Norbert Felix Walczak: A South Side Son Rises to Naval Commander

While sorting through photos that my mother had brought home when her mother died, I found a frame holding photos of one of my mom’s cousins, Norbert F Walczak and the ship he commanded, the USS Zellars. (1)

Besides my grandfather and David’s great uncle Carl, Norb is another relative whose service I waished to recognize this Veterans Day weekend. Continue reading Norbert Felix Walczak: A South Side Son Rises to Naval Commander

Herb Hays: From the Farm to the Pacific

It started with a photograph. The image behind the blog title includes my father and his parents. (1) Dad is in a miniature version of Herb’s navy uniform; and, I wanted to find out more.

Using a combination of interview, newspapers, and muster rolls, I pieced the story together that took Herb from the farm in Ogle County to the Harbor of Japan in the final months of WW2.

Herb Hays, my paternal grandfather, enlisted in the Navy on 9 May 1944 at Chicago, Illinois. (2) My grandmother said that he enlisted in the Navy rather than wait to get drafted in the army because he didn’t want to sleep in a foxhole. (3) Continue reading Herb Hays: From the Farm to the Pacific

Carl Edward Mescher in WW2 Navy Muster Rolls

We can use the WW2 Navy Muster Rolls to follow our ancestors through their WW2 navy careers. While conducting my research, I saw two types of reports in the muster rolls: a full crew list submitted at the end of a quarter and a list of crew changes that was submitted at any time. Digital images are available on Ancestry and Fold3.

In the Ancestry.com collection, I found 30 entries for my husband’s great uncle, Carl Edward Mescher dated between 31 Oct 1940 and 1 Aug 1946. (1)

According to the 31 Oct 1940 muster roll (2), Carl Edward Mescher enlisted on 23 Jul 1940 in St. Louis. The report indicated that Carl was received onboard the USS Pennsylvania for duty on 12 Oct 1940 from the Naval Training Station (NTS), Great Lakes, Illinois. His service number was 3373442 and his initial rating was AS. Continue reading Carl Edward Mescher in WW2 Navy Muster Rolls