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, October 11, 1941

'Pay Day’ Big Event For Co. E

Thursday, Oct. 2—Boy is it ever swell to be back in camp. The cleanup is going to take us quite a while. They’ve torn the streets up pretty badly putting in our new recreation hall, but it’s really a honey. Have a big new chapel, too. Sat around and listened to the world series all afternoon. Been catching up on some much needed bunk fatigue this week. We’ve only had two hours’ drill in the morning.

Friday, Oct. 3—Well, you’ll soon be seeing some familiar faces around the town as the furloughs are coming out now. Fifty percent of the company get them. Boy if I only hadn’t taken mine. Oh, well, maybe we’ll get some after this first bunch gets back. Corporal Meyer’s brother, Harley, drove in today. He came down after Donnie, but the “Corp” couldn’t get away till Friday so he’s leaving tomorrow. He brought down a big ear of good old Iowa corn and I just about ate it off the cob.

Saturday, Oct. 4—Well, that day is here again when our “Uncle” gives through the nose. In other words pay day. Or better still, “Exchange day,” Inspection and property check this morning. Went to town this afternoon to spend my remaining 50 cents to get Harley Meyer off on the train. Tonight we went to the football game. Louisiana college beat the Delta Teachers from Mississippi, 7-0. Man what a night. A big southern moon, a car, a radio, but we lacked the one important thing. Gals! Well it was a swell game though.

Sunday, Oct. 5—Church this morning. Our new chapel isn’t quite ready yet, but it will be a honey. Laid around and played football the rest of the day. I think we’re going to have a regimental team. At least they’ve ordered 33 suits. Rained a little tonight so most of us went to the show, “That Night in Rio.” Very good.

Monday, Oct. 6—Well here we go back on the old schedule again, 8 hours a day. A hot day, but it beats maneuvers. I got another committee hung on me again. We’re going to have a big feed Wednesday night with all the trimmings. It’s to celebrate the successful maneuvers and also to get all the company together for a celebration before the furloughs and discharges come. Listened to the radio and lost 50 cents on the series game.

Tuesday, Oct. 7—We’re starting to sod all the dirt places on the company grounds. It’s going to look swell. The men in charge of Sergeant Meyers are doing a swell job. Drilled all day again. I guess we’re going to the range next week. Lt. Don Andrew and his family left tonight on a furlough and then he’s going to an officer’s school in Fort Benning, Ga., where Lt. Kenneth Nichols is now. We went to a dedication tonight. The 133rd built an athletic bowl and the division commander came over and dedicated it. He’s really a good Joe.

Wednesday, Oct. 8—Tomorrow night the boys leave on furlough, the lucky stiffs. We played football all afternoon. Plenty hot but fun. We had our big feed tonight. Man what a feast. Fried chickens. Whew, I never saw so much. We had 40 chickens for 150 men and was it good. Lt. M. J. House of H company was one of the guests. The cooks outdid themselves tonight. I’m going to bed and sleep the feed off.

Corporal Petrow


Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, October 21, 1941

(Corp. John Petrow, of Company E, is The Daily Freeman-Journal’s correspondent while the company is stationed at Camp Claiborne, La.)

Thursday, Oct. 9—Well, the furloughs started today and were the men excited. Corporal Meyer’s car was the first one to leave and he took my heart with him. Man am I homesick. With him were Corporal Lovelace, Privates Butler, Obe, Brenton, Larson and Philbrook. After that they left so fast that I couldn’t keep track of them. Oh well, we had ten swell days, and there’s more coming, I hope. Not much doing today. Just review.

Friday, Oct. 10—Got a little rain today. Cooled things off though. We’re fixing up the company area. We’re putting sod all around the mess hall and planting some bushes. It really looks swell. There is a lot of work connected with it though. Sergeants Meyers and Bever are in charge and the works are moving right along. The colonel was around inspecting again today and again he complimented Mess Sergeant Meller on his clean kitchen. He deserves a lot of credit for a grand job. Went to a show at the recreation hall tonight. Very, Very nice.

Saturday, Oct. 11—Inspection this morning. Ordnance and bunk inspection both. The colonel and a major inspected every tent in the area. He seemed satisfied and he complimented us on our area. Right after dinner the boys took off. Some went to town and some to Baton Rouge to see the football game. Sergeant Peters and John Miller went to Forest Hill and took an airplane ride. Being in my usual financial status, I stayed home and went to the show, “Navy Blues,” very funny. Listened to the radio and went to bed with the stove on as it’s getting pretty chilly nights and it’s making sleeping an extreme pleasure.

Sunday, Oct. 12—Went to church this morning and then played football. Well, all of the men have gone on their furloughs. Fifty per cent of the company has left and it is lonely. We had about 25 here for dinner. Man it’s lonely. What I wouldn’t give for one of W. C.’s malts. We had some company yesterday. Mrs. H. R. (Sarge) Mahoney and Mrs. Eugene Willson an Keith Van Fleet’s friend, Beulah Fowler, drove in right in the middle of a big rain. Boy it looked good to see some local beauty around here. Got all the local news from Mrs. Mahoney. Very quiet in camp tonight.

Monday, Oct. 13—Back to the field again today. We’re getting ready to go to the range so we’re doing some brushing up on the marksmanship. It’s rather dry stuff, but very essential. We had about 22 men in the field. Boy what a small company. The sod detail is coming along swell. We had company for supper tonight. The captain’s wife, Mrs. H. R. Mahoney and Sergeant Wilson’s wife and Miss Fowler dropped in for some of Co. E’s famous grub. Another show at the recreation hall tonight. Pretty good.

Tuesday, Oct. 14—Same old stuff in the field again. Pretty hot, too. Wonder how well the boys are doing on their furloughs. Man I’ll bet they’re having a picnic. If they don’t it’s their own fault. Will get ours in a couple of weeks, so far as we know. Went over to the regimental football meeting tonight. We’re going to get some pretty nice equipment too. Chicken for supper tonight. After supper we went over to “Markay” stadium for a jam session by Negro boys from the 367th inf. They were swell, too.

Wednesday, Oct. 15—Well it cooled off a little today, so it wasn’t so bad in the field. We started the day by getting an extra half hour of sleep. It’s new hours down here now. That extra sleep doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit. Wednesday afternoons off. Played football. Pvts. Alvin Fisher and Orville Jondal each got a big angelfood cake in the mail. And were they good. When the word got around that there cakes in camp, the lines formed quicker than they do at supper time. Went to the show with Privates Heggin and Hargan, but got turned down because we didn’t have ties on. Those M. P.’s just don’t listen to reason. Oh well, “HiyaBill.” I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. I hope.

Corporal Petrow


Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, October 27, 1941

Captain’s Daughter Celebrates

Thursday, Oct. 16—Out in the field again today. More preparations for the range. Not much going on with all the boys on furlough. We had a nice party tonight. The captain’s daughter, Cleone, had a birthday today, her thirteenth—As a result, Captain and Mrs. Meller, Mr. and Mrs. H. R. (Sarge) Mahoney, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Wilson and (now open for publication) Mr. and Mrs. Keith Van Fleet were over for supper, and a very good supper, too. Mess Sgt. “Frankie” Meller and Pinkie Kirkpatrick whipped up a swell cake. Very good, too. They also gave her a nice necklace.

Friday, Oct. 17—Same old stuff in the field today. Plenty hot down here. We had football practice tonight. Regimental team looks pretty good, too. I think Corporal Shelton will make the team. He’s looking good out there. We’re going to have a company team of seven man touch football. We’re going to play each company. F company is our first game next Wednesday. Went to a free movie tonight over at the recreation hall. Had a nice turnout, too. The chaplain says if they keep coming like they have been we’ll have more of them. I hope so.

Saturday, Oct. 18—Bunk inspection today. Very thorough. Oh, oh, the word just came down that we have caught camp guard. I missed it, being medical patient. (The army name for things like that is “goldbrick”.) Corporals Wilson and Shelton caught it though. They’re the only corporals available. Very lonely around here today. The remaining boys in camp are on guard. Sat around and heard Iowa get beat by Wisconsin. Went to the show and then to bed.

Sunday, Oct. 19—Went to church this morning. Not many there. Did my ironing. I’m getting pretty good at it now. Pvt. Bob Patterson has a honey of an iron which half the company uses. The boys got off guard this noon. There is a little more life in the company now. Played a little football this afternoon. Captain and Mrs. Meller and Mr. and Mrs. Mahoney took a trip to New Orleans yesterday. They got back tonight. I think we catch regimental guard tomorrow and I’m a cinch to get it. This guard deal is getting to be a habit. Oh well, I’ll get it over with.

Monday, Oct. 20—Went to the field for a couple of hours. We came in about 10 o’clock and practiced guard mount. We went on at 1:15 this afternoon. I got the second relief. On two hours and off four. The company had a call to arms tonight at 11 o’clock. They had to get out of bed and roll their packs. Then they got in trucks and rode out 15 miles. The irony of it was that they had to walk back. We were on guard. Very lucky. You should have heard the screaming when they had to get out of bed. But it’s only the army, you know.

Tuesday, Oct. 21—We got off guard at 1:15 and very glad of it. G company relieved us. We had the rest of the afternoon off so we practiced a few plays. We play F company tomorrow. Just got the word from the hospital that Sgt. Charles Meyers was operated on for appendicitis. A bad attack, too, but he’s recovering nicely. Sergeant Stamy is in the hospital with a case of the flu, but should be out in a couple of days. Kind of hot today, about 95 degrees. I see by the paper Iowa had a couple of frosts. We wouldn’t mind one down here.

Wednesday, Oct. 22—Out to the field again. More range work. They are setting up a few targets for us to practice on. Plenty hot today. Wednesday afternoon’s off now. We went over to see a new football field dedicated. Lt. Col. Greenfield kicked the first ball. A pretty nice field, but the kick wasn’t so hot. After that we went to another field and played F company in the first round of the elimination tournament. We beat them 7-0. Private Dale made the only touchdown on an intercepted pass. Corporal Shelton converted for the extra point. Man it was hot. I think I lost ten pounds. But it was worth it. We’re on the alert today so nobody leaves the company. Laid around and played cribbage with Sergeant Waggoner and lost two beers. Hit the bunk early. “Hiya Bill.” It won’t be long now.

Corporal Petrow


Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, Nov 3, 1941

Company E Drills—One Way or Another—So What?

Thursday, Oct. 23—Went to the field this morning. But we were called back about 9:30. We had to go up to the infirmary for another lockjaw shot. This makes the 12th anti-something or other shots we’ve had since we were inducted. This afternoon we practiced for our parade we had at retreat tonight. The 2nd battalion paraded for the 1st and 3rd. Also went to the dentist. They have a swell dental clinic here. All brand new equipment and swell dentists. That’s the army for you, if they don’t drill you one way they’ll get you another (pun intended). They do a honey of a job too. Corporal Shelton and Sergeant Greenley left on furlough last night. The lucky stiffs. It won’t be long now. We went to a training movie tonight. It was on bayonet practice. Not bad.

Friday Oct. 24—More field work. Were supposed to go to the range Monday. The selectees are going to get their chance to fire now. I believe we have some pretty good shots among them too. The boys should be home from furlough tomorrow. I hope. Not much going on today. In fact nothing. Jim Rawson stained all the wood in the new mess hall with a blow torch. Looks swell too. The company recreation is completed and we’ve got it all sodded and painted. It looks very nice. Now all we need is a bar and a bar tender. I wonder if the government issues any of them.

Saturday, Oct. 25—Inspection. We just got in 50 brand new M-1 rifles this morning. We’ve got just about one for every man now. I guess every co. in the regiment has the same amount. Lt. K. O. Nichols got back last night and according to unofficial reports have it that he has to go to North Carolina for maneuvers. That would be tough. I caught guard again today. This is getting to be wicked. Co. E has caught guard three times in a week and I’ve caught two out of three times. Not bad odds. Practice guard mount at 10 o’clock and go on guard at 1 o’clock this afternoon. This guard duty is very dry. Although we were lucky to have Lieutenant Esco as our officer of the day.

Sunday, Oct. 26—Nothing happened on guard except a lot of ducks or pelicans flew over during the night. Otherwise it was quiet. A lot of the boys on furlough got back last night and from all reports they had a swell time. How could they miss? They’re all pretty tired. Most of them spent the day cleaning off the grease from their new M-1 rifles. Got all of the local gossip. There wasn’t much of it though. The rest of them will probably be back tomorrow or Tuesday. Went to a show at the recreation hall last night. Pretty good, the gals were so-so, too. Went to bed early tonight as we’ll probably have to go to the range tomorrow.

Monday, Oct. 27—Rained all last night and cooled things off. It looked for a while like we wouldn’t go to the range, but they took us out about 10 o’clock. Four and a half miles out and four and a half back, by foot of course. Pvt. Frank Hawbaker did the best shooting so far. He got a 38 out of a possible 40. That’s pretty good shooting for the first time. Went up to see Sgt. Charles Meyers, who’s recovering from an appendicitis operation. He got his stitches out and he’s feeling pretty good. Sgt. James Stamy is well on the road to recovery. Sergeant Meyers is Co. E’s first surgical patient, and we hope the last.

Tuesday, Oct. 28—Back to the range again this morning. The best shooting was done by P. F. C. Herman de Young. He got a 90 out of a possible 100. Not bad. We came in this noon. After dinner we were supposed to go over to the recreation hall and get our pictures taken for our passes. We waited around all afternoon and no dice. We’ll probably get ours in the morning. Some of the boys are getting their discharges in the regiment. We have a few that will get out too. Just found out that Lieutenant Nichols isn’t going to North Carolina for maneuvers. He’s going to be stationed at Co. B. And that’s good news.

Corporal Petrow


Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, Iowa, Nov. 7, 1941

‘Wuz Robbed,’ Says Petrow As Company Drops Contest

Oct. 29—Back to the range again this morning. Same old stuff. The boys from the 168th are out on the mortar range. They had quite an incident there the other day. They fired a dud from the mortar and it only went 15 feet. Boy did those boys move. One of them struck oil before his feet took hold. Luckily it didn’t go off. We played seven man touch football this afternoon. They beat us 7-0. But “we wuz robbed.” Started raining this afternoon and has been ever since. Went over to the recreation hall and saw “Yogi” the magician, and he was really swell. In fact, I went back to see him again.

Thursday, Oct. 30—Rained all night and all day. It rained so much that the men didn’t even go to the range. And also it’s plenty cold down here. The ducks and pelicans are flying over in convoys. One flock of fucks flew near the range the other day. Just then the boys started firing, whiff, no ducks. I aim to get home in time to do a little pheasant hunting. That is if there are any left. Well, some of the discharges of the 28 year old men are back and some of these guys are running around like they’re crazy. Could be!

Friday, Oct. 31—It rained all day. Several of us are thinking of chipping in and buying us an ark. If this keeps up we’ll probably abandon our present schedule and take up swimming. Spent most of the day in the mess hall. That is most of the men did. The ones who were in the mess hall for school will be seen around the company area over the weekend—If you get what I mean. It’s been pretty chilly down here. We start wearing our woolens tomorrow. My woolen pants are pretty snug. In fact they are so small all I’ll have to do is turn the cuffs under and I’ll have knickers. But we’re getting new ones so all’s well.

Saturday, Nov. 1—Here it is the first of the month. We’ve been here eight months now. I wonder how much longer. There weren’t any Halloween pranks pulled last night. The boys couldn’t find anything to push over. Get it? We had ordnance inspection this morning. It went okay except that I got called on a dirty cartridge belt. Oh well. I deserved it. About ten of the boys (the richer ones) went to Baton Rouge this morning in a convoy to see L.S.U. play Tennessee. The lucky stiffs. Those left laid around and played football and listened to a few games. Played some cribbage and went to bed.

Sunday, Nov. 2—Slept late this morning, right up ’til 7:30. Went to church. Not much going on around here today. Everyone with any money has gone to town, both of them. Played some football this afternoon, but kind of hot. Went to the show, “Citizen Kane,” but was a bit deep. Listened to the radio the rest of the night. We had company for dinner today. The captain, his wife and daughter, Coleen, were here.

Monday, Nov. 3—Back to the field again today. No more range work ’til after the first of the year. This afternoon we went over to Recreation hall to get our blood typed. If they stick me once more with that needle I’ll look like a sieve. E company caught camp guard again today. It took about half of the company. Chicken and ice cream for supper. Not bad. Going to bed early tonight as tomorrow the eagle screams—yea man—it’s pay day.

Corporal Petrow

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



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