Date of Interview
Bob Drannen was born 23 August 1926 in Duluth, Minnesota, but spent his childhood in Atkinson, Carlton County, Minnesota, where his father ran a small general store. After graduating from Barnum High School in 1944, Bob immediately enlisted in the US Marines Corps; he was sent to Parris Island, South Carolina, for Basic Training, then assigned to the regimental weapons company of the Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division. With this unit, Bob boarded a troopship and headed for the island of Guam, where preparations were under way for the forthcoming invasion of Iwo Jima. When the invasion began in February 1945, the Third Marine Division was held in reserve; several division units were later dispatched to the small island of Chichi Jima, almost three hundred miles north of Iwo Jima, where Japanese forces had a communications base. With several hundred other Marines, Bob remained here until June 1945, when he was returned to Guam to begin preparation for the invasion of Japan (scheduled for fall 1945). Bob was on Guam when the Pacific war ended in August 1945. While many military personnel were returning to the US and being discharged, Bob remained on Guam until October 1946. For some months Bob served as the personal driver for Admiral Chester Nimitz, then Chief of Naval Operations, but for most of the time there was little to do. Bob finally returned to the US in late 1946 and was discharged in December of that year. Once again a civilian, Bob used the GI Bill to earn an associate's degree from the University of Minnesota (1949). He subsequently worked in the sales division for Northwest Paper (later Potlatch, then Sappi), retiring in 1984 with thirty-four years of service.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Bob Drannen" (2002). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 89.