Earlier this fall an inquiry came to SC&A about the John C. Becher Soldier Show Collection (see Veronica Fisher’s post from Tuesday, October 20, 2009). Further correspondence revealed that the researcher had actually taken part in the World War II soldier show “Fall Out for Fun.” Excited by the prospect of learning more about the WWII Soldier Shows, we jumped on the opportunity to interview Joseph C. Siedlecki about his experience.

Soldiers in from of a USO Hostel in Kassel, Germany, 1945

Joseph C. Siedlecki joined the army at the age of 19, and was stationed throughout Europe during WWII. After the war ended, there were serious problems with transporting the soldiers back to the United States. Many soldiers, including Sieldecki, were forced to wait months before returning to the U.S. The soldiers were forced to find ways to bide their time, and the soldier shows were one such activity that helped to keep them entertained. Siedlecki saw an ad calling for musicians to participate in a USO solider show based in Heidelberg, Germany and took advantage of the opportunity to use his abilities to play both the clarinet and saxophone in the show.

The link below is an excerpt from my phone interview with Mr. Siedlecki explaining how he became involved with the soldier show, “Fall Out for Fun”:

Siedlecki_Excerpt_mp3

Siedlecki performed with “Fall Out for Fun” for about six months, touring Germany to entertain other soldiers waiting to go home. Finally in the spring 1946, he was given the “ok” to return to the States. Once home he attended college on the GI Bill and worked as an electrical engineer until retirement.

Soldiers performing in a soldier show in Berlin, Germany, 1946

The full interview with Joseph C. Siedlecki is available for listening at Special Collections & Archives.  Contact the Oral History Program at ohp@gmu.edu for more information about oral history resources.

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