Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Battleship USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) Oral History Project

Dates: 2001-2002

 

The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota conducted 28 oral histories with veterans who served aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) during World War II.  The oral history files contained biographical details about each of the men as well as some written responses to a questionnaire.

Digital audio copies of these oral histories are available upon request.

Ackerman, Daniel H.
Date of Interview: 5 July 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Ackerman's career in the military, serving on the USS SOUTH DAKOTA during World War II.

Arbiso, Gilbert Jr.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R. and Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Enlisting in the Navy at 18, serving on the USS SOUTH DAKOTA, duties on ship, Marshall Islands, Saipan attack.

Arnold, Oscar T.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: His enlistment experience, marrying a WAVE, ship duty transfer, USS FRANKLIN rescue, serving on the USS SOUTH DAKOTA, fire, kamikaze attack, submarine flood.

Begley, Joseph J.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Crewmember of USS SOUTH DAKOTA, enlisting in the Navy, training in New York, boarding in Philadelphia, 16" gun battle station assignment, then radar division duties, combat experience.

Camp, John H.
Date of Interview: 14 December 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Company 60 Naval Hospital Corspman Assigned to USS SOUTH DAKOTA.

Conner, T. L.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: USS SOUTH DAKOTA Battle of Santa Cruz - shot down 32 planes Battle Savo Island 8/8-9/1942.

Edwards, Thomas V.
Date of Interview: 13 December 2001
Topics Discussed: Describes his service aboard the USS SOUTH DAKOTA from 1942-1944. Talks about being an Electrician's Mate and being assigned to an anti-aircraft battery and repair party.

Fliszar, Joseph
Date of Interview: 13 December 2001
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: His life and career in the Navy: assigned to USS SOUTH DAKOTA, 1942-45, Guadalcanal, typhoons, recreation, battles.

Gydos, Michael
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: Interviewed during the reunion of the battleship USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57), his enlistment in 1942 when he was 21.  Training at NTS Great Lakes IL, assigned to USS SOUTH DAKOTA.  Service in the Pacific during World War II.  Variety of battle stations, in engine room, on deck.  Action against the Japanese in the Pacific islands.

Haynes, James M.
Date of Interview: 22 July 2002
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: Naval battles, bombs dropped, busy loading gun on #2 turret, saw Japanese planes heading towards ship.  Discipline on board, commendations and awards, received Purple Heart.

Helgeson, Arlow B.
Date of Interview: 5 July 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: WWII service aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA, enlistment, training, rating qualification, and shore leave. He also comments on the munition explosion, Captain Gatch, and destroyer attacks.

Jackson, Carl N.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Mr. Jackson reflects on his service aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA from Sept. 1942 to November 1945. 

Johnson, James O.
Date of Interview: 5 July 2001
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: Mr. Johnson served aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA from June 1944 to February 1946.

Kuczma, Lawrence J.
Date of Interview: 5 July 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Mr. Kuczma describes his enlistment, training, ratings qualifications, time spent on the USS SOUTH DAKOTA, participation in the Guadalcanal campaign, the munitions explosion, as well as President Truman and the treaty signing.

Levine, Harvey J. “Jack”
Date of Interview: 14 December 2001
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: Describes his service on board the USS SOUTH DAKOTA from 10/1942 - 08/1945. Talks about being a helmsman and surviving the Battle of Savo Island and the night portion of the naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

Lock, John F.
Date of Interview: 7 July 2002
Interviewer: Hoover, Herbert T.
Topics Discussed: Mr. Lock served aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA during World War II.

Manson, Spalding Kenan
Date of Interview: 18 December 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Discusses his participation in the preparations for driving the Nazis out of Norway, participation in encoding and decoding messages, subsequent transfer to the USS SOUTH DAKOTA (May, 1943 - 05/23/1945), and a detailed discussion of his escape from the explosion onboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA 05/06/1945 off Okinawa and his efforts to help fight the fire and save the ship.

Mathews, Roger A.
Date of Interview: 7 July 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Mr. Mathews reminisces about his experiences, personal life, and jobs aboard the ship and the various things he encountered.

McNeill, George T.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Mr. McNeill's recollections include his decision to join the Navy, his experience as a gunner's mate aboard SOUTH DAKOTA, the magazine explosion on 05/06/45, and his training at Great Lakes.

Meier, Albert J.
Date of Interview: 7 July 2001
Interviewer: Hoover, Herbert T.
Topics Discussed: Mr. Meier served aboard the USS SOUTH DAKOTA from 1944 to 1946. Joined the Navy at 17 years old and talks about his childhood, his experience in the Navy, and the reunion of the USS South Dakota.

Nebes, Charles
Date of Interview: 7 July 2001
Interviewer: Hoover, Herbert T.
Topics Discussed: Mr. Nebes served as a signalman aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA from 1942-1950.

Putnam, Stephen H.
Date of Interview: 5 July 2001
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: Mr. Putnam reflects on his service aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA, at Camp Lajeune, and as a member of the 3rd Marine Division in preparation for the invasion of Japan.

Rutland, Lynwood
Date of Interview: 14 December 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Discusses his service as a gyroscope technician on board the USS SOUTH DAKOTA as a plankowner (member of the commissioning crew).

Smith, Dwight A.
Date of Interview: 14 December 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Discusses his service as a gyroscope technician on board the USS SOUTH DAKOTA as a plankowner (member of the commissioning crew).

Stewart, Henry L.
Date of Interview: 14 December 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Describes his service as a radioman operating the teletype machine onboard the USS SOUTH DAKOTA.

Taillie, Charles H.
Date of Interview: 6 July 2001
Interviewer: Lyon, Debra
Topics Discussed: Mr. Tallie served on USS SOUTH DAKOTA from 1942 to 1944.

Wieland, Wilbert A.
Date of Interview: 7 July 2001
Interviewer: Huseboe, Arthur R.
Topics Discussed: Mr. Wieland recounts his experiences aboard USS CHAUNCEY from September 18, 1943 to July 1, 1946.

Workman, George E.
Date of Interview: 5 July 2001
Interviewer: Thompson, Harry
Topics Discussed: Mr. George E. Workman recounts enlistment, training and service aboard USS SOUTH DAKOTA during World War II.  He provides a detailed account of their encounter with a typhoon.

Published: Mon Mar 22 11:09:54 EDT 2021