Joseph Stein Oral History
Joseph Stein was born November 3, 1918 to Frederick and Barbara (Muggli) Stein and grew up in Cold Spring, Minnesota. He worked as an electrician for Cold Spring Granite Company and married Margaret Salzer on May 1, 1940. He was drafted into the Army on in June of 1944. Three of his brothers, Roger, Victor and Frederick, also served, and interviews of Victor and Frederick are also in this collection. After basic training at Buckley Field in Denver, Colorado, and engineer training at Geiger Field in Washington, Joseph shipped out with other Army Air Corps engineers from Fort Lewis to Ie Shima in the Pacific Theater. There, he served in various capacities until the Japanese surrender, particularly as an electrician. He was stationed in Japan as part of occupation forces after the war. When he went back to work for Cold Spring Granite until retiring in 1985, and he and Margaret raised six children. He was a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church, American Legion, VFW, Cold Spring Sportsmen’s Club, and the Booster Club. He passed away on April 21, 2003.
Joseph Stein described his experiences as an Army Air Corps engineer during World War II. He briefly covered aspects of his basic training at Buckley Field in Denver and engineer training at Geiger Field in Washington, but the bulk of the interview focused on his service in the Pacific Theater, starting with his unit’s trip from Fort Lewis to Ie Shima aboard Landing Ship, Tanks (LSTs). He detailed some of the various jobs he was assigned to in Ie Shima, including electrical maintenance, distributing beer rations, and managing the supply of cement. He noted how he and other engineers used surplus supplies as trading materials. Although he recalled having little contact with enemy forces, Stein noted occasional air raids and sniper activity on the island. He also described his experiences during the occupation of Japan, including seeing bombed-out cities like Hiroshima and spending time with a former Japanese army officer. Stein also briefly shared his thoughts on the Vietnam War and men who avoided the draft.
Interviewed by Lois Gaetz
St. Cloud State University, "Joseph Stein Oral History" (1990). World War II Veterans. 23.