Thursday, February 28, 2008


More sights around Casablanca on that first voyage over seas. A first major voyage for most of the men on the ship.


Can you imagine having the world opened up to you for the first time? It was horrible that war had to be experienced in order for it to happen, but the men were still able to take in parts of the world that they may not otherwise be able to see. Here are some more pictures from Casablanca.

Friday, February 22, 2008


For the next twelve months the USS PRIDE escorted badly needed men and materials to the fighting fronts in the Mediterranean area. The first convoy was to Algeria and though there were rough seas with which to contend aboard the not very stable Destroyer Escort (giving many men difficult stomachs) there were no challenges made by German submarines. They docked in Casablanca. They may not encountered any fighting themselves they were witnesses to the destruction wrought by war. These pictures show Casablanca Harbor littered with sunken ships.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Perhaps this letter was in with the mail also.

Niles California
January 24, 1944

Dear Bill,

Recieved your card asking me for Laurence Moise address. Sorry that I couldn't sent it to you sooner but the reason was that I didn't have it until now. We hadn't heard from him for quite a while but thank God we finally did. He wrote to me asking me to send him the picture of his four pals from North Dakota so I sent him the picture of you four boys. I almost know you boys by the way Lawrence used to talk about you.

It does a mother good to know that her son has met some nice boys and that they think so much of one another. So Bill write to him as often as you can as I know he will appreciate it. Of course Lawrence is awful to write himself. I sure have a time getting letters from him but still he isn't bad. I thought he would be worse but as long as I get a letter every so often that's enough for me. I just hope he is well and happy as I hope this letter finds you in the best of health and if ever you should be out this way I hope you will come to see us. You know you are always welcomed.

So Bill I wish you the best of luck and I pray and hope that this war will soon be over so all of our dear boys will come home to us so I will give you his address.

(The address is listed)

P.S. When you write to him tell him that I wrote you. He will be gald to hear it again. Thanks for you card.


Mrs. Mario Moise

Niles Calif.

P.O. Box 223

JANUARY 1944 - PAGE 22

The shakedown cruise to Bermuda lasted about six weeks which places us roughly at the beginning of 1944. Perhaps that was when mail was picked up. Maybe this U. S. Coast Guard Magazine was waiting for William with his mail in port. All that servives of this issue (in William's memorabilia) is the cover of the January 1944 issue.

"You can't train thousands of Navy fledglings to split the flight deck of a converted lake steamer with their landing gear without having a few of them spin into the drink. But the Navy is ready for just such an emergency and has the crash boats that get there in times so that the embrionic wearer of the golden wings ususally suffers little more than a ducking. We are proud to have a hand in this rescue work. For it is the Sterling Admiral (Vimalert design), Petrel and Dolphin engines that power many of these fast, dependable little craft."
"Kia ora says the New Zealander when he wants to give you his best wishes. It's a down-under way of telling you that you're a pal and that your welfare is a matter of mutual interest. The American soilder says if another way. Have a "Coke", says he, and in three words he has made a friend. It's a custom that has followed the flag from the tropics to the polar regions. It's the phrase that says, Welcome, neighbor from Auckland to Alberquerque, from New Zealand to New Mexico. 'Round the globe, Coca-cola stands for the pause that refreshes, - has become the high-sign between friendly-minded people. * * * In news stories, books and magazines, you read how much our fighting men cherish Coca-Cola wherever they get it. Yes, more than just a delicious drink, "Coke" reminds them of happy times at home. Luckily, they find Coca-Cola - bottled on the spot - in over 35 allied and nuetral countries 'round the globe."
". . . She's a Marine - and a camera sharpshooter of Marine Aviation. Her rank is Sergeant . . . Sgt. Florence _________ (full name ommitted by regulation), of the Marine Corps Women's Reserve. Her cigarette is Camel - the favortie with men in the Marines, in all the services. 'I like everything about Camels,' says Sergeant Florence, 'especially their freshness!' That's right, Seargeant Florence! Camels stay fresh - they're packed to fo round the world!

"CAMERA GUNNER! Sergeant Florence (shown at the left) aims her special aerial camera at the terrain far below - and when the film is developed in the Photo Laboratory . . . FEW SECRETS ARE HIDDIN from the penetrating eye of Sergeant Florence's camera! In the photo Lab (below), over a smooth, fullflavored Camel, Sergeant Florence,right, with a technician study her 'shots'."

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Going out to war is dangerous business. It could also be dangerous for those who stayed behind. What if the young family at home needed help? What if some tragedy were to occur? What were they to do? The Coast Guard had their young men fill out this form letter to send home to their wives or, as in William’s case, to their parents (pictured below).

Here are some excerpts from that letter:


Hold on to this letter; it will tell you a lot of things you may need to know while I’m away. The Coast Guard wants you to have this information so that you will know about, and be prepared to benefit from, the assistance and protection to which you are entitled.

First, there’s my service number:__________. Always use it when writing the Navy Department or other official organizations on service matters concerning me. Give them by (sic) name, rating (or rank) and service number, like this ___________.

I’ve applied for family allowance and you should receive each month $____.

(… Various allotments of money and information on life insurance . . .)

On the back of his letter is a list of my valuable papers and where to find them. You may be asked to furnish certified or photostatic copies of my birth certificate and (in the case of wives) our marriage license, so be sure to have them available.

Now for the “ifs” in life that might come up:

If you need advice on medical problems or hospital treatment, talk to your local Red Cross Chapter.

If you can’t meet any of our debts, or pay our commercial life insurance premiums when they are due, see the Chairman of your State Bar Association, the American Red Cross, or a veterans’ organization, about the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act.


If I am wounded, you may be notified, although of course I will probably be writing you myself. If I am disabled, and entitled to disability benefits after my discharge, these will be arranged through the U.S. Veterans’ Administration, Washington 25, D.C.

If I am reported missing, missing in action, or captured by the enemy, my pay and allowances will go right on. My insurance allotments will continue and so will any allotment for the support of a dependant, if designated as such.


If I should die while on active duty, you are entitled to six month’s pay in a lump sum. Claim blanks for this will be sent to you. If you do not receive them, write Headquarters. Settlement will also be made of any pay remaining due me, and any savings on deposit with the Paymaster. Claims are paid by Headquarters and the proper forms will be sent by them without request.


Remember the agencies that can help you – Coast Guard Headquarters, Coast Guard or Navy Relief Society, the American Red Cross, The Veterans’ Administration, and the welfare and recreation officer and chaplains at any Coast Guard or Naval Station, ready at all times to guide and assist you.


Rank or rate

Service No.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The USS Pride (DE-323) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. Between World War I and World War II the United States made little to no effort to design or produce escorts. So in 1941, sensing a serious need, the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships produced its own escort design known as the Destroyer Escort (DE). They played a significant role in the successful movement of materials to the war fronts in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Mediterranean theaters.

Although orders had been placed for 1,005 DEs. only 563 were actually constructed. The United States Coast Guard provided offercers and crew to man 30 of these DEs. Each ship consisted of about twelve officers and 165 men.

In general the Coast Guard-manned DEs were of the following general description: Their length was 306' with a displacement of 1200 tons. They were powered by twin diesel engines with 6000 shaft horsepower producing about 21 knots. Armament consisted initially of three 3-inch/50 caliber multipurpose guns; one quad 40 millimeter anitaircraft mount; ten 20 millimeter antiaircraft mounts; and a triple 21-inch torpedo tube mount. Anti-submarine equipment included stern depth charge racks, eight depth charge K-guns, and a forward projectile throwing "hedgehog." DEs were equipped with sonar and air/surface radar and a combat information center (CIC) for battle control, and also carried smoke generator equipment for possible convoy protective use.

These vessles were "rough riding" and did not possess the seaworthy qualitites of most cutter designs. William Valencheck remembers many men aboard with serious cases of sea sickness. Men would tie themselves into their bunks so that they would not end up on the deck during a rough voyage. Eating sometimes provided its challenges and anicdotes about using the head or taking a shower were shared and for the these we will allow the reader to use his imagination. But the ships did have speed, maneuverability. and range to carry out their ocean escort mission.

The USS PRIDE served in the Atlantic Ocean the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. She returned home proudly at war’s end with three battle stars and then entered into service for the U.S. Coast Guard before final decommissioning.

She was named in honor of Ensign Lewis Bailey Pride, Jr., who was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. She was laid down by the Consolidated Steel Co., Orange, Texas, 12 April 1943; launched 3 July 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Lewis Bailey Pride, mother of Lewis Bailey Pride, Jr.; and commissioned 13 November 1943, Comdr. R. R. Curry, USCG, in command.

The above information was taken from Wickapedia and from an article written for the US Coast Guard acadamy Alumni Bulletin March 1987 by C. R. Peck, class of 1943

Friday, February 1, 2008


TO: Wm. Valencheck
c/o Fleet Post Office
N.Y., N.Y.
U.S.S. Pride (DE 323)

FROM: Sgt. Stan Valencheck
Hdq. 6 11th Tank Bn.
10th A.D. A.P.O. 260
Camp Gordon, GA

Hi “Mate”:

You got me waiting Chuck. What’s up, they got you in jail again or what? If you’ve been out Bill, give ‘em lots a hell for me and you both. I only wish I was there with you. Lots a luck fella.

Well, I’m still here at Gordon Bill and things are going same as usual. Taking things easy lately. Playing quite a bit of ball lately but not running around much due to lack of funds. I don’t know why but for some reason about the last three months I’ve always been broke. Before that I had money all the time. But I’ll straighten that (*) out this pay day. Ain’t it?

I just got a letter from “Oh”, you know, one of those long, long ones. Is that the kind you get? I sure enjoy reading them but I don’t know how the hell they can think of so much to write. Makes me and you look sad, aint it? "Oh" said that they haven’t heard from you in a long time either. Bet Mom worries like hell. You know how she is. I got a swell package from Nell too. Remember how we used to argue with them? Especially you! Now I miss them, don’t you? I even miss you, you (*). Aint it?

One of my buddies was telling me today that they’re now selling old G. I. Motorcycles from 30 to 50 bucks. We don’t have them in our division anymore so they’re selling them. The M.P.’s are the only ones that have them now. If I get a chance I’m gonna get one. Some of them are still in pretty good shape. I used to ride the (*) out of them before. If I get one I’ll take it home and on furlough with me. Make good time that way. I’m not sure yet but I think I’ll get a leave next month. Or in May. I’ll let you know for sure. Hope you can get home at the same time. Think there’s any chance?

Boy the weather down here has really been swell for the past four weeks or so. Up until Sunday anyhow. The sun’s still out. The company went out into the field Mon, but I got a break. I’m staying in garrison as Sgt. of the Guard till they get back which will be about Weds. Boy, we sure spend a lot a time in the field since we've been here at Gordon. We were out for three days last weeks on a big problem. Our platoon fired real H.E. and smoke ammunition over attacking troops. It’s pretty much fun firing the mortar. You ever seen it fired? In the past two weeks I fired 14 rds. of smoke and 10 rds. of H.E. at about 18 bucks a piece. Boy I wish I had all that money.

Well Chuck, guess I’ll be saying so long for now. Hope to hear from you soon. Take it easy.

Your brother,