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Northwest Salmon



Day County WWII veteran receives honorary diploma

by Amanda Fanger

When Magnus “Stanley” Boe was called forward during an impromptu graduation ceremony Nov. 11 at the Langford Area Veterans Day program, the World War II vet jokingly asked the superintendent of that school what he’d done this time. Instead of a lecture he was used to getting while in high school, he was presented with an honorary high school diploma.

Boe enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 17th birthday, Nov. 15, 1942 as a junior in high school. He was therefore unable to graduate with the rest of his class.

Boe grew up around Pierpont and that’s where he would have graduated from high school had it not been for the war.

Earlier this year, he had talked to Mike Wiley at the Day County Veterans Service Office where Wiley discovered Boe had never received his diploma. Thinking that since Pierpont High School was no longer around, Boe believed all the school records to have been gone also.

So it was quite a surprise to Boe at the Veterans Day service to learn that Wiley had worked with school personnel at Langford to create an honorary diploma.

“I didn’t know about it,” Boe confessed. His wife Arlene had known about the presentation, however, and made sure to get him there. She also was sure to get other family members to attend the service.

“It was quite an honor. I really appreciated it,” he said in all seriousness. Then he added with a mischievous grin, “...I guess I could go to college now!”

He joked that he had his mind made up to enroll in the School of Mines, where a grandson is currently studying and another will soon become a professor.

Boe enjoyed school while he had the chance to attend. Because of milking cows on the farm where he lived, Boe says he was never able to participate in many after school activities such as sports. He did remember one music teacher he had and said he enjoyed her class.

“I kind of liked to sing. She was an excellent music teacher. She wanted to give me private voice lessons,” Boe commented. “Of course, being a young boy (one of the only interested in music), I thought ‘heck no!’”

Still, he had been a member of the all-state choir for Pierpont.

One of his favorite parts of school, looking back he says, was the fact that he met his wife there.

Boe says he has been an honorary member of the class of 1943 since about the time of the first class reunion.

“They treat me just like I did graduate,” he remarked.

Before Boe left for the service, his class had about 39 students in it. Today, there are only four left.

While in the service, Boe says he traveled the world four times from one spot – a Navy ship.

He say she hit just about every island in the Pacific, making raids on most of them, including Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He recalled preparing for an invasion of the main island of Japan just before the bomb dropped.

“We were pretty much a sober bunch,” he commented. “Everyone pretty much knew if we made a landing that not many of us would survive.”

Boe’s job was as a mechinist and added that because of that job, “I got to see all of the activity on the beach – some of it wasn’t very nice.”

After the war ended, the battleship became a transport carrier, picking up troops to take them home. He described that time in service as a paid vacation, getting to see all sorts of places like New Zealand and Australia.

When he enlisted, his start-up pay was $50 a month. He couldn’t remember what he was getting paid by the time he got out of the service.

“You didn’t have many expenses. If you could stay alive, there was not much to worry about,” he said.

When Boe got out of the service, his rank was Mechinist Mate First Class. While he had passed the test for chief twice, because of the war, the ranks were frozen, he said.

Boe served until 1946 and says he’d thought about reenlisting, but four words from his bride to be stopped him. “Haven’t you seen enough?”

Once back home in Day County, Boe began farming – something the 89-year-old still enjoys today. He drives truck and hauls grain for different people.

Also taking part in the diploma presentation ceremony Nov. 11 was Langford superintendent Monte Nipp and high school principal and athletic director Toni Brown, as well as Wiley.
Boe’s diploma says “Pierpont High School.”

Fiksdal Funeral Home

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