The four Teune brothers, all safely home from their Army Air Corps service. John is second from the right.
Last spring, my Aunt Ruth sent me an absolute treasure: a copy of the WWII, POW diary of her husband, my uncle John Teune. I have her permission to post some of it here. Part of it is reminiscences after the fact and part is a diary he kept while a prisoner after being shot down over Romania in May of 1944.
The POW Diary of John Teune
Preface: A Chronicle of WWII
Sunday, December 7, 1941, was a calm and peaceful winter day. As we were walking home from church we were informed that the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor Naval Base in the Hawaiian Islands. What a shocking report . . . our country . . . betrayed in a crisis of devastating loss of life and honor. Now we remembered the warning given when we read about the Japanese making guns out of the scrap iron we were selling to them. Just the thought of betrayal and injustice welled up a fierce patriotism for Americans.
The war in Europe had been going on for several years. Although our citizens wanted no part of joining the war in Europe, the United States Government was indeed sending war supplies to England. Germany replied by sinking our supply ships. Those were dark days for our country and our leaders.
Our country formed the Selective Service System whose duty was to call up the men for combat training in the Army or Navy. By 1943 most young men were either drafted or enlisted in one of the services. A good percentage of the homes had service flags in their windows and a star representing their son or daughter indicating a family member was in the service of their country. My parents' flag had four stars -- four sons all serving in the Air Corps in various capacities.
The whole country geared for all-out war. Factories making civilian goods changed to making war material. Gas, oil, sugar, and meat were rationed and booklets with stamps were issued to each family. Tires were re-treated and speed was cut back considerably. All in all, it was a hassle. Everyone was patriotic and men and women in service wore their uniforms with pride.
I made my decision to enlist in the Army Air Corps on October 14, 1942, and went to Ft. Sheridan, IL, and then on to Nashville, Tenn. for more testing.