Bob Holden, Pearl Harbor Survivor, US Army Quartermaster Co. 1914

Robert E. Holden, Sergeant, , US Army Quartermaster Company 1914, Pacific Theater of Operations  WWII (Pearl Harbor, Australia, New Guinea, Philippines, etc.) 1941-1945,
An Oral History Interview (edited for length) about Bob Holden's Time in Service during WW II. Transcript of the Oral History Interview.
Bob was also interviewed about what it was like growing up in the 1920s and 1930s in Minnesota (The Great Depression, Dust Bowl, etc.)
This project has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.
An Outline of Bob's Time in Service: 
Induction: Fort Snelling, 28 Feb. 1941
To Fort Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming for 3 months
Will Rogers Air Base 1941 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, (Served as the Postmaster)
To Fresno, CA
To Hamilton AFB, CA
Put on the Freighter "President Johnson" for the Phillipines via Pearl Harbor
Turned back at the gate to Pearl harbor on the morning of the attack on Dec. 7, 1941
Returned to CA. One month in San Francisco
Boarded the ship USS "Mariposa"--destination unknown
After 32 days at sea, landed in Melbourne, Australia
Walked 20 miles to an open horse track and ball stadium
Eventually went to New Guinea, (malaria, jungle rot, heat, humidity, snakes , constant rain, 200 Japanese air raids, "Tokyo Rose" on the radio, 11 rebuilt B-17s destroyed during one air raid, etc.)
Three and a half years in the war zone, and through the war to 1945.
Discharged at Fort Snelling 26 July 1945, (Organization: 332 Army Air Forces Base Unit, Ardmore, OKklahoma).
In March of 2011, Bob turned 92 years of age. Bob left San Francisco by ship and was approaching Pearl Harbor on the morning the Japanese attack started. The ship turned around and while still underway they painted it green including the windows for camouflage from its original white color. Another ship carrying the company's trucks had arrived ahead of his and was sunk in Pearl Harbor.  A full Oral History Interview was recorded on December 1, 2011. Bob's Still Photos and documents were re-photgraphed 3-12-2012.
 Bob talking to Dexter Shultz's son after the November 30, 2011 Luncheon.
Bob at home during a 2 hour videotaped interview on Dec. 1, 2011.
His resulting DVD covers his growing up in the 1920s and 1930s
in Minnesota and his time in the service during World War II 
Bob enjoys playing the guitar. He began learning to play at age 80.

Steve Berman, whose father also served in the same company as Bob talked to him by phone on Saturday November 9, 2013 and sent the following e-mail:


On Saturday I had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Holden re the 1914 Quartermaster Company and my father, Milton Berman , who served in the 1914th.

I very much enjoyed our conversation and believe Mr. Holden did as well.

Mr. Holden said the 1914 QM Company originally had 105 men at the beginning of WW II.

In early 1942 those original 105 men of the 1914th were split into two units of about 50 men each, one unit sent to the north and the other staying in the south of New Guinea.

When my father arrived in New Guinea (about May, 1942)  and was assigned to the 1914th, he likely was assigned to the northern unit in  New Guinea, whereas Mr. Holden remained further south in New Guinea, I believe he said around Milne Bay.

I know my father and his unit served alongside Australian troops in battles, and for a while lived with an Aboriginal tribe.   

This suggested to Mr. Holden that my father was indeed in the northern New Guinea unit of the 1914th.

The units were about 400 miles apart so Mr. Holden said he was not certain if he knew my father.

However, during our conversation I mentioned that before the war, my father was a highly regarded, top ranked softball player.

Mr. Holden immediately stated " We had an outstanding pitcher named Berman".  "Nobody could get a hit off of him".

Mr. Holden added that he loved to watch Berman pitch during softball games held on an air base.

Well, I was amazed, as  Berman the pitcher was my father, an outstanding fast pitch softball league player in the years prior to the war. 

(My father was elected to the Wisconsin Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame as a fast ball pitcher.)

What an unexpected twist - Mr. Holden enjoyed watching my father play baseball at an air base somewhere in New Guinea.

I'm going to send Mr. Holden copies of the two photos I have of my dad - he said perhaps the pics might jog his memory.

And he is going to look over his photos to see if he may have any re my father.

Thank you and Mr. Callahan for making this connection possible.

Thanks again,
Steve Berman"