Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lee R. Christensen's World War II Diary


 I started my diary 8th December 1941.  Not because that is the day after Pearl Harbor, but because that was the day the 2nd Battalion 222 Field Artillery Regiment was scheduled to leave for the Oakland (California) Port of Embarkation and the Philippines Islands, code name “Plum.”

     The attack on Pearl Harbor 7th December drastically altered the schedule but it was 3 days before new orders were issued.  In the meantime, we left Camp San Luis Obispo on schedule, motored to San Francisco, crossed the Bay Bridge and spent 4 days at the Oakland Army Base waiting for new orders, unloading our equipment and moving out to a new assignment.

     When this diary starts, I’m a gun Sgt in Btry “D”, 2nd Bn 222 FA Reg. 40th Division.  When the army modernized the Infantry Division in early 1942 Btry “D” became Btry “A” 204 FA Bn-a separate FA battalion.

     Btry “D” (which became Btry “A”) was a Utah National Guard unit federalized 3rd March 1941 and from Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  It was still 65% men from in and around Mt. Pleasant on 8th December.

     I don’t know how good an Army unit had to be to be sent to the Philippines fall of 1941.  But I’ve always thought being selected to go 6 months after going on active duty was commendable recognition.  However, after passing the GHQ tests and being selected, all our over age-in-grade officers were reassigned, one of whom was my father, Major Lee R. Christensen.  We lost the officers’ who made us good.
    The officers we lost went on to lead service units overseas.  The Battalion, at the 204th, regrouped, lost many men to other services, OCS, Air Force, and Cadres but earned 5 battle stars in the ETO.  (European Theatre of Operation.) By then they had modern equipment; radios, jeeps, machine guns and a 155 howitzer that was not a rusting relic of WWl.


Friday, December 19, 1941
Today has been my day of rest.  I slept most of the afternoon.  In the evening I washed my dirty clothing and listened to rumors saying we were leaving in the morning.

Saturday, December, 20, 1941
Today dawned as an ordinary day.  For the first while it propelled along that line.  Suddenly the word came that we were to pack, load and pull out.  Everyone jumped to the task and Benicia Arsenal became a memory at 4:30pm.
Our new home is the Presidio at San Francisco.  We moved into new barracks, drew our beds, sheets and mattresses and made ourselves at home.  It seems we are to be the “gypsy” soldiers.





Presidio 




Sunday, December 21, 1941
Four more days till Christmas, four more days to the greatest day of the year.   In all my eighteen years, I have never missed a Christmas.  My nineteenth year is going to be different.  Christmas seems farther away than Mars.  I haven’t wondered what Santa was going to bring.  I haven’t been busy buying presents and gifts for family and friends.  Yes, Christmas for me in the year 1941 is going to be much different.
This day has been very ordinary.  Ordinary is hardly the word.  Very undecided fits better.  We were told to get ready to head for a new home.  By night fall they had ordered us five different times on what to take with us, all different.  A man doesn’t stay in the army 9 months without getting used to that.
Our home here is somewhat crowded.  I’ve had some of the men double deck their beds.  Our stay is going to be brief as we’re told that there is a new place awaiting our arrival.  Probably leave about Wednesday.  We’re right under the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco bay in front of us.

Monday, December 22, 1941
What’s that damn noise and what time is it?  So I thought as I reached for the alarm clock which read five o’clock.  Five o’clock hadn’t seemed early the night before especially when a shower was planned before breakfast.  Now in the early, cold damp, foggy morning, five o’clock seemed earlier than the birth of time.  With this thought paramount in my mind, I cuddled farther back into the blankets to sleep until six thirty.
The early afternoon found me peering with intense curiosity at a Christmas present sent to Cpl. John Seely.  John had intended waiting till Christmas to open it, but “curiosity killed the cat” and he opened it.  It contained not a billfold, pint of whiskey or razor but two books and a pamphlet.  The books were titled “Articles of Faith” and “Book of Mormon” the pamphlet “Church Hymns”.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn in years to come that the boy who set Mt. Pleasant on its heels with his escapades is now bishop.   Even tonight he began getting ready to convert the Second Section.  Right now he is snoring to the tune “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.”

Tuesday, December 23, 1941
It was a meek and somewhat hushed up sound from the Revelry gun that jarred me into reality this morning.  It is not often that the Revelry gun fails.  Mystery was aloft.  Perhaps the Japs had sabotaged it while we slept.  It was all cleared up later when a regional official brought a statement of charges down against Cliff Brewer.  The charge said Cliff owed Uncle Sam seventy-one cents for a muzzle cover that had been blown to “pollen dust” in discharging the Revelry gun.  Cliff had pulled the trigger.

“D” BTRY was short of men today (daily occurrence).  In the absence of no one better Sgt. Charley Wright allowed me to service a truck.  It was greased, washed and gassed with my unsteady hands.  A few more days and I can expect an invitation to the “grease monkeys club”.
Grandmother and Grandfather Christensen remembered their grandson who is risking his limbs and life for freedom, democracy and Roosevelts fourth term by sending him a delicious box of candy and a lifetime Eversharp.

Wednesday, December 24, 1941
The recreational facilities of the Y.M.C.A. were discovered today.  I enjoyed a workout in basketball.  I prepared myself for the trip to Manila by a swim.  I sharpened my aim with a game of pool.  The enjoyment was cut short by an order sending me to the barracks.  It seems that the “jitters” had reached headquarters.  They fear a Jap attack.
I talked with mother during the evening.

Thursday, December 25, 1941
To walk my post, that has been my main thought this Christmas day.  I went on guard from 2 pm till 6.  I got in a short swim and a workout on the poundings bags.
I received sisters Jane’s and Ruth’s Christmas present.

Friday, Saturday, December 26-27, 1941
Still alive

Sunday, December 28, 1941
Spending last day here in Presidio.  My trigger finger itches more every day.  The Japs have raised our emotions to the point where we could kill everyone, women children included.  I only hope I get a chance to level down on them.
I splashed around in the Y.M.C.A. pool again today.  I’m hardly ready for a swim across the Pacific.

Monday, 29, 1941
Packed up my belongings and bid farewell to Presidio this morning at seven o’clock.  I had risen early and was eager to shake the dew (no dust at Presidio) from my heels.  The gypsy caravan (officially the 2nd BN 222 FA) was again on the move.
At three thirty I saw the familiar two fingers Hollister Hill in the distance and knew that the old hunting ground of Camp San Luis Obispo was near.  My heart beat didn’t increase as I came nearer, my “adams apple” did not rise.  Not being sentimental I don’t give a damn for San Luis.

After a somewhat tasty but meager supper, I took off for the once booming town of San Luis Obispo.




Chow line 
Examples of Chow Time In the Field.


Like a ghost town it was.  No care free, hell bent soldiers were drinking away their small funds.  The bars were lonesome, the motion pictures were being shown to and empty house.  San Luis Obispo has lost its gold mine. 
I sipped a number of gin fizzes, there being nothing else to do.  Even one fizz makes my teeth feel as though they haven’t been brushed in years.  It is a mystery to me why men like the “demon” alcohol.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Did Men Also Wear Corsets?


What a strapping young lad.


Men wore corsets. Gentlemen as well as ladies shaped their waists in the Regency era. Ladies’ corsets were relatively forgiving, providing lift rather than Victorian-era constriction.




~~~~~~~~~



I leaf through my copy of Valerie Steele’s The Corset: A Cultural History   In particular I look over the few pages on men’s corsets in the nineteenth century, a short-lived phenomena in which manufacturers produced undergarments for men that allowed them to control their proportions and achieve desirable bodies.


Steel sees the use of corsets as an essential part of the modernization of fashion. As the Industrial Revolution made various types of clothing more readily available, the ideal of the ‘aristocratic’ body type became the ‘feminine’ body type. Garments were constructed with the feminine body in mind, which made corseting essential to fitting in (indeed, filling) the clothes.


Corsets belonged men’s sartorial regimens since the eighteenth century. Military officers, particularly cavalry men, felt that they were an indispensable means of back support. According to Steel, dandyism put the notion of men’s corsets into the public sphere, but not without controversy.


The number of dandy caricatures produced between 1815 and 1820 indicates that at least a conspicuous minority of fashionable men wore stays or corsets ... . Nevertheless, the idea of a man wearing stays struck people as truly ludicrous, especially as it could easily evoke the complimentary idea of women in breeches.


Fashionable menswear continued to emphasize the cinched waist throughout the 1830s. One French dandy of the era insisted that “the secret ... of the dress lies in the thinness and narrowness of the waist. Catechize your tailor about this ... Insist, order, menace ... Shoulders large, the skirts of the coat ample and flowing, the waist strangled – that’s my rule.”

Steele argues that although men’s fashions emphasized the slender waist, use of corset was frowned upon. Discussions of male corseting contributed to discourses on the dissipation of national strength and military prowess. Another fashion history, Elisabeth Hackenspiel, notes that the tailoring of men’s clothing necessitated corseting, even though society associated it with effeminacy, contributing to an incongruity between ideals of masculine beauty and sartorial practices. Throughout the century the practice disappeared to the peripheries of men’s fashion.


After 1850s, men who wore corsets usually claimed to need them for medical reasons, often back support. Not only had fashionable menswear become looser, obviating the potential need for figure controlling garments, but the prevailing bourgeois worldview increasingly held that men should not think about trivialities such as fashion.

Unfortunately, Steele does not explain positive reasons why the practice waned. I suspect that the rising popularity of gymnastics offered a ‘natural’ alternative to body contouring that improved the strength of the body rather than depleting it. Researching my MA thesis, I came across numerous discussions between Zionist physicians about how with properly tailored gymnastics programs could help achieve the corseted look without the ills associated therewith.



Sources:
The Corset, Valerie Steele, p. 35-39
http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/tagungsberichte/id=529

Monday, December 26, 2016

Enjoy the Holiday Seasaon !!!!

And  Thank You for your interest, your contributions, photos and histories of Mt. Pleasant.

Saturday, December 24, 2016



MIRACLE ON HORSESHOE MOUNTAIN, CHRISTMAS EVE 

from Saga of the Sanpitch

Halbert S. Greaves
It seemed a losing moment for the sun,
Which sent its winter warmth against the snow
On Horseshoe's crest and endless slopes below.
Across the valley, mountains to the west
 Reached up to gather in the lingering light
And cloak the sun in dark, cold night
But then a miracle on Christmas Eve
Decreed that sun should halt in western skies
And wait for giant, silver moon to rises
Then fiery sun and radiant moon combined
 To conjure magic with converging rays
 And swiftly set the mountain snow ablaze.
NOTE; Christmas Eve, 1928. I was standing on the second floor fire escape at North Sanpete High School watching the simultaneous setting of the sun and rising of the full moon. The snow in Horseshoe's cirque and on its crest was pink for a few minutes. I have pictured that beautiful sight in my mind for 53 years.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Classic Christmas Stories In Public Domain


Do you need a good Christmas Story 
for School, Church, Club, etc?  

Below is "THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL 
BY HANS ANDERSON 



Here is a Good Source


http://ebookfriendly.com/christmas-stories-free-download/

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL* HANS ANDERSEN

 It was dreadfully cold; it was snowing fast, and was almost dark, as evening came on—the last evening of the year. In the cold and the darkness, there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but they were much too large for her feet,—slippers that her mother had used until then, and the poor little girl lost them in running across the street when two carriages were passing terribly fast. When she looked for them, one was not to be found, and a boy seized the other and ran away with it, saying he would use it for a cradle some day, when he had children of his own. So on the little girl went with her bare feet, that were red and blue with cold.

 In an old apron that she wore were bundles of matches, and she carried a bundle also in her hand. No one had bought so much as a bunch all the long day, and no one had given her even a penny. Poor little girl! Shivering with cold and hunger she crept along, a perfect picture of misery! The snowflakes fell on her long flaxen hair, which hung in pretty curls about her throat; but she thought not of her beauty nor of the cold. Lights gleamed in every window, and there came to her the savory smell of roast goose, for it was New Year's Eve. And it was of this which she thought. In a corner formed by two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sat cowering down. She had drawn under her little feet, but still she grew colder and colder; yet she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not bring a penny of money. 

Her father would certainly beat her; and, besides, it was cold enough at home, for they had only the house roof above them; and, though the largest holes had been stopped with straw and rags, there were left many through which the cold wind whistled. And now her little hands were nearly frozen with cold. Alas! a single match might do her good if she might only draw it from the bundle, rub it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. So at last she drew one out. Whischt! How it blazed and burned! It gave out a warm, bright flame like a little candle, as she held her hands over it. A wonderful little light it was. It really seemed to the little girl as if she sat before a great iron stove, with polished brass feet and brass shovel and tongs. So blessedly it burned that the little maiden stretched out her feet to warm them also. 

How comfortable she was! But lo! the flame went out, the stove vanished, and nothing remained but the little burned match in her hand. She rubbed another match against the wall. It burned brightly, and where the light fell upon the wall it became transparent like a veil, so that she could see through it into the room. A snow white cloth was spread upon the table, on which was a beautiful china dinner service, while a roast goose, stuffed with apples and prunes, steamed famously, and sent forth a most savory smell. And what was more delightful still, and wonderful, the goose jumped from the dish, with knife and fork still in its breast, and waddled along the floor straight to the little girl. But the match went out then, and nothing was left to her but the thick, damp wall. She lighted another match. And now she was under a most beautiful Christmas tree, larger and far more prettily trimmed than the one she had seen through the glass doors at the rich merchant's. Hundreds of wax tapers were burning on the green branches, and gay figures, such as she had seen in the shop windows, looked down upon her. The child stretched out her hands to them; then the match went out. 

Still the lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher. She saw them as stars in heaven, and one of them fell, forming a long trail of fire. "Now some one is dying," murmured the child softly; for her grandmother, the only person who had loved her and who was now dead, had told her that whenever a star falls a soul mounts up to God. 

She struck yet another match against the wall, and again it was light; and in the brightness there appeared before her the dear old grandmother, bright and radiant, yet sweet and mild, and happy as she had never looked on earth. "Oh, grandmother," cried the child, "take me with you. I know you will go away when the match burns out. You, too, will vanish, like the warm stove, the splendid New Year's feast, the beautiful Christmas Tree." And lest her grandmother should disappear, she rubbed the whole bundle of matches against the wall. 

And the matches burned with such a brilliant light that it became brighter than noonday. Her grandmother had never looked so grand and beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and both flew together, joyously and gloriously, mounting higher and higher, far above the earth; and for them there was neither hunger, nor cold, nor care;—they were with God. 

But in the corner, at the dawn of day, sat the poor girl, leaning against the wall, with red cheeks and smiling mouth,—frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and cold she sat, with the matches, one bundle of which was burned. "She wanted to warm herself, poor little thing," people said. No one imagined what sweet visions she had had, or how gloriously she had gone with her grandmother to enter upon the joys of a new year. * From "Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales." By permission of publishers—Ginn & Company. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Artwork ~~~ by George Hinke

By George Hinke

Biographical Brief

George Hinke was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1883 and schooled in a classic style of painting.  Mr. Hinke came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1923, where he worked at a printing shop until he opened his own studio.  From 1944 until Mr. Hinke’s death in 1953, Ideals commissioned him to create many works of art.  In addition to Santa Claus, Mr. Hinke’s subjects included American small-town life, American flags, and religious scenes – all in his classic, nostalgic style.  The paintings in the 1961 Ideals Magazine Collector’s Edition of Jolly Old Santa Claus are rendered in oil on stretched canvas.  The influence of Mr. Hinke’s German background is evident in the Santa Claus series: from Santa’s castle, which resembles the castles of Bavarian King Ludwig, to the Black Forest clock on the wall of Santa’s workshop to the elves themselves, who are reminiscent of those characters in stone that decorate many German gardens.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

AN INCIDENT~~~ by Verla Mikkelsen Marx

 What was that! Mary Ann's eyes went wide with fear, but she knew she had to remain calm so she wouldn't frighten her younger brothers and sisters. The strange scratchy noise came again. What should she do? Her thoughts flew back to early morning and she heard her mother and father giving last minute instructions.

 "Mary Ann, Indians were sighted in the hills west of town this morning. We wish we didn't have to leave you alone today, "but this trip is necessary to get flour for winter, so be sure you do exactly as we tell you to. " Mother was putting things in the wagon as she spoke. 

Father came in and began giving her instructions on what her duties for the day would be. "Take good care of your younger sisters and brothers today. Make sure they stay close around home. Get the chores done before dark. Make sure the chickens, pigs, cow and calf are locked up tight in their pens at least a half an hour before dark. Then you take the little ones into the house, cover the windows and lock the door. 

If the Indians come this way they probably won't bother you unless they can see a light. " 

Mother and father had left early to get wheat ground into flour, and it always took a full day. They had to travel eight miles to the mill and the horses couldn't go faster than a walk with their heavy load. 

Mary Ann surely wished mother and father would get back. To calm her fears, she gathered her sisters and brothers around her on the bed. She would tell them a story. There was that noise again. This time the other children heard it too. 

Joe said, "I know, let's hide!" Mary Ann thought that was a good idea, so she turned the washtub over and hid her two sisters under that. Joe and George climbed into the loft and covered themselves with an old quilt. Mary Ann crawled under the bed.

 Now they could even hear voices. They all stayed very quiet for what seemed an eternity to Mary Ann. Finally, gathering all her courage, she lifted the corner of the blanket covering the window and looked out. 

There in the moonlight were her parents, taking care of the horses before coming into the house.

 Source: An incident in the life of Mary Ann Christine Jensen Mikkelsen

Monday, December 19, 2016

CHRISTMAS EVENTS IN UTAH

ONLY IN UTAH ~ CHRISTMAS EVENTS


Stroll the streets of London (in St. George and Salt Lake) at the Dickens Christmas Festival.  also see link for 14 more http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/utah/christmas-attractions-in-ut/




Also See:  Also See


and: http://icecastles.com/midway/

Ice Castles of Midway

Saturday, December 17, 2016




Christmas Open House

 Friday, December 16, 2016
 
The Valentine Carriage House is having an Open House. Tours, snacks, a game of pool and foosball in the game room, and Christmas music.
Come join us!
Location: 616 S. 500 W. in Mt. Pleasant
Contact: Lynn Brothersen
Phone: 435-262-0341
https://www.vrbo.com/445229
lynnjej@yahoo.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Matt Speakman

 Anyone who has lived here in Mt. Pleasant for several recent years remembers Matt Speakman.  He would walk through town or ride his bike and wave to everyone.  His adoptive Parents, Gene and Elaine Speakman recently moved to Idaho to be near their children who live there.  We miss Matt  He was the friendliest person in town. 

Sugar City Idaho now welcomes him as their own.


LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM EMBRACES MAN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS AS WATERBOY

LOCAL SPORTS

 0  Updated at 6:20 am, October 24th, 2016 By: Nichole Stanford, EastIdahoNews.com
SHARE THIS STORY

Waterboy Matt Speakman poses for a photo after a local high school football game. | Nichole Stanford, EastIdahoNews.com
SUGAR CITY — If you asked most of the players on the Sugar-Salem football team who their MVP is, without a doubt they would say waterboy Matt Speakman.
When Tyler Richins started coaching the Sugar Salem Digger’s football team, he met Matt, a man with special needs, riding his bike around town and watching practices. After getting to know him, Richins knew he wanted him to be a part of his team.
“I found out he liked football. He switched back and forth between BYU and Utah, depending on who he is watching it with,” Richins said.
When Richins asked Speakman if he wanted to be the waterboy, he didn’t even hesitate to say yes.
“The kids love him — he’s missed when he’s not here,” Richins said. “They treat him really well. It’s not only good for Matt, but it’s good for our team to have him there. It’s a good opportunity to have them work with Matt and have Matt work with them. When he’s not at practice, or not at a game, we feels like we are missing a teammate.”
Speakman likes being a part of the team. He gets to go on the bus with them and he loves interacting with the players.
“I like to help the football team and help them win. I like to ride on the bus with them,” Matt said. He gives all the boys high fives and loves to just be a part of the Digger family.
“He rides the bus to and from games, he comes to practices every day. He’s super reliable. I don’t have to harp on him and tell him to get those bottles filled,” Richins said. “As soon as he gets here he knows what his responsibilities are, his job is. He stands real close so when the players need water. I don’t have to say, ‘Hey, where’s Matt at?’ He’s always where he needs to be, he knows when to keep his distance. It would be a lot more of a challenge if he wasn’t here. He does a lot of good things for us.”

Nichole Stanford, EastIdahoNews.com
Being the kicker for the team, Kyle Terry is on the sidelines for most of the games. He has had the chance to get to know him and loves having Matt on the team.
“Matt is a special guy,” Kyle said. “A lot of fun. He is always coming up to us asking ‘How are you, how you doing?’ We love having him on the team. He’s a people person he likes being around people, talking to people. He does it for the guys. He loves just hanging out with the guys. It’s different having someone like him as the waterboy instead of just another player — it makes it that much more special.”
Matt Christensen’s son Jake is a junior at Sugar-Salem and loves having Matt as their waterboy. Christensen knows the importance that having someone like Matt in his son’s life.
“I love Matt being the waterboy. It gives him a real sense of purpose,” Christensen said. “He feels like he is a part of the team. He talks about it all the time almost nonstop. I know his parents really enjoys the role that he plays. The coaches make him feel included, the kids make him feel included. Matt grooves on it. Jake thinks it’s cool. I don’t want to say that he’s filled a position, but he really has. He’s made these boys think about more than themselves which for kids that age is kind of hard to do because they are very self centered.”

Monday, December 12, 2016

Treasured Photos From Our Archives

Sunshine Club 
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FR
 MT. PLEASANT GIRLS REPRESENTING THE THIRTEEN COLONIES 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ISIAH COX
FIRST WHITE PERSON BORN IN MT. PLEASANT *1859 
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1914 PHOTO TAKEN OF ORIGINAL PIONEERS STILL LIVING 
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



LOCAL REDSKINS ON MAIN STREET
unknown occasion

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Thursday, December 8, 2016

JOURNEY OF FAITH by David R. Gunderson


With permission of David R. Gunderson, we include the following book to our blog.   I will do a few increments at a time, as I have done with the Andrew Madsen and James Monsen histories.  I will also paste the pages over to David's own blog page: http://davidrgunderson.blogspot.com/
This book will be of interest to not only the Gunderson Family but also to the BrothersonEricksenPeel,   Madsen, Larsen and more.

JOURNEY OF FAITH
Erick and Caroline Gunderson
The following are events that took place in Mt. Pleasant after the Gundersons arrived in Mt. Pleasant.  Also included are sketches of Salt Lake City as it looked in 1865
JOF55
JOF56
JOF57
JOF58
JOF58a

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

LEE R. CHRISTENSEN'S WWII DIARY





By Way of Explanation

     I started my diary 8th December 1941.  Not because that is the day after Pearl Harbor, but because that was the day the 2nd Battalion 222 Field Artillery Regiment was scheduled to leave for the Oakland (California) Port of Embarkation and the Philippines Islands, code name “Plum.”

     The attack on Pearl Harbor 7th December drastically altered the schedule but it was 3 days before new orders were issued.  In the meantime, we left Camp San Luis Obispo on schedule, motored to San Francisco, crossed the Bay Bridge and spent 4 days at the Oakland Army Base waiting for new orders, unloading our equipment and moving out to a new assignment.

     When this diary starts, I’m a gun Sgt in Btry “D”, 2nd Bn 222 FA Reg. 40th Division.  When the army modernized the Infantry Division in early 1942 Btry “D” became Btry “A” 204 FA Bn-a separate FA battalion.

     Btry “D” (which became Btry “A”) was a Utah National Guard unit federalized 3rd March 1941 and from Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  It was still 65% men from in and around Mt. Pleasant on 8th December.

     I don’t know how good an Army unit had to be to be sent to the Philippines fall of 1941.  But I’ve always thought being selected to go 6 months after going on active duty was commendable recognition.  However, after passing the GHQ tests and being selected, all our over age-in-grade officers were reassigned, one of whom was my father, Major Lee R. Christensen.  We lost the officers’ who made us good.
    The officers we lost went on to lead service units overseas.  The Battalion, at the 204th, regrouped, lost many men to other services, OCS, Air Force, and Cadres but earned 5 battle stars in the ETO.  (European Theatre of Operation.) By then they had modern equipment; radios, jeeps, machine guns and a 155 howitzer that was not a rusting relic of WWl.



I need to thank the people who devoted their time helping me decipher my handwriting from a journal kept 75 years ago.  Thanks to Tracy, my daughter and David, her husband. 

I would also like to thank Les Christiansen who shared many of the photos you will find in the diary.  His father, John M. Christiansen, was from Pleasant Grove, Utah.  He was with the 222nd/204th-sevice battery.  He was training at the Yakima Firing Center at the same time I was with the “D” Btry of the 222nd FA which became the “A” Btry of the 204th FA in February 1942.  He served with them thru out the war; San Luis Obispo, Yakima, Tennessee, and Europe.
John as written a tribute to his father John.  You can read it by googling
“My Father in WWII”; by Les Christiansen.


Tracy added the pictures to my diary and also the occasional explanations which are in italics.
Also, all photos used with permission or public domain.





Diary                                                                                          

Monday, December 8, 1941
The very forming of the day, caught me awake, pacing the floor in front of a telephone.  I had been trying since early Sunday evening to reach Mother, but was unsuccessful till early this morning.  After assuring her that I was not being bombed on the high seas, I sought my bed.
With the “rise and shine” shout of the first sgts in my ear, I awoke.  The hour was early, but early hours are the rule in war.
Eight-thirty found me packed, loaded and headed for San Francisco where I hope to sail for the war zone.
I heard the President’s speech and couldn’t help but feel he had what he wanted, War.
(Link to President Roosevelt’s speech)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhtuMrMVJDk

 
      
The trip to San Francisco was not unlike other army trips.  They couldn’t seem to decide rather to go or stay home.  It seems that we can’t hurry even in war.
Most of the men took on new life at the thought of actually seeing action.  All they talk about is the “dirty, squint eyed japs”, and how they would like a shot at one.  There are still a few who even now aren’t enthused.
San Francisco was blacked out.  Searchlights were sticking their fingers into the moons business.  It was a beautiful night, warlike as it was.         





They bunked us down in an old warehouse in Oakland.  There I found rest for my tired bones.

Tuesday, December 9, 1941
Three am saw a still tired soldier awake with a curse, find his gas mask, put it within easy reach and pass again into peaceful slumber.
The forenoon was spent in close order drill, under the critical eyes of Major White, who seems to think we were rookies till he took over.
I spent the afternoon shivering in the “barn”.  Everyone awaits word of an American victory in the Pacific.  I can’t conceive of this being war as nothing has happened and indecision is still present in everything we do.
We had a blackout for supper.  These blackouts are treated as a joke for some of us feel that no enemy can be very close.

Wednesday, December 10, 1941
The air raid siren brought me from dreamland at 2 am.  I dressed in the cold morning air and awaited the explosion of enemy bombs.    None came.  I still think someone is having pipe dreams, as I can’t imagine Japs over San Francisco.  I undressed and went back to bed before the “all clear” had been given, cursing all the army “bull”.
The forenoon brought more foot drill.  “Column Right” and “Column Left” could be heard all around this morning.  The men showed excellent form in their manual of the rifle.
Our truck drivers reported back to us in the late afternoon. 



                                    They were certainly a happy bunch.

  Very few truck drivers liked the “penned up” feeling of Angel Island.







It now looks as if we’ll be headed back for San Luis Obispo by tomorrow sundown.

Thursday, December 11, 1941
The Japs stayed home last night insuring a good nights sleep for us “forgotten” boys.  The winds of rumor have shifted since last night and we’re not headed back to San Luis.  Tonight, so the rumors go we’re going to Plum, “Plum to Hell”.
The time between breakfast and dinner was spent playing cards, with but one interruption, that being an examination for “society dandruff”. 



(An inspection for “Pubic Lice” and Venereal Diseases-also called “Short Arm” inspection)

From dinner till supper, I did even less.  We did get three trucks loaded back up with our equipment.
         
Following supper we were issued the Service Gas Mask. 

Possible Likeness 

It is much larger and easier to breathe through than the training mask.  I have a diaphragm in mine so as to be heard when I talk.  It seems I can’t find anything to shut me up.  I now feel confident that we U.S. soldiers with this mask have the best protection offered against gas.
The American forces in the East, made a showing today.  Many of us here would like to be with them.


Friday, December 12, 1941
Seven hundred old gas masks were disinfected under my supervision this morning.  It was done in customary army style, which means sloppy as hell.  I think at least half the masks will be rotted before they’re issued again.
The word came suddenly, catching me and my squad in the gun park reloading trucks.  We immediately returned to the barrack. 
There, everyone was packing bags, folding cots, and in general, getting ready to leave.  The Battalion was being split up.  Battery “D” was sent to Benicia Arsenal for guard duty, the length of stay unknown.
Two hours after getting the word we pulled from the “barn” (all eyes dry) and under cover of darkness turned our noses toward Benicia Arsenal.
An air raid warning caught us on the road.  We drove for a number of miles without light.  Finding the going too dangerous, we stopped (one truck smashing up) and let the raid blow over.
We reached our new home shortly before midnight.  A relief of men went on guard, the others found beds and slept.  We relieved the 134th infantry.




Saturday, December 13, 1941
Our new home was in need of cleaning and clean it we did.  The men who weren’t on guard spent the morning mopping.  I lived in the upstairs portion of a barracks with forty-one other men.  Being a Sgt. I have a room separated from the privates.  Sgt. Hansen shared it with me.  There are four Cpls. And they have a room together.  It is good set up but not so good for a diary.  I’m not apt to have anything to do but one day a week as that’s all I’ll guard.  The privates walk guard every other day, the Cpls. about every third day.  This seems like a soft life for me.


Sunday, December 14, 1941
I wouldn’t have believed it’s Sunday if the calendar hadn’t confirmed it.  Nothing newsy.  No murders, suicides, air raids, nothing.

Monday, December 15, 1941
Today’s routine was changed by a trip to the powder magazines.  I saw a few bombs, the largest being six hundred pounds.  An empty magazine would be just the place to go in an air raid.  I wouldn’t think they make better shelters than they offer.  Most of the munitions were crated so we saw very little.  Lt. Col. Daniels (BN commander) and staff visited the barracks during the morning.  We had just finished mopping as a result they found the place very clean. 
The weather is very changeable raining off and on.  Not so good for walking guard.

Tuesday, December 16, 1941
Another day has passed into oblivion.  Another day has passed to take its place beside the days that will never dawn again.
Today was just another day.  Another day that I can add to the all ready too numerous ones on which have accomplished nothing.  Nothing gained but age, nothing lost but time.

Wednesday, December 17, 1941
Major Christensen paid a visit to this post today.  He has been transferred to San Jose.

Major Christensen 

 I inspected my 155 howitzer and did some additional grease work on it.  It appeared to be in good condition.     


(the 155 mm howitzer was the 1917 Schneider)     

I hit guard duty at 4 pm.  I’ll be on till 4 pm tomorrow.  Nothing other than routine has happened up till now.









Thursday, December 18, 1941

Today has been a long drawn out one.  I remained awake all night, for no particular reason.  I had a very enjoyable time riding around in the “jeeps”.  I tried it on the steep hills, I tried its pick up.  I enjoyed it as a 

kid enjoys a new toy.  



My helmet had its baptism of fire.  I shot at it with my forty-five, the bullet hitting it and glancing off.  I certainly hope it stands up under all its tests still was a helmet.  


To be continued ........

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L.D.S. Temple

L.D.S. Temple
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