Many Local Men in Action Areas of Pacific When Japan Attacks

(from the Algoma Record-Herald of Dec. 12, 1941, preserved in the online archives of the Algoma Public Library)

Two County Pilots on Philippine Islands; Germany and Italy also Declare War
© Bandesz | Dreamstime.com - Pearl Harbor
The USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbor, representing the beginning and end of U.S. involvement in World War II. Photo © Bandesz | Dreamstime.com – Pearl Harbor

Hostilities which upset the delicate peace in the Pacific broke out with unexpected treachery on the part of Japan against United States outposts of defense Sunday morning, and Algoma and this vicinity, because of local men stationed in areas actively engaging the enemy, took much more than normal interest in the course of events.

Monday America declared war on the Empire of Japan and Thursday Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, thus turning the present hostilities into a truly World war, surpassing in number of nations involved in the conflict that started in 1914. American declared war on the latter two countries at about noon the same day.

Two county airmen, Capt. Richard Fellows, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Fellows, Algoma, and Capt. Oswald Lunde, formerly of Kewaunee, are stationed in the Philippine Islands, center of most of the activity since the initial surprise dawn attack on the U.S. Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Sunday by Japanese planes.

Fellows graduated from the Algoma High school in 1931, attended the University of Wisconsin two years and then received his appointment to West Point, where he graduated in 1937. He was transferred to the Philippine Islands for two years in 1939, but it was extended to three. With the outbreak of hostilities, his plans to return to the mainland early next year are probably gone. His wife and two-year-old son returned to Algoma a year ago.

In letters home, he frequently expressed the opinion that Japan would never attack the United States.

A cablegram was reported received from Lunde at Kewaunee this week, saying that he was “O.K.”

A veteran of the navy, Louis Depas, was thought to be in the Pacific, probably in Hawaii, while Gordon Hoppe, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Hoppe, Forestville, was reported in Hawaii, as is Richard Cmeyla, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cmeyla, Algoma. Cmeyla is a yeoman, first class, only recently transferred from the west coast to the Pacific outpost.

Donald Gordon, son of Mr. and Mrs.Emmanuel Gordon, Algoma, a 1940 Algoma High school graduate, is on the U.S.S. Wright, also based, it is believed, in Hawaii. He only recently completed training at the Alameda, Calif., naval radio school.

In the Marines, Ed Sell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sell, Luxemburg town, was believed at Hawaii, and Raymond (Swamper) Gerhart, on the U.S.S. Nevada, was thought to be at Hawaii. He was transferred to Pearl Harbor in March of 1940. Gerhart enlisted in July of 1939. Raymond Ullman is with the Army at Hawaii, at Fort Kamehameka.

“Fritz” Mauer, who was released from service with the selective service army two months ago because he was over 28 years of age, got right back into the service by enlisting, volunteering for Philippine service. So he is in the thick of things in the Orient also.

A quartermaster in the U.S. Coastal Geodetic Survey, Clarence Diefenbach was last heard from at Midway Island, reported by the Japanese to be occupied but not confirmed by U.S. authority. He was with the survey 11 years, and was to have left the island for Honolulu, according to his last letter, but whether or not he actually was transferred is unknown here. His boat was the Explorer, with a crew of 90 men. His wife and family live in Algoma.

Joseph Ouradnik, also a navy man, is a flying mechanic, reportedly aboard a patrol bombing plane out of the base at Kodiak, Alaska. He is the son of Joseph Ouradnik Sr., Slovan.

Lt. Pat Cmeyla, Kewaunee, was with a medical detachment 12 miles from Nicholas Field in the Philippines, according to last reports. A son of Art Matzke, Kolberg, was reported with the army in the Pacific area also. Pvt. “Corky” Corbisier is in Alaska.

With the declaration of war by Germany, the local men in America’s ocean outposts came to the fore. Sylvester (Spasz) Ullsperger, navy aerologist, is at Newfoundland, and Carl Rupp and Stanley Rogers of the army are reportedly stationed in Iceland.

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