Richard Pierzina Oral History
Richard Pierzina was born on December 5, 1918, in Bowlus, Minnesota, to Theodore and Agnes (Phillips) Pierzina. He served in the U.S. Army in the Asiatic Pacific during World War II and received the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service. After returning home from the service, Richard owned and operated the “Coach” in Swan River Township. He later owned the Parkway Inn in Bowlus as well. In 1949, Richard moved to Little Falls where he worked for the Coast to Coast Hardware Store and Sanitary Dairy. Later he worked at the Hennepin Paper Mill and was union president for a number of years. After 32 years at the paper mill, Richard retired in 1983. He married Mary Ann Kutzmann on June 24, 1947. He passed away on March 2, 2004 at the age of 85 and is buried in Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery in Little Falls, Minnesota.
Richard Pierzina recounted his experience as a member of both the 32nd and the 164th Infantry in and around the Pacific. In January 1941, he enlisted in January 1941 and shipped to Fort Ord, California for basic training. Only eight days prior to his scheduled discharge, on December 7, 1941 Pierzina was in San Francisco during his off day when he heard the news of the Pearl Harbor attack. He rushed back to base and was later stationed with the 32nd on patrolling the West Coast. In March 1942, he joined the 164th and sent to the Pacific theater of war. Pierzina detailed the next three years as his company was stationed in Australia, Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Fiji Islands, and the Philippines. He also recalled bouts with malaria, as well as soldiers injuring themselves or faking ailments to escape service. Pierzina concluded the interview by discussing his thoughts regarding draft dodgers and rioters. He believed that there were no true winners in war since everyone loses something.
Interview by David Overy
St. Cloud State University, "Richard Pierzina Oral History" (1991). World War II Veterans. 36.