Robert Kessler

IN HAWAII
Word has been received by Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Kessler that their son, Robert, has arrived safely in the Territory of Hawaii. On the trip to the undisclosed point in Hawaii, he was assigned to assist the ship transport doctor with the clerical work for which special letters of commendation were awarded him. Kessler graduated [**data missing**]

Staff Sergeant Robert Kessler is spending a 30-day recuperation furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Kessler, Route 1, Eau Claire, after serving for the past 30 months in the Pacific Theater.

Sergeant Kessler entered the service three years ago, on January 2, and had not been home since that time. He is in the Weather Squadron of the Army Air Forces, with headquarters in Hawaii. He has recently been serving on Saipan.


Adventure and romance characterize the career of Agnes Sonnenfelt, Eau Claire girl, now a Corporal in the WAC. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Engebretson, Wisconsin Street. Unusual things seem  to happen to her, such as being the first girl in the Women's Army to be granted a permit as a Motor Dispatch Rider and getting engaged via long distance telephone call from Honolulu. But then, Corporal Sonnenfelt is herself an unusual girl.

When Agnes was a youngster, here in Eau Claire—and that isn't so very long ago—her pride and joy was her motorcycle, Josephine. She became an expert cyclist and, one day, set out to see the world, or at least the part of it which lies between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Coast. That was in 1940. Her trip covered 7500 miles and brought her quite a bit of publicity, as well as experience and fun.

Later, when she entered the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (as it was then called) and became a dispatch rider, her skill as a cyclist brought her again into prominence by way of a little anecdote about a Sergeant who cautioned a WAAC: "Take it easy. Those motorcycles are tricky," whereupon the WAAC put on an exhibition of fancy riding and told him about her 7,500-mile tour. A cartoonist on the Philadelphia Enquirer even drew a picture to illustrate the tale, showing the flabbergasted sergeant and the stunting girl cyclist.

To tell her story more chronologically, Agnes came back to Eau Claire after her motorcycle trip and took a position here. Later, she motorcycled back to Seattle. In January 1943, she enlisted in the  Women's Army there. She took her basic training at Ft. Des Moines, Iowa,  following this with a special course at the Motor Transport School at Ft. Des Moines. There were about 80 girls in the course.

After completing her course, Agnes was assigned to Camp Abbott,  OR, a replacement training center for combat engineers. She served as dispatch rider, thus achieving the goal she had aimed for when she joined the Women's Army. This is an extensive camp, and her work was pleasant and exciting.

Recently, Corporal Sonnenberg has been transferred to an indoor job,  following a touch of rheumatic fever. She didn't think she was going to like this assignment, but it turned out to be interesting, too. She works in the camp radio station; in fact, she is the "bugler," who sounds reveille each morning a 5:30. She does it via the radio, a "transcribed" bugle call. 

She also cuts recordings for the boys to send back home. These are two-and-a-half-minute spoken "letters" on flexible records which can be played on any phonograph. The boys send them to families and friends and even to their pet dogs, a new version of "his master's voice." One boy comes in each week to send a "talk" home to his grandmother. Corporal Sonnenberg also visits the station hospital at Camp Abbott and makes records for the boys who are patients there. The hospital recordings are arranged through the Red Cross. The other records are made by the Special Services Division of the Army. Radio recordings are also made of camp entertainments.

Now about the romance. Corporal Sonnenberg is engaged to Robert Kessler, now stationed in Honolulu. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kessler of Route 1, Eau Claire. He entered the Army in January 1942. Agnes enlisted just one year later. The courtship continued by means of letters, until Robert telephoned her by long distance from Honolulu, on her birthday last year, May 13, and asked if he might send her a ring, which she now is proudly wearing, marking their engagement to be married after the war.