Victor Miesel spent the war years in the South Pacific serving with the Army Air Corps. His support role kept planes flying and helped move forward the massive Allied build up towards Japan. Although he served in the rear of the front lines, his squadron repeatedly came under attack and suffered tremendous casualties. Yet, despite the dangers, Victor and his outfit carried out their duties with speed and efficiency–they had to. “We assembled thirty trucks one day,” he says proudly. “The boys up front needed them and we delivered.”
Like so many other GIs after the war, Victor put his experiences behind him and started a new life with his family. Only decades later–at age 80–did he realize that no one had ever asked him about his service. Then, after so many years he began to share his story. Now, at 94, Victor Miesel is still telling his story so that future generations will understand the sacrifices veterans made during WW II.
Despite being the first day of spring 2014, it snowed the day we preserved the stories of five veterans from Tionesta, Pennsylvania: Victor Miesel, Lew Weingard, Rick Witherell, Lewis Cooke, and Bernie Polar.
We were enthusiastically invited to Tionesta by Mr. Miesel, an energetic 94 year old veteran of the Army Air Corps. We set up our mobile studio at Mt. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. The quiet country location made for a perfect recording location.
We could not have asked for a more interesting day of amazing stories, the likes of which we’ve not heard before–ranging from the southern islands of the Pacific, post war Japan, the Kuwaiti desert, jungles of Vietnam, and the mountains of Korea.
“You’ve had a long day,” Victor consoled us. Sixteen hours from door to door. Sure, it was a long day, but we’re known to go the extra mile for a great story . . . or in this case, five of them!
WW II Army Air Corps veteran Victor Miesel of Tionesta, Pennsylvania talks with Kevin Farkas (director of Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Intiative) about his coming home from the Pacific Islands, talking about the war, and his faith.