His Grandfather: CARL R. THIEN

Photograph of Carl Thien.

Carl R. Thien in dress uniform

   Carl R. Thien volunteered for the Army in May of 1941. He joined the 56th Signal Battalion stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina for a year and a month of training. After war was declared, he transferred to the I Corps and embarked for Australia.

   He spent a year in Rockhampton, a city in Queensland Australia that served as a staging area for I Corps. Next, he moved north to the recaptured Goodenough Island, off the coast of New Guinea. There, he was reassigned as a combat photographer and joined the 201st CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps).

     The 201st participated in the invasion of Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea (today Jayapura, Indonesia). Then, the invasion and intense fighting on Biak Island. After that operation, I Corps prepared for the recapture of the Philippines' main island of Luzon. Early in 1945, he landed on Luzon, where he and his unit remained until the end of the war.

   As an Army photographer, he had many interesting photo assignments. Most memorable was the occasion he photographed General MacArthur, and the USO show at Hollandia. While in Rockhampton, Eleanor Roosevelt visited his Army camp. As editor of the I Corps newspaper, "EN CORPS" he presented a copy of the year's issues (bound in kangaroo hide). He sent a photograph of the presentation to his mother, who wrote the first lady. Later, Mrs. Roosevelt autographed the print! Today, this copy of "En Corps" is part of the F.D. Roosevelt Library and Archives's permanent collection in Hyde Park, New York.

Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt
accepts "En Corps"

   At the end of the war, he married his longtime girlfriend, Virginia Kelly, and returned home to New York City. They have been married for 52 years, and now live in Florida. In civilian life Carl became a news reporter and photographer for the New York Post. Later worked for the Brookhaven National Laboratory as public relations coordinator and editor of their newsletter.


  After retiring, he has been busy writing his memories of life in Army in two memoirs: 56th Signal Battalion and Pacific Island Odyssey. Currently, he has just completed his third book, The Search For Molly Mallone, and still shares many long letters and emails with his grandson about.


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