The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

January 25, 2014

Oneonta students responded strongly to Victory Corps in 1943


“Girls were so interested in home nursing and first aid that two classes were arranged in each. Fox hospital authorities will cooperate in providing home nurse instruction, preparatory to nurses’ aide training for those wishing it. Twenty-five girls signed for the child care course.

“Classes most popular with the boys are navigation, with 25 enrolled, meteorology, 20; and theory of flight, 15.

“Military drill will start April 8, conducted Thursday evenings by instructors provided or trained by the American legion. Adrian G. Blanchard has charge. So far, the girls have outdone the boys in signing up for drill, with 130 girls and 114 boys, with more expected. Girls drill will be conducted by women members of the faculty. American legionnaires and men teachers will drill the boys. Enough boys volunteered to form a platoon and drilled Thursday to give the instructors practice.” 

Students learned to line up and march on a tarmac playground area outside the former North Building of the Academy Street School, near Grove Street, as well as in Neahwa Park.

Fred G. Hickein, Class of 1944, recently recalled serving in the Victory Corps Sea Division.

“It was a good experience. It was a good preliminary to remind the men that they should probably think about which service they wanted to go into.”

Hickein chose the U.S. Navy. Training began for him at Sampson Naval Base, located in the Finger Lakes, and eventually came entry into the war. “It was late when I went in, April 1945.” 

Hickein said the Victory Corps didn’t limit a student’s participation to just one division, as he interacted in several.

A most visible project the OHS students undertook in the spring of 1943 was to raise money to buy a Jeep for the war effort, by selling war stamps and bonds.

From the 1943 yearbook, “Jeep talk was more prevalent that ‘jive talk’ around the halls of O.H.S. this year, as students made a great record in war stamp and bond purchases. Up to the first of May, $5,863.75 was invested in victory. A three-week ‘Jeep campaign’ in April, with a goal of $900, went over the top with more than $1,200 in sales.”

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Mark Simonson

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