Victor Voitto Van Kainen

October 19, 1910 - February 16, 1991
Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Died in Lewiston, Michigan
Victor was the son of Finnish immigrants
and a carpenter by trade

Served aboard the USS Harry Lee 1943-1945
Gunnery Crew

Married Dorothy Keith
1 son, Victor, Jr.,
who passed away in August 2011

Later married Betty Paris
5 children

Information provided by Victor's granddaughter,
(daughter of Victor, Jr.)

Victor served on the Lee with the gunnery crew
Center row, second from left

From the journal of Victor Van Kainen, written about 1985:

" WWII - ...odor of rancid lard or? Stopping I looked for the source and lo and behold a native, looked like 7 feet tall, bare, only a loin cloth, spear in hand and tattoos all over him and on his head an inverted basket or so it seemed. Later I found out they build this up with tallow of the animals they kill. Not knowing what to do, gestured hi, he responded, thrusting his spear vertical and disappeared in the jungle. At the time this happened in New Guinea, still had headhunter aborigines. Picking up 1500 quarter master troops, headed out to sea. Heading towards Manilla which had just fallen. Incidentally these troops were all colored. (In war there is no distinction, all come under title B expendable.) This sort of makes it equal, other than the high brass that manipulate the strings. Anytime we had a full consignment of troops, I will give credit to the command of this particular ship, everybody ate the same, the only privileges we had, we went to the head of the line as we had work details to do. I do not know if this was prevalent in other ships, as we were just one in 35 or more when we disembarked troops. On this trip the war was escalating to the final onslaught on Japan. We were on our way to Manilla which was a shambles and they were going there to open the roads, clear the debris, etc. [sic] Arriving in Manilla dead of night, no way to dock, so anchored in Midbay. 8am, the word went out to disembark troops. It was so dark you could not see the small boats put-putting below. Cargo nets over the side, and over the side full pack. Even for them it must of been an experience they will never forget. Come daylight it amazed me to see the sunken ships in the harbor. I counted over a hundred, the harbor is only 45 feet deep and no large warship can come in. I recall a three-deck wooden passenger ship, after bombing lay on her side on the dock."