Kossuth County

Harold Joos




New Year’s Day Telegrams Report Becker, Heetland and Koppen Safe and Alive

The year 1942 had a joyful beginning for a number of Kossuth families when telegrams from the government on New Year’s day brought word that two Lakota boys who had been reported killed in action in the Pearl Harbor attack were alive and safe.  They are:

Arnold Becker, 20, ward of Mr. and Mrs. Nick Koppen, previously reported killed in action at Pearl Harbor.

Merle Heetland, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Heetland, regarding whom there had been conflicting reports, although he had once been reported killed in action.

A third telegram advised Mr. and Mrs. Nick Koppen that their son Ferdinand, previously unreported, was alive and O.K.

Thought Becker Dead
As the Koppens had previously received two telegrams regarding Becker, they believed that he must not be alive, and he was reported as being the first Kossuth boy to be killed in action since the U. S.—Japanese war broke out. The boy had been in the Navy two years. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. August Becker have been dead for several years.

Becker has two brothers, Martin and Raymond, also a half-brother, Robert and a sister, Kathryn, all of Lakota. Uncles and Aunts are Mr. and Mrs. Nick Koppen, Mr. and Mrs. P. L. Koppen, Lakota, Mrs. Anna Caylor, Bancroft, and Mr. and Mrs. Martin Becker, Burt.  Rachel Becker of the Advance is a cousin.

Heetland Writes Card
Although Heetland was reported killed in action, his parents believed he was still alive because they received a card from him dated December 9, two days after the Pearl Harbor attack, saying that he was alive and for them not to worry.

Two other Lakota boys, still unreported are:  Cecil Peterson, in the Army, son of former superintendent and Mrs. C. O. Peterson and Harold Joos, in the Navy, son of Mrs. Rose Joos, Buffalo Center.

Source: Algona Upper Des Moines, January 6, 1942