home

(click on image until it is viewable full-sized)

All of these men are, or were, my husband Jim’s uncles from his mother Mary Jane Otto Wilkerson’s side of the family.  Going by the dates mentioned in the article, it might have been written in 1944. As far as I know, all of these men are now deceased.  The parents, Adolph and Mamie (Boyert) Otto were residing in Clinton, Iowa when the newspaper article was written.

There were eleven children in the family, ten of whom reached adulthood.  A baby, Eugene Otto was born in about 1931 and died the same year.  The ten, in order of birth were: Dorothy (m. Earl Harris), Adolph ( m. Henrietta), Marion ( m. Clifford Ranslow), Alfrieda ( m. Marion Lathrop), Albert ( m. Helen Froslie), Evelyn (never married), Raymond (never married), Marvin ( m. Evelyne Sullivan), Charles ( m. (1) Mirt Maines  (2) Dorothy) and Mary Jane (deceased 1986; ( m. Loren Wilkerson)  [my mother-in-law].

Otto siblings (front): Alfrieda, Marian and Evelyn; (back) Adolph, Ray and Marvin. Photo taken 1986

MacArthur Left But Volckmann Remained

Clinton County Historical Society and Museum

Clinton County IAGenWeb

Tombstone Tuesday – Russell W. Volckmann

On a recent visit to Iowa my husband Jim found the gravestone of Russell William Volckmann  that I have written about several times in this blog.  MacArthur Left But Volckmann Remained

100_0192

The headstone is located in Springdale Cemetery, Clinton, Iowa (FindAGrave location).  There are several Volckmanns buried in the same general area around the General’s headstone.

MacArthur Left But Volckmann Remained

volckmann-and-valdes-07-july-1945

macarthur

Almost everyone from my generation (baby boomers) knows the quote by General Douglas MacArthur wherein he says, “We Shall Return” in reference to when he was ordered to leave the Philippines in 1942 to command allied forces in the Southwest Pacific Command.

What you may not know is that many men under his command didn’t just surrender as they were ordered, but instead they avoided the Bataan Death March and other atrocities by traveling to northern Luzon where they waged the fight of their lives. One of these men is the subject of this article. His name was Russell W. Volckmann and he was from Clinton, Iowa.

Volckmann

We first were made aware of Colonel Volckmann (his rank in 1941) after reading a small book published by the The Clinton Herald, and written by Gary Herrity. Herrity’s reference to the book written after the war entitled “We Remained” (1954) by Volckmann caught our interest, and after waiting about a week for an interlibrary loan, we were able to read this previously unknown (to us) account of Russ Volckmann’s three years behind the lines fighting against the Japanese invaders.

While Volckmann wasn’t the only person to remain on the island, he was one of four men to help build the guerrilla forces and lead them, along with many brave Filipino citizens, in a three year endeavor to survive and thwart the ruthless ‘Japs’.

volckmann-and-valdes-07-july-1945

Philippine Army Chief of Staff Major Gen. Basilio J. Valdes (L) posing outside command post w. legendary Luzon guerrilla leader Colonel Russell Volckmann (R).  LIFE photo

I would like to make a special point of mentioning that if it wasn’t for the extreme courage and sacrifices that were made by the Philippine people, the outcome of the war and the survival of Volckmann and his compatriots would never  have happened as it did.

Russell Volckman went on to become a Brigadeer General after the war, and is noted even now as one of the proponents of the use of guerilla warfare that has since become one of the effective methods of defence. Volckmann was often sought out as a military consultant on this subject.

Volckmann’s book is well worth reading, not only for American historians, but for Filipino historians too.  My husband is also from Clinton, Iowa.  He said that he never remembered hearing about Colonel Volckmann, or being taught about his importance  in American history in any of his classes throughout his school years.

We cannot forget these heroes!

Sources:

Golden Oldies of Clinton History, Vol. 2 – Gary Herrity (2003-08)

We Remained – Russell W. Volckmann (1954)

© 2007-2014 iPentimento|Genealogy and History All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright