Letter to the editor- Veteran served country well | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter to the editor- Veteran served country well

I would like to relate to you a story of a good buddy of mine. We met at a CIA (Catalina International Association) reunion many years ago in New Orleans. We became good friends because we had some experiences in common. We were both Navy Combat Air crewmen, we were both 2nd class Aviation Radiomen, and we were both ham radio operators. This is where the similarity ends.

I later became a member of a Black Cat Squadron. My buddy Victor Besancon was a member of Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB 26. In 1941, Vic was based at Kaneohe Naval Air Station in Honolulu. A request was made for a squadron volunteer to proceed to Wake Island to set up the communication unit for the squadron, which had orders to move as soon as these operations were completed. Vic volunteered to go to Wake.

Needless to say, a short time later, after the bombing of Pearl harbor, Wake Island fell to the Japanese and Vic became a POW and was sent to Japan. The hardships of being a prisoner of War was almost unbearable. Vic told me that the Japanese moved him often from one prison to another in Japan. The most memorable memory for Vic during the time he was a POW was the time he asked a prison guard for a pencil and paper, which he wanted to use to help pass the time. Since Vic was a ham radio operator, he started writing the call signs of all the ham operators he could remember on the paper, that he had made radio contact with prior to the war. One day a guard came in to see what Vic was doing with the pencil and paper and pointed to a call sign that happened to be the guard’s own call sign. During Vic’s stay in this prison, he received somewhat better treatment.

Vic survived the war and after liberation in 1945, he stayed in the Navy and retired after 30 years’ service as a Navy Lt. Commander. Vic was a member of the Survivors of Pearl Harbor Association. Just recently, Victor died, but as a veteran of World War II, he contributed distinguished service to his country and a legacy of honor.

Hap Halliday

Lake Tahoe VFW

South Lake Tahoe

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Battling food insecurity in our community (Opinion)


When we look at our community’s health, there are many factors that determine a person’s ability to thrive. Places where people live, learn, work, and play affect outcomes for health and quality of life. However,…

See more