Early Life

Navy Training and Pacific Duty

Postwar and Reflections


Stanley John Niec was born in May 1926 in Chicago [Annotator's Note: Chicago, Illinois] and was raised there. He was the youngest sibling with two brothers and one sister. His father worked as a crane operator but moved back to Poland in 1928 to take care of his mother's estate. Niec's mother worked as a night housekeeper to make money for the family. Stanley was too young to remember living through the Depression [Annotator's Note: The Great Depression, a global economic depression that lasted from 1929 through 1945] but had his extended family close by and neighbors who were very trustworthy. He could walk to school. His cousin was his best friend. He knows nothing of his paternal or maternal ancestry. After hearing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941] on the radio, Stanley registered for the draft. His future brother-in-law had already been drafted. Niec was drafted for service at the age of 18. He selected the Navy for his service. He decided if he went down, the fish would eat him.


After choosing the US Navy, Stanley John Niec attended boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes [Annotator's Note: in Lake County, Illinois]. He was given leave [Annotator's Note: an authorized absence for a short period of time] to return home after training. Ordered to Virginia following leave, he subsequently joined his crew for LST-1109 [Annotator's Note: the USS LST-1109, a Landing Ship, Tank]. He was an ordinary seaman on the ship. Crewed by 130 officers and enlisted personnel, the LST sailed down the Mississippi River to New Orleans [Annotator's Note: New Orleans, Louisiana]. The ship had its shakedown cruise [Annotator's Note: a cruise to evaluate the performance of a naval vessel and its crew] off Virginia and the Florida coast. LST-1109 transited through the Panama Canal to Seattle, Washington for loading of Naval equipment including a smaller LST which was unloaded in the Philippines. Sailing to Hawaii, Niec saw where the Arizona [Annotator's Note: USS Arizona (BB-39)] was sunk. The crew played ball on the island [Annotator's Note: Ford Island in Pearl Harbor] near the wreckage. LST-1109 delivered equipment to established Naval ports such as Eniwetok [Annotator's Note: Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands], Guam [Annotator's Note: Guam, Mariana Islands], Tinian [Annotator's Note: Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands], and Saipan [Annotator's Note: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands]. His job onboard was antiaircraft gun loader and galley worker. Niec eventually learned to cook. LST-1109 was at Saipan, its homeport, when the bombs were dropped [Annotator's Note: nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 6 and 9 August 1945]. He was able to attend a USO [Annotator's Note: United Services Organization] show while serving in the Pacific. Stanley did not participate in any battles or combat. All the islands he reached were secured before he made port there.


Stanley John Niec decided not to stay in the Navy after the war. He used the G.I. Bill [Annotator's Note: the G.I. Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, was enacted by the United States Congress to aid United States veterans of World War 2 in transitioning back to civilian life and included financial aid for education, mortgages, business starts and unemployment] to attend a floral school. He learned to make floral arrangements and worked in florist shops. His buddy told him the G.I. Bill funding was receiving money for nothing. He retired in 1992. The war changed Niec for the better. He realized he was here for a reason. He hates the protestors today. World War 2 was the granddaddy of wars. Niec and the veterans fought for freedom. His final rank on discharge was Ship's Cook 3rd Class. He believes it is important to know the history of the country from the beginning to today.

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