Sioux County

William "Billy" Bleeker



Billy Bleeker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker, and Bob De Kraay, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry De Kraay, enlisted in the Navy last Wednesday at Des Moines. ... Billy will finish his school term, and Bob is subject to call at any time.

Source: Sioux Center News Apr. 20, 1944 p 2

Billy Bleeker, who graduated last week from the local high school, left for the Navy this past Monday.

Source: Sioux Center News May 25, 1944 p 1

William Bleeker A/S, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker is expected to arrive home the latter part of this week.  He has finished his boot training at Farragut, Idaho.  Billy does not know what he will do upon completion of his leave.

Source: Sioux Center News July 20, 1944 p 2

Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker received a card from their son Billy who is in the navy and who was home on leave last week telling them that he was being moved from Farragut, Idaho to San Pedro, Calif., but they do not have his new address as yet.  It will be published in the News as soon as the family receives it.

Source: Sioux Center News Aug. 10, 1944 p 8

Billy Bleeker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker has returned to port after a shakedown cruise of several weeks duration, and is now assigned to a seaplane tender, where he will study radio and radar.

Source: Sioux Center News Nov. 9, 1944 p 8

Wm. Bleeker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker, on-sea since Christmas is getting along O.K.  He has been promoted to Seaman First Class.  His ship is somewhere in Japanese waters.

Source: Sioux Center News May 17, 1945 p 2

Bill Bleeker Writes From Saipan
Billy Bleeker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker writes his first letter after censorship was raised.  We publish it in part here.
Dear Folks and Brothers;
HURRAY, HURRAY! Not censored!  Now I can tell you what you have always wanted to know.. I have been at the island of Saipan for six months and am still here.  I just hope we shove out of here pretty quick as it get monotonous.  You wanted to know about the work I am doing.  We had charge of three squads of seaplanes, had to check their Radar and keep in contact with them while they were up in the air over Tokyo, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and all the other places.  Their job was to look for submarines and survivors of the B-29's that crash between here and their targets.  It's hard to believe that of all the B-29's that didn't come back few were shot down, most of them crashed.  We stood four hours watch and eight hours off.  So you can see when I get back home I am just going to sleep for the first two weeks.  I don't know what a full night's sleep is. 
Now that the war is over we started a mail and cargo route between here and Tokyo.  Floyd Wanningen's ship is in Tokyo and I hope we go there as I would like to see the place.  We said when we left the state, "Tokyo, here comes the Rock".
As for my appearance, I am 5'11" and weigh about 174 pounds, so you can see I gained a little bit of my weight back.  I haven't done a day's work since I've been in the Navy and am pretty soft, but a couple of weeks work throwing 100 lb. sacks of feed around will put me back in shape.
I got Wally's letter written for the Civic Club, and thought it was pretty nice.  I understand they want to have an airbase of some kind at home.  Boy, I hope they do and I'd like to have the job at the radio.  I landed a lot of planes by radio and radar both, I wish I could explain to you how it all works, but I'd have to write a book to do so.
We were at Ulithia a whole month just before we got here, and there I saw Jap suicide planes for the first time.  In fact one missed us just enough to hit the carrier Randolph which was just on the other side of us.  She burned for about three hours.  Most all her planes on the flight deck were filled with gasoline and bombs and the Jap lit right in the middle of them.
Floyd told me when they went in there a Jap submarine followed them right under the ship so it could get thru the nets and then came up and sank two ammunition barges. 
I could tell you a lot more, but I'll do that when I get back, though I don't know when that will be.  Hope these lines find you in the best of health as they are leaving me.  May God bless you all till we meet again. 
Your son, Bill
(Editor's note: This is excerpts of two recent letters)

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 11, 1945 p 1

Billy Bleeker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerrit Bleeker, has been assigned to one of the ships which will observe the atom bomb test in the Pacific this summer.  Billy is in radar work in the navy, and will have a "box seat" at this event which has created worldwide interest.

Source: Sioux Center News Mar. 7, 1946 p 10

Draft Board
Class 1-C Discharged
..... William Bleeker ....

Source: Sioux County Capital June 6, 1946