Victor Linden served our country in the United States Navy during World War II. He was born in 1926 in Youngstown, Ohio; his parents came over from Europe. Victor has five sisters and one brother who was in the US Army during WWII.
The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor angered Victor so he decided to enlist in the Navy. Since he was only 17, his Mother had to sign for him. In September 1943, Victor went to Basic Training at the Great Lakes Training Center in Chicago, Illinois. He trained to become a Signalman, a job that combined visual communications and advanced lookout skills. Victor learned Morse Code, 65 signal flags for flag hoist signaling and the signal lamp.
Victor was sent to Little Creek, Virginia to train onboard a Landing Ship Medium (LSM), an amphibious assault ship. He was then sent to Galveston, Texas and assigned to the USS LSM-40. After a shakedown cruise, the ship needed to make repairs, the Flotilla they were assigned would leave the USS LSM-40 in Galveston. After a week of repairs the USS LSM-40 was underway. First they had to go through the Panama Canal and out into the Pacific Ocean. Their heading was to the South Pacific to the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. The LSM’s could carry six tanks, trucks, ammunition and troops. They carried US Marines, US Army soldiers and one time they had a load of Austrian soldiers. After reloading, the LSM-40 went to the island of Borneo for unloading their cargo and troops. While on the LSM-40 they would make 10 island landings very early in the mornings to avoid being spotted by the Japanese. The USS LSM-40 spent a large part of their time in the Philippines. The LSM-40 never received enemy fire, but Victor did witness a Kamikaze pilot attack that sunk a Landing Ship Tank (LST) while they were at anchor.
Victor’s duty post was the Conning Tower with the Officers and Lookouts; from that location they could receive and relay messages. Some of Victor’s other duties were to make the log book entries for the ship’s course, as well as the speed and entries on wind and ocean conditions. Victor was promoted to Signalman Second Class.
Victor’s brother was assigned to the US Army 7th Infantry Division during WWII on the Philippines Island. Victor’s LSM serviced the island of the Philippines quite often. One time, Victor found out that his brother’s division was near TayTay, and Victor requested permission to go ashore to see his brother. As Victor walked into a clearing, unknowingly he walked into the middle of a battle The Japanese were on his left and the 7th Infantry was on his right. He heard someone call out, “get down you idiot.” It was Victor’s brother. After a visit in a foxhole, the brothers said goodbye, but Victor invited his brother to come to the LSM and have lunch sometime. His brother was wounded twice, but both made it safely home.
After the atomic bombs were dropped, the LSM-40 sailed to Japan and anchored next to the Japanese ship Nagato. Upon the end of their mission in Japan, the Flotilla of LSM’s headed back to the Philippines, and during their return trip, they went through Typhoon Louise. Victor remembers no one was getting sick because everyone was too scared. The Typhoon lasted 8 hours and produced 35 foot waves.
Upon the completion of their assigned tour in the Philippines, the LSM’s steamed home, first to San Francisco, then San Diego and back through the Panama Canal. Victor was reassigned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard as the Chief of the Mess until he received his Ruptured Duck pin and was Honorably Discharged and returned home to Ohio.
Victor’s best memory of his service in the Navy was the people he served beside; he still has contact with some of his crewmates at LSM reunions. He is very proud of his service in the Navy and to his country. Victor received the Philippines Liberation Medal with 5 stars which represents 5 battles and the Victory in WWII Medal and several others. Thank you Victor for your service to our the country.
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Bio prepared by Rebeccah Chiristovich.