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Arne Kowalzek Oral History


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Biographical information:

Arne Kowalzek was born on September 7, 1920 in Morrison County, Minnesota. Kowalzek graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Business Education and Social Studies in 1942. In 1950, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota with hopes of becoming a teacher. After graduation from St. Cloud State, Kowalzek enlisted in the Navy and was trained at Great Lakes Naval Base near Chicago. During his service, he was assigned as an Aerographers Mate aboard the USS Texas. On July 1, 1949 Kowalzek returned home to marry his wife, Echo, and teach business administration at Little Falls High School for 32 years. He retired from teaching in early 1984. Kowalzek died on September 11, 2005 at the age of 85.

Transcript Summary:

Arne Kowalzek described his experiences in aboard the USS Texas as part of the D-Day invasion in June 1944. He remembered the troop transport ships going by his ship. Kowalzek also discussed his experiences arriving in Plymouth, England soon after the bombings of that city by German V-1 rockets. He shared a story of meeting a little girl in Plymouth, who had lost her hands in the bombings, as well as giving British workers sugar at tea time. He also related his experiences with Japanese kamikaze planes in the Pacific. He said his ship was never hit by one. Kowalzek also remembered hearing broadcasts from “Tokyo Rose” when the USS Texas was in the Pacific. Kowalzek ended the interview by discussing his thoughts about the war in Vietnam and the protesters and recent American military actions in Panama and Granada.

Alternate spelling of name is Arnulf Kowalczyk and taken from records here at St. Cloud State.

Interview by David Overy


Image ID: 14261

See additional files below for full transcript.

The interview was done sometime between 1989 and 1993.

14261_transcript.pdf (206 kB)
Arne Kowalzek oral history interview transcript

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