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Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project (Voice of War)

Sharing living quarters with scores of total strangers, with little chance for privacy, let alone peace and quiet, was the biggest adjustment any civilian faced after entering the military. Here are stories about being willing to be part of a group effort to fight a war, to prepare yourself for even greater sacrifices ahead.

Image of Servicemen playing cards (photo by Robert Olen)
Detail from Servicemen playing cards on board ship; 10th Mountain Division, 1945.
Photo by Robert Lee Olen (page 58)
Image of Irving Oblas
Irving Oblas never left the States during World War II, but his voluminous correspondence with his wife offers invaluable descriptions of daily life in the Navy. In August 1945, on his way to California to be shipped out to Japan, Oblas mailed his wife a postcard from every stop his troop train made. He made it to San Francisco in time for V-J Day and served out his hitch decommissioning ships in the port of Bremerton, Washington.
Go to Violet Hill Gordon's Story Learn more about Irving Oblas (pages 61, 68, 87, 96, 97-99, 102-105)
Jump Down Jump to other stories featured in Chapter Two
* Page numbers refer to the pages in Voices of War on which the veteran appears.

“The barracks are not home sweet home, but a place for rest from exhaustion.”
    – Ben Snyder

Image of Denton Crocker

"When I wrote you about getting married five days after I come home..."

Denton W. Crocker's story
(pages 67, 72-74, 75, 88, 100-101)

Image of Ben Snyder

"...I'm wondering if you will find me changed..."

Ben M. Snyder's story
( pages 62, 75-76, 91, 92, 95, 97)

Image of Malcolm Harvey Stilson

"Together we could have done lots more than we ever did singly."

Malcolm Harvey Stilson's story
(pages 63, 68, 71, 91)

Image of Tracey A. Sugarman and Wife

"Above all, I prayed that I would live to make you happy."

Tracy A. Sugarman's story
(pages 76, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85)

Image of Marie Brand Voltzke

"There were 'Dear Jane' as well as 'Dear John' letters."

Marie Brand Voltzke's story
(pages 62, 78, 100)


Rep. Joe Baca (page 100)
James Phillip Baross
(pages 64, 66-67, 68, 90, 94)

Samuel Boylston (page 70)
John Butler (pages 68-69)
John Walter Earle (pages 93-94)
John Enman (pages 64-65, 97)
Mary Sheldon Gill (pages 60, 74, 88-89)
Kevin Roy Lee (page 69)
Jeanne Urbin Markle (pages 73, 79)
Helen Minor (pages 67, 95, 96)
Robert Lee Olen (page 58)
Joanne Palella (pages 65-66, 90, 99)
Vincent Cornelius Reed (pages 65, 72)
Charles Rosario Restifo (page 62)
Sidney Algernon Riches, Sr. (page 62)
Arnold M. Robbins (pages 76-77)
Donald Spencer
(pages 72-73, 77-78, 87)
Paul Alexander Steppe, Jr. (pages 72)
Frederick Clarence Stilson
(pages 63-64, 73, 78, 90, 94, 99)
William (Bill) E. Vicars (page 66)
John Caspar Wister (pages 86, 87-88)
  Home >> Chapter Two: A Day in the Life
  The Library of Congress
  March 17, 2005
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