Monday, March 31, 2008


The air was filled with lights from bullets, tracers, and torpedoes. The USS Hamilton exploded sending fire and smoke a hundred feet in the air when the ammunition it was carrying exploded. When the Hamilton sunk it took 580 lives with it. Also sunk were the destroyer Landsdale (a radar destroyer that was the eyes and ears of the convoy) with 47 men and the merchant ship Royal Star that stayed afloat until the following day. Other damaged ships were towed to Algiers.

But the fear level for the Pride was just beginning. A transmission came from another DE, “Pride, there are two torpedoes heading in your direction!”


C. R. Peck writes, “At about 35 minutes after sunset USS LOWE reported radar contact on enemy planes from dead ahead to the east. They came in low over the water in poor visibility at twilight using the nearby Algerian coast to advantage. The USS Pride had visible contact to starboard with several attackers which were fired upon without apparent result. It is estimated between 18 and 24 JU-88s and/or HE-111s took part in the raid on the convoy from dead ahead in 3 separate waves using only torpedoes. They flew down the columns of ships and received anti-aircraft fire from escorts. From my gun control station on the flying bridge I could see numerous explosions on the convoy.


Saturday, March 29, 2008


Though the first trip across the ocean escorting more than 100 merchant ships, fully loaded on the way over, empty on the return was without incident, it would be on this second convoy that the Pride would gain her fighting spurs. After the short stop for repairs and supplies they set out again for the Mediterranean with a large convoy headed for Bizerte, Tunisia.

According to the writing of Captain Ralph R. Curry, USCG, “On April 20 1944, we passed Algiers during the day and all seemed well. But all hell was just in front of us.”
The above pictures show the USS Pride DE323 being refuled at sea.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The Pride, together with the Menges (DE 320), the Mosley (DE 321), Newell (DE 322), Falgout (DE 324) and Lowe (DE 325) composed Coast Guard DE division 46. Joined with Navy Division 21 of six ships they formed Task Group 66 led by the cutter Taney. This was the escort for convoy UGS-38 that departed from the United States and headed for the Straight of Gibraltar, arriving on April 18th, 1944. Just West of Algiers the escort was strengthened by 4 vessels equipped with radio jamming equipment: U.S. Destroyer Lansdale, U.S. Minesweepers Speed and Sustain, and Netherlands Flak cruiser Heemskerk.

(from C. R. Peck)
Headge Hoges was written on the back of the picture above.

Monday, March 17, 2008


William Valencheck Fl/c
U.S.S. Pride D.E. 323
Fleet Post Office
New York, New York

Olga Valencheck
393 Third Street
Barberton, Ohio

March 26, 1944

Sailing along with . . .the home folks . . . .

Hi, Squirt!

Boy, what a bawling out you got from me this morning! You had come home some time in the night and our surprise at seeing you in the morning was replaces by our wrath at finding that you had been INDIANA the past three month that we haven’t heard a WORD from you! But it was all a dream!

I told this dream to the family at the dinner table today and both Dad and Nelle admitted that they, too, had dreamed about you the past two days. So all of that is an indication that you’ll be walking in on us one of these days. It’s just gotta be! When we all start dreaming about a certain thing, its got to be . . .

This is going to be just a short not but I must have to tell you about the shock we’ve just had. The war has come pretty close to us since you boys are in it but now we learn that Stan’s buddy and your friend, Elmer Simon, is one of the boys missing from the D. E. “Leopold” reported destroyed by an underwater explosion on March 10. I can’t get over it. I just won’t believe that Elmer won’t come back. The news just came out in yesterday’s paper and I’ve been wanting to call his mother but I don’t know what to say to her. She seems so nice from the one telephone conversation I had with her some time ago. I keep praying that Elmer will turn up.

Alice Zalar just got back from San Francisco where she has been for the past month and she is now calling herself Mrs. Jack Matozel. We didn’t think she’d marry while there!

Last Sunday was a wonderful onw for our whole family was home. The Zods came in from Cleveland very late I the afternoon and in that big snow fall. They brought Vic and Frankie who is home form the Merchant Marine for the first time in over 18 months. It was so good to see him. He still doesn’t wear his uniform when home. Odd? There were two of their cousins with them so we had quite a house full of men! Besides my blind date who showed up after he STOOD ME UP two days before! You know I don’t go in for blind dates (and don’t you look at me with that “Oh Yeah” expression!) but this one was a Sgt. Home on furlough and it was all arranged by a nice couple I know so what’s a gal to do???

We kind o’ though the Cleve, family would be here again today but no sign of ‘em yet. Frankie said he’d like to come again before going back. He’s supposed to have till the end of this month.

Today is a beautiful day if you don’t look down. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping all over the place but there is still some snow on the ground form last night’s light snowfall.

All is peace and quiet here at home right at the moment. It is the lull after dinner. Remember?

Soon I’ll be getting ready to go to the Club where we will meet Anne and Glen who are home for the weekend. We’ll probably bowl and spend a good bit of time at the club.

I saw Don down town I the window of the Pool Hall last Tuesday but didn’t get to talk with him. You’d swear he is a civilian he gets home so much! I talked with him quite a bit the other time he was home but didn’t get his address as he was to dome over for yours and Stan’s and I was going to let his. But he didn’t show up.

This is enough for now . . . By the way, did you get latest package from home. Nelle’s?

The family all sends their love.



March 24, 1944

Dear Will,

I was certainly glad to hear from you. I will hope you are in good health at the moment. You know, there is nothing like being physically fit. I suppose you didn’t get seasick on your trip, or did you? Well, hope not.

From what you wrote, I presume you don’t like the Coast Guard. There are others who are doing the same thing everyday too, for instance, the Army, Navy and Marines and especially me. I’m still working at the same place. All I do is eat, sleep, and work. I stayed home today though cause I hurt my ear in work yesterday. I have awful ringing in my ear. Since I stayed at home today there was a good chance to answer my mail.

Will, I know about Don being married. His sister is married too. I guess John’s doing all right. I see him every once in a while when I’m on my way to work. Right now I have a rider. I don’t have to ride the street car anymore.

Do you still mess around like you used to when you were with John on your last leave? I bet you do.

About Mary S., well I wouldn’t put anything past her, she’s liable to anything. But I wish she’d make up her mind about Jack.

Will, I saw your sisters Sunday afternoon. I didn’t stop to speak to them cause I was in a hurry. I think they were headed for Toni’s house because I met them on 15th and Tusc. I was going over to see my dead cousin. Do you know who J. R. Weber, the funeral director on Wooster Road was? He died the 15th.

I’m looking forward to your next leave just as I’m sure I’d like to see you again. I hope this letter reaches you before your next trip.

Loads of Luck
As Ever,
(over)I saw Len not very long ago. He didn’t see me though. He’s married now too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Please notice that today's post is posted under page 26. It contains more pictures from Casablanca and it seemed more appropriate to post them there.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


William Valencheck

George Radlick USCG
USNAS Lambert Field
St. Louis MO, (21)


Hello Bill,

Answering your letter the very day I got it. That’s pretty good. Huh?

Well, I guess I can call you a sailor now can’t I? Got the salt caked all over your body yet, or did you have that before you went to sea?

It must really be wonderful to say you’ve been to Casablanca. I have aspirations of getting out of this racket (?) some day and do some sailing. Well Bill, let me tell you what I’m doing.

I’m stationed at a naval air station in St. Louis MO. Remember when I left Tonawanda to go to that day school? Well we trained dogs for guard duty and all we do down here is stand guard duty with dogs. All this duty is night work. We work two days and off one. It’s a pretty good deal but I’d like to get out of it if I could but the trouble is a fellow can’t get out of this duty no how. Remember Philyrs from Tonawanda? The guy you always used to call Gary? He’s down here with me too he says hello.

I just got a letter from Maise’s sister. She still writes to me. I also got a letter form Maise. The (*) lost thirty pounds! Penny still writes to me. She’s going to come to Chicago on a vacation sometime in April. I may go up and see her. (. . .)

Gee Bill, I wish now I would not have gone to that dog school. Just think, I could be working right along with you, and maybe have a rate pay now.

Maybe we’ll meet before this thing is over yet and we don’t, don’t forget about our date after this is over.

Guess I’ll be closing for now. Say hello to Mitch for me. Good luck and write soon.

Your pal,

George Radlick

Monday, March 3, 2008


These are some random pictures from that first journey overseas. Next stop: New York! Pictured below is Gibraltar 1944.
On the back of the picture below is written, "Tunis, North Africa, 1944"
Port of Bizerte North Africa, 1944. Though it looks like a desert notice the ship that is actually in the water to the left of the tower.
The following pictures are quite out of order but they were just recently found. The first that we was taken in North Dakota simply has "1942" written at the bottom.
The man in this great picture is identified as John Muldon.