Pvt. John "Jack" Petrow, of Company E, 133rd infantry, 34th Division, U. S. national guard, stationed at Camp Claiborne, La., doubtless is undergoing similar experiences of "Private Plink,” the hero of the cartoon which is published daily in the Freeman-Journal. “Plink” Petrow’s articles will be carried at various times in which he will tell of experiences with Company E while in camp.


Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 8, 1941

It’s Corporal Petrow
Dances With Colonel’s Daughter—Six Steps—Loses Out to Sergeant.

Thursday, July 31—Got up early this morning and packed all of our stuff in preparation for the alert. Boy and were out tents bare. Not a thing left. We packed all of our stuff in barracks bags and stored them in our tents. We were all ready about 10 o’clock, but we didn’t leave until about 1:30. That’s the army for you, hurry up and wait around. Well we finally left and marched up to the motor pool and waited there for a couple of hours and came back. That’s another dry run for you. Rumor has it that 151st engineers are leaving for Alaska. The lucky stiffs!

Friday, Aug. 1—By rights this should be the day the eagle screams, but they’ve changed it to the 4th of the month. I don’t know why. We got the rest of the afternoon off. So we laid around and cleaned up our stuff. We’re going out on our maneuvers Monday, for the rest of the week, then we take off for six weeks. Man, man, what a deal. Today the cookies started coming in and I mean coming in. Shel got a big box and it took us exactly 38 seconds to finish them. I timed them. I believe every boy in camp got a box. I know I got a swell one from Mrs. J. M. Harvey, and I mean they were good. Wrote some letters and hit the bunk.

Saturday, Aug. 2—Boy did I get it today. C. Q., or in other words charge of quarters. Sunday I’m on guard. I believe 1st Sgt. Mahoney and I are going to have a heart to heart talk. I can dream can’t I. Inspection today and after that not much doing. Company E won the second round of the regiment softball tournament by beating Company H 6-0. Not bad. Went to the big dance tonight and it was a lulu. Danced with the colonel’s daughter, if that’s what you could call dancing. It was a tag dance and I took six steps and some sergeant cut in. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t care and besides he was bigger than me. Got to bed late.

Sunday, Aug. 3—Oh, me, a weekend of detail. C. Q. yesterday and guard today. This is division guard and not regiment guard. I have 12 men to post instead of the usual 3, and was it hot. I got the old “death watch” from 2 to 6 and I mean it’s lonely. Oh, well, I shouldn’t get this again for another three months. I hope not anyhow. 

Monday, Aug. 4—Got off guard at 2 o’clock and found out the rest of the company had left on maneuvers. I felt pretty good until I found out that I had to go too. Boy what have I done to deserve this punishment? We’ll be out there until Saturday, then Monday morning early we are leaving for six weeks. Oh, oh, I’m not happy. Well it could be worse. A lot worse. So I guess that’s all for a while. “Hiya Bill.”

Corporal Petrow
Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 12, 1941



May Not Get Answers Immediately—Men on Maneuvers.

Members of Company E, who are stationed at Camp Claiborne, soon will be engaged in full scale maneuvers, but regardless wherever they may be they will have their mail delivered to them. That was the word received Tuesday from Corp. Jack Petrow.

The corporal urges everyone to keep on “pushing those letters through to us.” While out on maneuvers, naturally the men will be unable to correspond regularly with their friends, so despite the fact that letters may not be answered for some time, keep “pushing those letters through.”

The proper way to address the letters to Company E members is:
Name of person
Co. E, 133rd Infantry,
34th Division,
Camp Claiborne, La.
APO No. 34

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 15, 1941

In the Field With Petrow

Corp. Jack Petrow, of Company E, 133rd Infantry, 34th Division, has been granted permission to continue his journalistic efforts by the commanding officer. The guardsmen who were stationed at Camp Claiborne, La., now are out for six weeks of maneuvers.

Monday, Aug. 11—Well, here we are getting ready for six weeks in the field. Today we spent most of the time putting our stuff in our mess hall. By 10 o’clock tonights our tents were empty. Not much doing. All the boys are pretty quiet. Most of them are getting their heads shaved. Corporal Shelton and Private Bashsford had all their hair shaved off except a little lock in front. Very classy. We slept on the floor.

Tuesday, Aug. 12—We pulled out last night, or rather this morning early. We drove until about 9 o’clock. It was a 90 mile trip. I bought a hammock and the first place we stopped didn’t have any trees. Boy, was I sick. Then we moved on to some trees. I set up my hammock and went to get my blanket. When I came back Lieut. Andrews was sound asleep in it. Fine thing, but what could I do about it? Laid around the rest of the day wondering how it would feel to sleep in my hammock.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 20, 1941

Has Trouble Getting Washing Dried While Out on Maneuvers.

Aug. 13—Well we’re all set up and I guess I will take it easy the rest of the maneuver. We’re going to do just like we did back at camp. Go out on small problems. We’ve really got a nice area here. Went swimming this afternoon. Swell place too. I guess we’ll be in this area for a few days. We all did some washing today. You should see some of these boys on their knees scrubbing clothes in the river. Good for a laugh.

Aug. 14—Back out on the field again. We surrounded a farm house and captured it. A lot of fun. Sergeant Baker and Corporal Shelton and I sat along the highway and watched a battalion of light tanks roll by. Boy what a sight. There was about 100 of them and they really move. Some cavalry came in too. There’s going to be a half a million men in this six weeks maneuver. Some of the boys are unhappy. We just got the word that the draft bill was passed.

Aug. 15—Another problem this morning. Pretty hot today though. This afternoon the word came down to get ready to move out and I just got through washing my clothes, but I packed them anyhow. Got already to go then we were told we had to stay until after supper. There I was all packed. Boy I wouldn’t unload them. We pulled out about 8 o’clock and arrived at our new area about 11 miles from Texas. Very nice place.

Corporal Petrow

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 22, 1941

In the Field With Corporal Petrow

About Only Battle He Has Is With His Hammock—So He Says.

Saturday, Aug. 16—Nothing doing today. Rolled our packs and sat around and waited for the word to move. I’ve put that hammock up an down so many times that the ropes are worn out and I don’t trust it any more. A lot more of the boys got their heads shaved again today. Among them was Corporal Meyer and he looks like a plucked chicken. Sat around the rest of the day and got beat at casino and other games of chance. Unrolled my hammock again as the word just came down that we’re staying here all night.

Sunday, Aug. 17—Slept late again. Went to church out of doors. Nice sermon. Read a book of Sergeant Stamy’s. Time sure passes slow. Here we are waiting again to move and no word to go. Ten new airplanes flew over about 150 feet high. Very pretty sight. Wrote some letters and played checkers with Private Cooper. I got beat as usual. Went to bed early. Nothing else to do.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 25, 1941

Somewhere in Louisiana With Petrow

Corp. Jack Petrow writes again of experiences of Company E members who are on maneuvers “somewhere in Louisiana.”

Monday, Aug. 18—Pulled out about 2 a m. and rode til about 10. Then we stopped and rested. We found a swell stream with cold running water and a sand bottom. Boy what a treat to lay around in that water. We all washed our clothes and shaved did we need it. We were still in the water when they started to move again. You should have seen those guys running to catch up with half of their clothes on. It was good for a laugh. We pulled in to our new sector about 9 o’clock tonight. Can’t tell much about this place, it’s too dark.

Tuesday, Aug. 19—We pulled in here about 9 p.m. and pulled out again about 2:30. We ate breakfast on the road and stopped about 7 o’clock for a short rest. We’re close to the enemy. We pulled out to relieve the 168th, who have been chasing the foe all the day before. We chased them all day. But never quite caught them. Boy what a walk we had—all day under this hot sun. About 4 o’clock a plane flew over and the war was over. We walked back about a mile and pitched our tents in a swell place. We’re supposed to have couple of days’ rest.

Corporal Petrow

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 26, 1941

Somewhere in Louisiana With Petrow

Corp. Jack Petrow writes again of experiences of Company E members, national guard, who are out on maneuvers “somewhere in Louisiana.”

Swim Over to Texas

Wednesday, Aug. 20—Moved again this morning, about 11 miles closer to Texas. Very dusty. Ate dinner about 1:30 and had the rest of the day to ourselves. So a bunch of the follows, namely Corporals Lovelace, Meyers and myself and Privates Obe, Loder, Philbrook and Couger, went down to the Sabine river and swam over into Texas. The first time we’ve been in Texas. The part we saw didn’t look any different from Louisiana. Found a few species of snakes around this region These are the first we’ve seen. But they’re more afraid of us than we are of them.

Corporal Petrow

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, August 29, 1941

Somewhere in Louisiana With Petrow

Corp. Jack Petrow writes again of experiences of Company E members, national guard, who are out on maneuvers “somewhere in Louisiana.”

Retracts Statement

Saturday, Aug. 23—Another day of leisure. Inspection today and our guns really needed a working over. The inspection was pretty tough. We went to town this afternoon, after getting a haircut by Sgt. Homer Ankrum. Not a bad job either. The town is De Ridder, three miles from where we’re camped. I want to retract my previous statement about Lieutenant Andrews sleeping in my hammock. He wasn’t sleeping, he was only resting his eyes. “Yi ya W.C.”

Sunday, Aug. 24—A day of rest. Slept late again. Well until 8 o’clock. Went to church. Did some washing. This afternoon we went down to the river and went swimming. We had showers and everything. A fellow from F company had a portable radio, so we stopped and listened to some real music; the first in about three weeks. Sergeant Baker, Corporal Meyer and I got some hamburger from the kitchen and fried some for sandwiches for supper. “Ma” Baker cooks a pretty mean burger, just like back home.

Corporal Petrow

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, September 2, 1941

Corp. Jack Petrow writes again of experiences of Company E members, national guard, who are out on maneuvers “somewhere in Louisiana.”

War Starts Again

Monday, Aug. 25—Well, the war starts again. Our division is in corps reserve. We move out tonight over by Leesville. My hammock threw me last night. So I’m going back to sleeping on the ground. I guess they’re going to operate on Sergeant Bever from all reports. Nothing much to do today. Played some cards. L. B. Woodie and Corporal Peterson are the 500 champs, undefeated. We rolled our packs and about 7 o’clock got in the trucks. After a lot of hemming and hawing we pulled out. We now are about four miles from Leesville. Not a bad place.

Corporal Petrow

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, Sept. 4, 1941

Somewhere in Louisiana With Petrow

Corp. Jack Petrow writes again of experiences of Company E members, national guard, who are out on maneuvers “somewhere in Louisiana.”

Ash Caught Short

We got in our new area about 2 o’clock in the morning. Not a bad place. About five miles from Leesville. Slept late for a change. About 10:30. We had a gas attack and Private Ash had just taken a big chew of tobacco. He had to keep his gas mask on for ten minutes, too. He didn’t look so good after he took it off. Kind of blue around the gills. Stayed here the rest of the day. Not much doing.

Wednesday, Aug. 27—Pulled out last night about 9:30. Rode for about 45 miles. Then we slept for about two hours and ate breakfast and took off on foot. It was still dark and we walked for about six miles. We were supposed to contact the enemy, but at 8:30 we were still walking and still no enemy. Then the war was over. All that walk and no enemy. We waited around until noon, then they took us to our new area where we pitched tents.

Thursday, Aug. 28—They came around last night or rather this morning about 2:30 and woke us up; told us to get ready to move. We rolled our packs half asleep and got ready. Then we waited for a while; quite a while. In fact we haven’t left yet. Waited around all day playing cards and sleeping. Went down to the creek and had a nice swim. Also did our washing—and did it need it! We’ll probably pull out tonight as a bunch of trucks just pulled in. I hope so.

Corporal Petrow

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, Sept. 6, 1941

Somewhere in Louisiana With Petrow

Corp. Jack Petrow writes again of experiences of Company E members, national guard, who are out on maneuvers “somewhere in Louisiana.”

No Trees

Friday, Aug. 29—We pulled into our new area about 10:30 p. m. last night and what a place. Not a tree in sight. Miles and miles of trees in Louisiana and we were given a tract without a shrub! We were awakened about 5 o’clock this morning by the sun. The only shade we got was from the grass and it was only ankle deep. Now we know where that saying “crazy with the heat” came from. About noon we moved to a new area, on foot of course. Hot and dusty, but it was worth it. Went swimming. Swell place. Showers and everything.

Finally See a Show

Saturday, Aug. 30—This morning we had inspection, mess gear, ordnance and all kinds of stuff like that thar. Some of the boys caught some fish. Private Kephart caught some nice ones. This afternoon Corporals Meyer, Lovelace and myself went to town. Saw the show. A rootin’ tootin’ western, but it was a show. The other feature I think was directed by D. W. Griffiths. It really stunk, but we liked it. We also bought a malted milk that was almost as good as the one W. C. Fastenow puts out. I said almost.

New Officer

Sunday, Aug. 31—Went to church this morning early. We have a new lieutenant with us. He’s Second Lieutenant Walter Ecco from Wichita, Kan. He was a reserve officer before he came to Co. E and he’s a really a nice fellow, too. Another treat! Today the eagle screamed again, it’s pay day. Or rather it is exchange day. I exchanged my money for what I owe. Rained a little today. Nice. Cooled things off.

Now Are Blues

Monday, Sept. 1—Went out to the field today. We’re having a C.P.X. the rest of the week. C.P. X. meaning command post exercise. That’s where the captains all got out and go through the next maneuver which starts the 6th. We’ve been Reds for three weeks, but now we’re the Blues. Rained some today. I’ve given the hammock up. It threw me too many times.

Corporal Petrow



~Transcriptions done & submitted by Hamilton County Iowa researcher, Pat Juon, July 2016



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