News From Home
While at Cooks and Bakers School, Dad continued to stay in touch with
his family and friends. As noted in many of the letters Dad wrote
to his sister Mae, his common request and biggest morale booster was
to receive mail and photos from his family and friends.
The photo above was taken on September 15,
1942 in front of the local hangout and sent to Dad while he was at
the Cooks and Bakers School in New Orleans, LA.
Back Row-L to R: Mildred
Piscarcik, Paul Pagorzelski*, George
Tengreain, Elmer Giba*, Teresa Pisarcik, Edward Havrilla, Joseph Ondovich.
Front Row-L to R: Unidentified Friend, Edward Kraly,
Bob Pigman, John Kerlik, Leo Kandra, John Habarka.
Bob Pigman, seen squatting in the center
of the front row, followed Dad's lead and joined the US Navy shortly
after this photo was taken.
*Paul Pagorzelski and
Elmer Giba circled by Dad in this photo were killed during the war.
Dad's Favorite Niece
Dad also had a special place in his heart for his sister's daughter
Lynda. He always made sure to include a special note to her in the
letters he'd write and would request a number of her pictures to keep
with him for the duration of the war. Shown are several of his favorite
photos taken of her before he left for Cooks and Bakers School.
Interesting Facts While Stationed in Louisiana
Shortly after his arrival at the Algiers Naval Training Station
(New Orleans, Louisiana) many sailors instead of calling Dad by
his full last name of Galik shortened it to "Gay". Dad thought that
it sounded better than "Stash" so he began using it regularly beginning
with his August 21st letter to his sister.
Interest in Poetry
Dad began writing poetry while stationed in Louisiana. In his November
5th letter to his sister he described one of his life's goals. In
this letter he stated: "I wrote 4 other poems since I'm here--not
a pastime sis, just trying to realize my ambition. All my life I
wanted to be a journalist, and see a little of dreams are coming
true." Later in 1943 his sister Mae indicated that at least one
if not more of his poems were published in the "Stars and Stripes"
Elmer Giba - Bob Pigman
Elmer Giba and Bob Pigman, friends of Dad tried joining the Navy
in September 1942, but Elmer was drafted into the Army. Dad in his
letters said that he always believed he made the right decision
by enlisting in the "best outfit" around--the US Navy. Bob Pigman
was able to join the Navy and later served on the
USS Refuge (Hospital Ship). Sadly, however, Elmer who jokingly
chided Dad calling him a "sucker" at the time he enlisted in the
Navy, was drafted into the US Army and served gallantly until he
was killed by a sniper in Southern France in 1944.
- Source: Bob Pigman 6/2002