Sioux County

S/Sgt. Syne Bierma

Entered service Feb. 1942.
Discharged Oct. 1945
With Army in Australia.



To Answer Call
The following named registrants have been called for service in the United States Army and are to leave in the near future.
2173 Syne Bierma, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 5, 1942 p 1

Syne Bierma, son of Mrs. Watse Bierma, who recently came home from Grand Rapids, has received notice to leave on Friday the 13th for the U.S. army.

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 5, 1942 p 12

Arend Voorderman and Syne Bierma left Orange City last Friday to become soldiers in the U.S. Army.

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 19, 1942 p 8

Syne Bierma, who left the same time as Arend Voorderman is still at Fort Des Moines according to late word.  He is the son of Mrs. W. Bierma.

Source: Sioux Center News Feb. 26, 1942 p 13

58 Soldiers From Sioux Center Vicinity
The American Legion has been sending inspirational letters each month to the soldiers of the Sioux Center vicinity and are anxious to have a complete list of the men in the service.  The NEWS has published the names of the men who left to serve their country in the "NEWS ABOUT OUR SOLDIERS" column.  Please contact the NEWS if any soldier has been omitted or if the rank is not correct in the list which follows:
Pvt. Syne Bierma
Keep the Sioux Center News informed when your soldier has a promotion in rank, change of address, or just a line about how he is getting along.  Little sidelights on the activities of the men under arms are of interest to everyone.  Call us anytime and give us a news item on the man who has gone to serve his country in the time of war.  The News Reporter cannot contact each one of you every week so your cooperation will be appreciated.  Every letter from the soldiers indicate a great deal of pleasure is derived in reading about his fellow "Buddy" and the mutual experiences in the U.S. service.

Source: Sioux Center News March 26, 1942 p 7

Syne Beirma, son of Mrs. Watse Bierma of Sioux Center, is now located at Fort Logan, Colorado.  He has been selected as a clerk in the army, goes to school from 1 to 9 o'clock in the afternoon and evening.  In the morning Syne gets in on his share of the drilling.

Source: Sioux Center News May 14, 1942 p 11

Syne Bierma, who is with the U.S. Forces in Denver, is expected home for a two day furlough. He is being transferred to St. Louis, Mo. George and Kathryn Bierma went to Omaha Wednesday night to meet their brother, Syne.

Source: Sioux Center News June 25, 1942 p 9

Pvt. Syne Bierma Goes to California
Pvt. Syne Bierma, son of Mrs. Watse Bierma of Sioux Center, notified his mother that he had been transferred from Jefferson Barracks, Mo. to San Francisco on the out going unit.  Pvt. Bierma has been taking clerical work in Denver, Colorado and recently was sent to Jefferson Barracks to leave for California.  His address is: Pvt. Syne Bierma ASM 37113675, APO 2147, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News July 30, 1942 p 7

Syne Bierma in Australia
Pvt. Syne Bierma, son of Mrs. Watse Bierma of Sioux Center, notified his mother that his group of soldiers arrived safely in Australia after a pleasant ocean trip.  Mrs. Bierma received word from her son on Saturday.  His address is: Pvt. Syne Bierma, A.S.N. 37113675, Squadron 4, 11th R.C.O. APO 501, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Sept. 3, 1942 p 2

Address of Syne Bierma in Australia
Here is the correct address of Syne Bierma, son of Mrs. W. Bierma of Sioux Center, who is in Australia: Pvt. Syne Bierma A.S.N. 37113675, 8th Fighter Group, APO 922, c/o Postmaster, Sna Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 8, 1942 p 2

Syne Bierma, son of Mrs. Watse Bierma, is now in New Guinea, having been moved from Australia.  He has to work seven days a week, attends a service on Friday evenings which he enjoys.  His new address is:
Pvt. Syne Bierma
8th Fighter Group
APO 929 Hg. Grp.
c.o. Postmaster
San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Nov. 19, 1942 p 10

A slight change of address should be noted for Syne Bierma, who has also received his Christmas package and thanks all who took part in the contributions, packing and sending these gifts to the soldiers.
Pvt. Syne Bierma 37113675
APO 928 Hq. Group
8th Fighter Group
c.o. Postmaster,
San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Jan. 14, 1943 p 10

December 20, 1942
Sioux Center News:

Dear folks at home:
So far as can be disclosed I am the sole Sioux Center representative in New Guinea.  Not that that is a notable distinction, I had rather be some other place; but knowing that no other person from the Sioux Center area is here has its advantages, to wit no one can check up on the lies I tell.  Then, why not capitalize on my isolation?  But here's something I can't tell a whisper about.  And that is the lovely Christmas assortment so kindly donated to us by the efforts of the women in the community, who were backed up by the whole shebang.  Even more than the gifts themselves the spirit behind them make us feel that we are, perhaps not fighting for nothing after all.  One becomes skeptical now and then from general principal.
In the affirs of the army I play but a lowly, insignificant role, a sort of disguised yardbird.  That is, I do not tote a gun, or take part in the open season on the Japs.  No, it is for me to help keep tab on the boys via the Morning Report.  Now some of you may think that a Morning Report has to do with the recording of events the night before.  Nothing doing, it is merely a daily history of the enlisted men and officers of an organization.  We post when a person goes to the hospital, when he gets back, promotions, demotions (something I'm never afraid of), going on detached service, on leave, AWOL, desertion, the last two mentioned are only vain hopes, empty dreams where we are.  Naturally, I have nice habits and don't think of such bad schemes.  But when a person has been in one solitary coconut grove for several months a little canoe going outward looks tempting. 
And another thing, if anyone says even a word about beautiful South Sea islands, soothing tradewinds, tropical breezes and juicy coconuts when I return that person has earned another enemy.  Coconuts make me retch or at least wretched.
The mail flow is pretty regular, although the dates are mixed up something marvelously.  Certain letters find us after three weeks, while others crawl around three months before landing.  Make no mistake they are every one welcome.  In fact they are almost our only link between us and civilization.  Oh yes, we also have a shortwave set.  After every last chow of the day we anxiously gather around in our native-built hut, which serves as the day room, there to hungrily devour the news, and be entertained by the American orchestras.  Ours is a seven day week. Sundays are not known here.  Indeed, there is nothing to distinguish it from the previous six.  Our church services are held on Friday evenings, and they are but poorly attended.  A Chaplain finds little encouragement even here.  But this is one case, where there is little safety in numbers.  As for myself those Fridays are like an oasis in the midst of a desert of hopeless Godlessness.  In these jungles one can take a detached view of civilization and its shortcomings, and then the thought arises!  Are we one wit better than these same Japs?  Perhaps, our vices are a bit more refined, but they boil down to the same principles.  Me for myself, and the devil take the rear.
This is Christmastide, and I think one of the best Christmases I've ever known, for the very good reason that there is little or no distraction in the ordinary sense of the term.  I am alive and well.  Thousands of our boys have perished in New Guinea in the past few weeks.  the dangers are past.  But it sets us to thinking, nevertheless.  All is not morbid here, we have our great times, too.  And the fact that you people back home are thinking of us does us worlds of good.  I cannot write you individually; hence this free-for-all letter.  Many thanks for all the gifts, cards and letters which you have been gracious enough to remember me with.  I think of Sioux Center often and not without sentiment, either.  May we meet again soon.  Hello to everyone and my best wishes.  Sincerely, Syne Bierma
Pvt. Syne Bierma 37113675
APO 926, c.o. Postmaster
San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Jan. 28, 1943 p 6

Syne Bierma who is in Australia has a slight change of address, so if you plan to write him call his mother or the News office.

Source: Sioux Center News Apr. 1, 1943 p 10

Syne Bierma has a change of APO Number, his complete address now is: PFC Syne Bierma 37113675, Hdq. Gp. 8th Fighter Grp., APO 929, c.o. Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News June 10, 1943 p 10

Pfc. Syne Bierma has been promoted to Cpl.  The rest of his address remains the same.

Source: Sioux Center News July 22, 1943 p 2

Syne Bierma writes that he is enjoying very good food including some homemade bread, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Syne was in New Guinea for a while, then in Australia and is now in New Guinea again since May.  For a while they had only dehydrated food and obviously the boys don't find them as good eating as the fresh variety.  His address is: Cpl. Syne Bierma 37113675, Hq. Gp. 8th Fighter Gp., c.o. Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif.

Source: Sioux Center News Aug. 12, 1943 p 4

Cpl. Syne Bierma 37113675
APO 929, c.o. Postmaster
San Francisco, Calif.
Sept. 21, 1943
Dear Rev. Arnoys, family and Young People --
With one of those memory lapses that were made popular by the professors, or visa-versa, I now plead ignorance as to who owes whom a letter.  I am satisfied to let the case rest, and assume myself guilty until proven innocent.  Hence the letter.  Perhaps the easiest way to break the ice in writing a letter is to talk about the weather or the state of my health, just as if they mix well.  Whether it is my complete and perfect ignorance of the laws of nature, or my native Friesian stubbornness, the tropics have not conquered me.  Today I stand a robust, unbent 6-feet-two, weighing a hundred and eighty pounds, or as the Australians say: nearly 13 stone.  But I will admit when K.P. comes around, I shrink and shrivel with the best of them.  Lately we have ice cream every fourth day, and it is strange how the boy's faces almost glow when told they are elected to do the office of K.P. on that particular day.  Even the most vulgar of jobs has its compensations. 
Day before yesterday was the Sabbath, and for once it truly lived up to that name.  For the first time as long as I have been in the army..outside of Denver - I have had the privilege to attend services twice a Sunday.  We have a new Chaplain, Lutheran by faith, and very sincere.  One of the brightening things of which he made mention was his open repudiation of a social gospel, and his equal enthusiastic defense of the "blood gospel".  The attendance was rather fair in the morning, but the evening service was poorly attended - only five saw fit to come.  The rest rated a movie above the gospel in importance.  What a strange sense of values people have.  When dangers approach they begin to pray wildly, after the dangers pass the prayers do likewise.  God isn't mocked by that type of conduct.  God is not merely a God of danger, but a God of all circumstances.  Such desperate actions by terrorized men are not the fruits of faith, but the result of hopelessness.  Now more than ever one can see the men who have a distinctly Christian home and school training.  Their attitudes bespeak cool assurance, and as a by-product they rarely seem depressed.  The answer is not difficult to seek.  The riddle of our contentment is written in our past faith, our home training.  It's a knowledge that does not forsake one in any plight.  It is almost mysterious.  But when reading the Bible for solace, wisdom and strength the mystery is unveiled.  If only the world could see, for all its stupidity and blindness. 
Although Ernest must be somewhere around this neck of the woods, the army has seen fit to keep us apart.  Doesn't that seem ironical that we should be so near one another and yet not be able to come to see each other?  Even in this a soldier rationalizes.
As yet the record of the Girl's Trio hasn't made its appearance.  But I am waiting, and rather expectantly, not to say hopefully; the reason for my anxiety is that unless the record is wrapped extremely well, the stevedores and postal workers will bandy it about like a football.  Too many records have arrived, but in pieces. I'm very grateful that you have remembered the boys with such fine gifts.  They will be received appreciatively.
I read the Banner and News faithfully.  The articles of Professor Kromminga in his answers to questions are especially educational, a thing incidentally which I have discovered since coming overseas.  Although the papers arrive irregularly, they nevertheless are read greedily.  The first class mail comes, in contrast, very regularly.  V-mail takes from two to three weeks; Airmail a trifle longer, three or four days, and regular mail takes a month or longer.  Needless to say we appreciate the Airmail by far the best.  Despite threats that all Airmail will go the slow way we haven't been able to notice it.
Some folk have the notion that the jungle is simply a horrible place to live in - snakes, hideous animals and steaming heat all over.  So far I've seen, I think, exactly six snakes, and about that many animals; and I hasten to say that the animals were no more dangerous than our jackrabbits.  Their names are wallabies, an animal much smaller than a kangaroo, but the same appearance.  The heat when getting far into the jungles is stifling, yet who is going to be fool enough to go into the tangled vines and brush, that is in the Air Corps.  Now I'm not saying that anyone will find me here as a prospector for gold or diamonds after the war; I am merely saying that life could be much worse for us.  Some of the boys who have fought, will tell a different tale, and with equal truth. 
Congratulations on your calls to various churches in our denomination.  I share the view and the hope that you will see your way clear to remain with Sioux Center I.  Although not a member in body and in active service, I nonetheless hope that your labor there will go on.  It is a matter of prayerful consideration, and difficult.  I will say now that your sermonettes are read with benefit and joy.  but the final arbiter in such matters too, is One far above us. 
Reading in the small paper which we get daily a tragic sidelight of the war, namely the millions upon millions of victims of war, I could not help realize how far reaching this war is.  In Europe and in China these millions are starving, for something they don't even know why.  Children and women die literally by the thousands, and their plight is hidden by the more active news of battle.  After the battle has cleared the real stark tragedy will come to light.  And the bitterest of all hatreds will spring up form these same famished peoples.  To think that the end of the war will bring the dawn of prosperity and peace is just a pious hope.  War or peace, the prospect is not reassuring, but hope springs eternal, and we hope that the hope will have foundation. 
The curtain will be rung down for now; let us hear from some of the young folk; collectively I will try to answer you.  Best wishes and a hope that the war may soon be over.
Sincerely, Syne Bierma

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 7, 1943 p 2

A letter published in the paper from Al Broek in New Guinea mentions, "Syne Bierma came up to visit for three days.  And I'm telling you they were a short three days.  That makes time go by very fast."

Source: Sioux Center News Jan. 13, 1944 p 2

The APO number in the address of Syne Bierma has changed to 320.

Source: Sioux Center News Mar. 23, 1944 p 8

Cpl. Syne Bierma, son of Mrs. W. Bierma, has a new address which we are not permitted to publish.  Call either his mother or the News for it.

Source: Sioux Center News May 4, 1944 p 8

Cpl. Syne Bierma has a new address which we are not permitted to publish.  Call either his mother Mrs. Watse Bierma or the News. Syne writes that he has been doing a great deal of travelling lately and is now in New Guinea.  His new APO number is 920.
Pfc. Gerrit Van Engen recently wrote to his sister, Mrs. Jake Vos that he has met Loyd Brown and spent two evenings with him.  Gerrit also met Syne Bierma and Al Broek about a month ago.  Gerrit is in New Guinea, guarding prisoners. His APO number is 713.

Source: Sioux Center News July 20, 1944 p 2

Syne Bierma has been promoted to Sgt. from the rank of Cpl.  Syne is somewhere in the South Pacific.  Call either his mother or the News for his complete address.

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

A letter published in the paper from Al Broek in New Guinea mentions, "Syne Bierma has left but we also had very interesting things to tell one another."

Source: Sioux Center News Sept. 21, 1944 p 2

Sgt. Syne Bierma has a slight change of address.  His APO number has changed from 920 to 926.  His complete address may be obtained from the News.

Source: Sioux Center News Sept. 28, 1944 p 2

Sgt. Syne Bierma writes from the Phillipines --
Dear Business girls and friends:
Because of the mobile offense here in the last six months, Even mail has a stiff time catching up.  Your charming present, the correspondence kit, arrived today.  It was mighty fortunate that it wasn't food or anything crushable, since the package had that steamrollered effect the boys overseas know so well.  Even the pencil was warped into a horseshoe shape.  The kit came through splendidly as did the paper.  Very much obliged.  It will be useful.
In this section of the Philippines the weather is not unlike Iowa in July, with high winds and a searing sun.  The heat is much more noticeable here than in New Guinea. 
There are shades of civilization here.  The girls wear print dresses of flashy hues - all the way to the neck.  The evening gown styles of the New Guinea set are frowned on.  There are chickens here, with feathers, but little meat.  Now and again we get sweet corn.  There is a train, a cross between Junior's toy train and our locomotives.  It has a shrill throated whistle that wheezes during the night at crossroads.
We live in a vast prairie region adjoining the sea.  Aerial activity by the enemy is next to nil, and hence we can settle back and relax much as if there were no war.  It was not ever thus.
I have high hopes of returning this year, but by the time I do I will have 3 years overseas.  which reminds me I'll have 3 years in the army tomorrow.
My regards to the editor of the News and all my friends.  sincerely, Syne

Source: Sioux Center News Mar. 8, 1945 p 2

Syne Bierma has recently been promoted to Staff Sergeant.  He is stationed in the Philippines at present.  A few weeks ago he met Lloyd Brown who is also stationed there.

Source: Sioux Center News May 3, 1945 p 8

S/Sgt. Syne Bierma is enroute home and no more mail should be sent to him.

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 18, 1945 p 2

Discharged Veteran Will Return To College
Staff Sgt. Syne Bierma arrived home on Friday, Oct. 12, after three years and three months of overseas service.  Syne left home to enter the service on Feb. 13, 1942 and was sent overseas just five months later, after having a short two day visit at home.  He was wih the fire squadron of the army air corps and has a credit of nine battle stars and 123 points.  He was also given the Purple Heart after being slightly wounded when his boat was attacked by a suicide ram.  While overseas he met Al Broek twice and also saw Gerrit Van Engen and Lloyd Brown.  He was given his discharge at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on Oct. 11.  At the present time he is enjoying a well earned rest at the home of his mother and he plans to resume his work at Calvin College the coming semester.

Source: Sioux Center News Oct. 18, 1945 p 1