A SOLDIER'S STORY
A First-Hand Account of World War II
by: Walter C. Beglau (1920-1991)
I skipped a week of college the fall of my sophomore year to visit my girlfriend, Carol Erickson, in Watertown, South Dakota, where she had moved the previous summer from Edgeley, North Dakota where we had both lived. We had both been members of Zion Lutheran Church there and though we had not "dated" as very young people do today, we had many good times at Walther League, which was the young people's group in our church and at other church functions. Her father had been my Sunday School teacher when I was in High School. My oldest sister, Violet, had lived in Carol's home during her senior year in high school when we lived on a farm outside of Edgeley, North Dakota. We had moved to town when I attended high school. I had done amateur boxing in college and one time was supposed to box the runner up for the state. The person above me did not show up so I was moved up and during the boxing match went over the ropes and my head hit a two by four and I was out for nine hours! My college boxing was over; however in the army I boxed a lot. I guess I should have left boxing up to my youngest brother, Gordon. He, I believe became the champ and stayed there for his ship in the Navy in the South Pacific. After nearly two years in college I decided it was my turn to enlist so I volunteered with the National Guards at Oakes, North Dakota, which was the 188th Field Artillery Battalion. After realignment I was in the 957th Field Artillery Battalion, with which group I went overseas and also became their First Fire Direction Sergeant (five stripes).
I was first stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Then came Pearl Harbor! December 7, l942 -- That very day I was to begin a furlough and go to visit my fiancee, Carol Erickson in Watertown, South Dakota. I had sent her a diamond on my birthday that year (the past April 25th). But Pearl Harbor changed those plans and our group was immediately put on...