Of the six boys in Pat Fagen’s family, five brothers served during WWII at the same time. Three days after Pearl Harbor, knowing he would be called, Pat enlisted in the navy because he thought it sounded better than the army.
Pat was sent to naval training school in Rhode Island, and then he was assigned to the USS Arcturus (AF-52), a fast attack cargo ship. He participated in three invasions: North Africa, Sicily and Salerno. His ship was nicknamed “The Lucky Arc” because of the many close calls she had during those campaigns.
On the lighter side, during a trip from Sicily to England their ship was entrusted with an army general’s belongings. Someone broke into the general’s wine and liquor stock and there ensued many parties from Italy to England. The leaders tried to investigate and did locker searches, but they never found the perpetrators.
Near the end of the war, Pat was sent to Manila Bay, Philippines. Right after the war ended his battle group was ordered toward Hiroshima. Near the city they sailed up a river as far as they could go, taking over an army truck from a nearby army base. “It was completely leveled. I mean, it was just dirt. Real plain dirt. Solid. No indication that there was any town at all there.”
Of the five Fagen brothers serving in WWII, four of them returned home safely after the war. Unfortunately, Pat’s oldest brother was killed in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge.