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, November 17, 1941

Home Town Proves to Be Vital Something To Soldier on Leave

By Corp. Jack Petrow
(Home on Furlough)

Well here it is furlough time again, and its sweet to be home. I guess a fellow doesn’t know how much he misses his home town until he goes away.

The old town looks just about the same, with one exception, most of my old high school friends are gone, either to some branch of the service or east or west to defense jobs. It makes it kind of lonesome. But it’s still good to be home.

I think a lot of the boys will be home again Christmas. There’s not much news from down south except that there is talk of sending the northern boys south and the southern boys north. That probably means we’ll be transferred some time after the first of the year. We don’t know where.

You’ll probably be seeing a few of the boys home for good pretty soon, those over 28 years. I guess I was born a few years too late. Well, I guess that takes care of my first week in town.



Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, December 4, 1941


It’s ‘Furlong’ Now When Any Soldier Is A.W.O.L.

Monday, Nov. 24—First of all I’d like to say in behalf of the men on furlough, thanks to Webster City for a couple of swell weeks. They were swell. Well we arrived safely tonight after burning out a generator in Missouri. We still made pretty good time though. We were well supplied with food, too. Pvt. John Miller brought along food to last us for a week. Fried chicken, cake, candy, rolls, etc. We sure hit it bad though. First thing in the morning we’ve got an alert. Last time we got back just in time to go on a maneuver. This time it’s an alert. Oh well. They’ve coined a new word for guys that go A.W.O.L. They call it a furlong. They go too fur and stay too long. Well I thought it was funny. Christmas furloughs are coming soon. Every man will get from 10 to 16 days.

Tuesday, Nov. 25—Up at 5 o’clock this morning. After two weeks of sleeping till noon, that’s still the middle of the night for me. Kind of chilly that early in the morning, too. We rolled full packs and walked six miles led by the 1st Sergeant Mahoney. After we got there my shoes looked like spats—It says here. Really it was quite a walk. Then we ate dinner and laid out all of our equipment for inspection by our battalion officers. Laid around til about 3 then walked back. It doesn’t make sense to me, but who am I to say? Turkey and all the trimmings for supper tonight. Man were we hungry. I wish I could have stopped to taste it. Some of the guys were eating so fast they were eating between bites, unquote. Went to the recreation hall tonight for a Hawaiian show. Not bad. Big parade tomorrow. I’m going to bed and try to think of a way to get out of it. I can dream can’t I.

Wednesday, Nov. 26—Big division parade today. We parade before our old division commander, Major General Walsh, now retired, and Governor Stassen, of Minnesota. I felt sorry for him. The parade started at 8 o’clock and was still going at 12:30. I guess they missed dinner. Oh well that wasn’t so bad. Today’s Wednesday. Stew for dinner. It seems as though all I’ve done since I got back is walk. I wonder if there is an opening in the cavalry. The 133rd played it’s first football game today. We played the 109th engineers. We beat them 16-0. Company E was well represented by Sergeant Greenley at center and Corporal Shelton at right halfback. It was a swell day for a game too. These nights are honeys too. Yea man!

Thursday, Nov. 27—Here comes the bad news. A maneuver tomorrow starting early in the morning and continuing till Saturday morning. All night in the field. So this morning we organized the battalion. Each company is at full war strength. So when everything is organized it makes a pretty big battalion. In fact it took quite a bit of the whole regiment to fill out a war strength battalion. This afternoon we came in early and had non-commissioned officers school. After supper we went to the company recreational hall, which incidentally has some tables and chairs and quite a few magazines. Also two swell ping-pong tables. It doesn’t look half bad now. It looks like Pvt. “Walter” Kephart is the ping-pong champ.

Friday, Nov. 28—Up at 4:30 this morning and was it cold out. After breakfast we got in the trucks and took out for a 30 mile drive to the maneuver area. We were put on the front line immediately. Unofficial reports have it that we won. I think we did because we captured most of the prisoners. It was a very favorable maneuver with one exception. When they hollered “Come and get it,” I ran off and left a 60 mm mortar sight. Spent most of the night hunting for it. No dice, though. We left about midnight and was it cold. The days are nice, but those nights, man I’m transferring to Iceland to warm up.

Saturday, Nov. 29—Went out early this morning to try and find our sight. Luck was with us we found it. This afternoon Corporal Meyer, McCollough and myself and Privates Lyons, Wilson and Loder went to New Orleans to the football game. We didn’t get there in time for the game, but we had a swell time. Vic Lyons is in love again. He said “she looked into his eyes and he looked into her bank book and he knew it was love.” Could be. New Orleans is really a beautiful place. The French quarter is nice, too.

Sunday, Nov. 30—We left New Orleans this noon and swore that we were coming back and that’s a fact. The 133rd played the 109th quartermasters yesterday and beat them 6-0. Sergeant Greenley played most of the game. The 34th division played the 37th division yesterday at Hattiesburg, Miss., but I haven’t heard how it came out yet. The 133rd had a big dance last night. That should have been a good deal, too, but I doubt it. I think there’s another hike coming up tomorrow, I’m afraid. Oh well.

Corporal Petrow


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


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