Woodbury County

Russell George Peterson





I was in World War II from 20 September 1940 to 15 July 1945. I was raised in Sioux City, Iowa, but enlisted from Omaha, Nebraska, that’s where I was living and I knew I would be drafted. I picked the Quarter Master Corp in the Army. My first days were spent on the train to Tacoma, McCord Field, Washington. I received $6.75 for meals on the train.

I don’t remember much of the training but I had been in the CCC (Civilian C Camp) for two years so I knew a lot of what to do.

I was stationed at McCord Field, Washington. I was a school bus guard, was appointed by the 1st sergeant who asked for volunteers. He didn’t get any so he said, “You and you.”

On 3 November 1941, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah, then to Fort Dowell, Angel Island, leaving there on 21 November 1941, and arriving Honolulu, 28 November 1941. Then left 29 November 1941, stopped at Suva, Fiji Islands 12 December 1941, for fresh water; we were headed for the Philippines but ended up in Brisbane, Australia, 23 December 1941. I was aboard the U.S.S. Republic, part of an 11 ship Convoy. On 8 January 1942, we left for Darwin, Australia, by ship. I did not see combat but went through the first bombings raids at Darwin, Australia.

I received one citiation and three Bronze Stars.

I was born 10 March 1919, at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamine County, Iowa. I was adopted by George and Ruby (Kackley) Peterson. I attended Lowell, Everett, and Woodrow Wilson schools in Sioux City. My mother died when I was – years old. My father died in 1942; and my step-mother died in June 1941. I have no siblings. I didn’t get much mail from home.

The food wasn’t too bad and supplies were okay as I was in the Quarter Master Corps and was a supply clerk. There were a few movies for entertainment, and we played baseball. When on leave at Ipswich, Australia, I went roller skating. (I just quit roller skating at 82.)

I traveled across Australia by truck and train. When in Port Moresby, I went to cook and baker’s school for a couple of months. I went on ten day leave to McCay, Australia, by plane.

On 6 January 1944, I received orders to go to Emberly Field, Ipswich, to work at the American Post Exchange. I stayed until 15 September 1944, leaving to go home, sent to Brisbane, and left 22 October 1944 aboard the U.S.S. Monterey, arriving San Francisco, 6 November 1944. Then, on to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, then to Kansas City, then caught a train for Omaha, on 14 November 1944. Left Omaha, 7 December 1944, for the return redistribution center at Santa Ana, California, from there to Yuma, Arizona, 31 December 1944. I had a furlough 15-29 April 1945, in Omaha and Sioux City.

I returned to Omaha on 15 July 1945, after having been honorably discharged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It was the happiest moment of my life. I visited friends there and a good friend, Ruby Larson, wrote down the information I am using for this story at that time.

I came back to Sioux City and stayed at the Y.M.C.A. until I found another place to stay (a room at 1410 Pierce Street). I went to visit a friend and his father, who had been a general foreman for the Illinois Central Railroad. My friend’s father asked if they needed a man and the railroad said they did. He said, “There’s a man”, (me), so I went to work for the railroad and worked 35 years.

Because I enlisted in Omaha, my name and picture were in that paper, twice.

I enjoyed roller skating and that’s where I started going with my wife. I married Laura Jean Thomsen, 18 May 1946, Sioux City. We raised five children, George, Norma, Audrey, Walter, and Marilyn. We have eleven grandchildren: David, Nicole, Katie (she’s in Iraq, right now), Joseph, Rachel, Christopher, Corey, Kevin, Craig, Karla, and Kelly.

I belong to the American Legion Monahan Post #64.

Submitted by: Russell George Peterson