(Gerrit) Donald Pluimer Oral History
(Gerrit) Donald Pluimer was born June 18, 1921 and grew up in a small town outside of Milaca, Minnesota. At the age of 21 he joined the US Navy right after Pearl Harbor, following in the footsteps of his brother who joined the US Army. During World War II, Pluimer was part of a small convoy ship’s crew and acted as a signalman. Life on his ship took him throughout the South Pacific. After being discharged in October 1945, Pluimer received on-the-job training provided by the GI Bill to become a photographer. Pluimer married Tille Eerdmans on Mary 24, 1946 and settled in Milaca to raise five children. Pluimer died on October 3, 1999 at the age of 78 and was buried in Pease Cemetery in Mille Lacs County, Minnesota.
(Gerrit) Donald Pluimer recounted his experience within the US Navy during World War II onboard a small convoy ship. He spoke of his basic training at the Great Lakes Navy base near Chicago and how his training never consisted of firing arms. After being dispatched to Miami, Florida, he was stationed in Cuba at an anti-submarine base. Here he taught himself Morse code and flag code. Returning to Florida, he joined the crew of small convoy ship. He spoke of how small the crew was and how they bonded quickly. The ship made its way to Panama and into the South Pacific. Pluimer described the crew’s encounters with Japanese aircraft, torpedoes, and submarines, as well as missions to retrieve US pilots whose planes went down. He talked about the lack of food on long journeys and the actions that men took to obtain food. Plumier ended the interview with his thoughts on the current conflicts at the time of interview.
Interview by Richard Olson
St. Cloud State University, "(Gerrit) Donald Pluimer Oral History" (1990). World War II Veterans. 37.