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Ralph Sjogren Oral History


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Biographical Information

Ralph Sjogren was born on February 5, 1919 to Ernest and Katherine (Gaetz) Sjogren in Melrose, Minnesota. He enlisted in the Army on September 3, 1942. Sjogren trained at Camp Clayborn in Louisiana, and was deployed to the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, where he operated transmitters to help keep pilots from getting lost in the Pacific. He would later become a railroad operator in Alaska. Sjogren was discharged from the Army in June 1945. After the war, Sjogren worked for the Great Northern Railroad. He retired in 1975. In 1941, he married Arvella Sletten and had 10 children: Ed, Judy, George, Jack, Mary Ann, Nancy, Margaret, Robert, Paul, and Steve. He passed away on August 20, 1994 and buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Waite Park, Minnesota.

Transcript Summary

Ralph Sjogren described his time as a soldier in the Army during World War II. He enlisted on September 3, 1942, despite issues with his draft card information. Sjogren remembered his training at Camp Clayborn, Louisiana. Here he made the mistake of telling superiors he had some radio knowledge who then transferred him to the Army Air Corp. Shipped to Alaska during the duration of World War II, Sjogren described in great detail about his deployment to the Aleutian Islands, specifically Shemya Island (located between Alaska and Russia in the Pacific Ocean). He recalled operating a ping system to inform fighter pilots where to land safely. Sjogren discussed his transfer from the Aleutian Islands to working the railroad until his discharge from the Army in June 1945.


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