updated 09/10/2017

WW II News & Letters

Note! Researchers should also check the 1940-1944 & 1945-1949 misc. news articles in the Newspaper section of this website. There are some news snippets about service men.

Former New Albin Girl in Service in Australia

Austin, Minn., Daily Herald -- Leota Kelly, Austin girl who has been active in recreation work for the states of Minnesota and Iowa, is among 16 young American women active in the American Red Cross service club which serves the troops in the area of General Douglas Mac Arthur's headquarters in Australia according to an Associated Press dispatch from Australia. Miss Kelly, who has two sisters, Marie Kelly Gerahty and Bernadette Kelley, living here at the present time, at one time headed WPA recreation work for the city of Austin. Then she was given the position of WPA recreation supervisor for the Southern Minnesota district with the headquarters in New Ulm, and was soon promoted to the position of assistant director of WPA recreation for Minnesota, and later served in the same capacity for Iowa. Another sister of Miss Kelly, Margaret, expects to leave in the near future for overseas duty with the Red Cross, and her sister, Katherine, expects to enter overseas duty as a nurse in government service. her brother, Walter is in the army and another brother Alfred is an aircraft inspector at Briggs Aircraft Co., in Detroit, Mich. Leota Kelly was born and educated in New Albin, and was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Kelly. Miss Kelly has many friends in New Albin also a grandmother.

~clipping is from a New Albin newspaper, undated
~contributed by Errin Wilker


3 More Young Men To Be Called To Camp By July 1st

With the national defense effort steadily gaining momentum, and more training camps constructed and enlarged, quotas for young men to take military training under the selective service program are expected to be increased. According to word received by the Allamakee draft board, this county will be called upon to provide 53 additional men by the first of July, most of whom are expected to be drafted.

An order for five more registrants to take a year’s military training at Ft. Des Moines was received by a the local selective service board last week and is not included in the proposed quota of 53 more men.

The men will leave on April 15 and those drafted to fill the order are Leo Robinson of Harpers Ferry whose local order number is 177; Walter Burt of Waukon, 181; Ervin Bockhause of near Dorchester, 221; Duwayne Bulman of Postville, 262; and Arthur Nierling of Union Prairie, 268.

Leaving today by bus for Ft. Des Moines were two young men as replacements for trainees who were rejected in a previous order. They are Eugene Lee of West Ridge, a volunteer; and Albert Britt of near Dorchester, a draftee.

Joe Freeman of Postville, who left Wednesday of last week with another group of men, was rejected at camp because of a slight physical shortcoming but as yet an order for a replacement in his case has not been received.

Leaves for Honolulu

Lawrence “Bud” Anderson, ensign in the U. S. Navy, and son of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Anderson of Waukon, has been called to duty aboard a transport ship, “The Anders,” to sail from San Pedro, Calif., for Honolulu where he joins the officers of the battleship “Arizona” which is stationed in Pearl Harbor.

Ensign Anderson visited here recently after completing a reserve officers course at Northwestern University, ad then departed for the west coast, with his classmate, Ensign Donald Steele.

~Allamakee Journal and Lansing Mirror, April 9, 1941
~transcribed by Ann Krumme


Service News

-Capt. H.J. Uglum left by bus last Thursday for the Pacific Coast, from where he expects to be transferred shortly. He had enjoyed a furlough with his father, Hafter Uglum and other relatives.
-Francis Rooney of the U. S. Navy arrived home Thursday after having completed his basic training at the Great Lakes Training Station and is spending his leave with home folks and other relatives.
-According to word received by home folks of Donald Hegeman who was inducted into service last week, he passed the examination for entrance into the U. S. Navy and will take his “boot” training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.

~clipping from unknown Allamakee county newspaper, April 1942
~transcribed by Errin Wilker


Ewing and Hanson at Great Lakes

Among the most recent arrivals at the U.S. naval training station here are two former Waukon men who reported for duty last week and are now undergoing recruit training. First getting instructions in military drill, seamanship, and naval procedure, these men are also being groomed for fighting through the navy’s vigorous physical hardening program. Upon completion of the recruit training period, the men will be granted a nine-day leave, at which time they will probably return home. The new Bluejackets from Waukon are: Melvin John Ewing, 17, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin C. Ewing, and Earl Myron Hanson, 21, son of Mrs. Alvina Hanson, Rte 4.

Lansing News - In scanning the names of enlistments in the Des Moines paper, last week, the name of Marc Wilder was among those enlisting in the navy.

~Waukon Democrat, September 24, 1942
~transcribed by Errin Wilker


Local World War Veteran Enlists in Present Conflict

Edward L. Burdick of this city became the first World War I veteran of this community to volunteer for duty in the present war this morning when word reached him from the 7th Army Corps office in Omaha, Nebr., that he had passed his physical and mental tests taken at Des Moines a few weeks ago with flying colors.

Mr. Burdick was a volunteer in the first World War, serving at that time in the infantry of the Students Army Training Corps. He is a charter member of the American Legion Post at Ames. Now awaiting his call to service, Mr. Burdick has been accepted for the Volunteer Officer Candidate service in the infantry branch. At present he is at his home in this city.

~Postville Herald, Wednesday, October 7, 1942
~transcribed by S. Ferrall



Following is a list of Allamakee young men who answered the August call for military service, as furnished by the Selective Service Board:

William L. McCormick, Waukon
Robert E. Imhoff, New Albin
Donald H. Stone, Waukon
George W. Thornton, Marquette
Lawrence N. Colsch, Waukon
John R. Schulze, Lansing
James C. Marston, Postville
Roger H. McMillan, Waukon
James L. Faegre, Waukon
Gerald E. Guthneck, Harpers Ferry
Alan J. Beucher, Postville
Dean A. Meyer, Postville
LaMont F. Gericke, Postville
Leo S. Severson, Waukon
Cleon D. Sires, New Albin
Vincent T. Riley, Waukon
Gerald K. Palmer, Waukon
Roland W. Madorin, Postville
James F. Dougherty, Waukon

Those enlisting are:

Charles L. Beucher, Postville
Arnold J. Styir, Lansing
Melvin S. Bell, Waukon

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, Iowa, 1943
~transcribed by Errin Wilker


Cpl. Breeser Writes From Italy

Dear Folks:
It is really hot here these days. I sure do a lot of sweating but one thing it cools off at night, and boy do I sleep. Tomorrow I am going swimming in the sea; you know salt water is good for a person. Some of the boys went today, but I did not go—was too busy. You wrote that you did not hear from me for a long time; I am sorry but I couldn't write, but now I have time so I am going to make up for it. I really didn't mind it so much this time when I was up "there" a long time but got along fine; seen a lot of the country and lots of towns. Of course the Germans were always trying to get in a lucky shot but we always beat them to the draw. My gun section was the first one in town and I tell you I never heard the Italians holler so much as they did. Before I could get out of my jeep they were all around us throwing flowers, and before I got four steps away I had some of the best "Dago Red" wine in Italy. The first thing we did was to go looking for a place to sleep for the night, so the boys and I went into one big house where the people had run away while the fighting was going on so we took over. I got myself a single sleeper with nice clean sheets on it, a clean pillow and found an alarm clock which I put on the dresser, and I really did sleep. I never heard Jerry throw in any shells all tht night, but I am getting so used to it now that sometimes I don't even hear at all, and I know when to duck and not to and when Jerry starts shooting I can always tell what kind of gun it is. You know I am getting pretty wise at this war, but I had enough and am ready to quit.

Well, from that place we moved out and came to a town where the people treated us like kings. They didn't know who we were at first. My buddies and I were walking down the street and the people were looking out the doors and windows with such big eyes and they asked: Americana, aye-see vin-aquae malta-bona; that means American come here very good. We went into one house and a lady thought we were some movie stars; got all the wine we could drink there. We walked down the street and a well dressed Italian came up to us and asked if we wouldn't come to his house so we went, and boy did they treat us good. First thing they do is bring out the drinks and fruit, peaches, pears, plums, apples—the dining room wasn't good enough for us and they took us into the parlor and their two daughters went out and got us each a big red rose and some other flowers, I don;t know the name, and they pinned them on our shirts. Wish you could have seen us. Where I am now they are all fascists and boy do I hate them. I saw the "Leaning Tower of Pisa," and no doubt you have heard of it before. It is one of the seven wonders of the world; made of all marble and I don't see how it stands. I don't know if it will stay standing—depends on the Germans, if they get out O.K., if not we'll blow them out. I tell you I have seen so many dead bodies lying around, some all torn to pieces, that now I don't mind it so much; a person gets used to it. I am on the front lines and have seen so much and gone through so much that I can tell things that will make anybody's head swim.
Cpl. Fred Breeser

~clipping, ca1943 ~contributed by Errin Wilker


Forty-One Men and a Girl - Sara Smerud, Red Cross Worker

Sara Smerud, of New Albin, Iowa, American Red Cross girl now in Egypt, spent a day away from her duties as a recreational worker with American troops, viewing the ancient Temple of Carmac at Luxor on the Nile. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, with Cum Laude in the class of 1942, Sara Smerud was affiliated with the East Minneapolis Recreational Association prior to her overseas assignment with the Red Cross.

The Chaplain invited me to go along on a “bush” trip into the hinterland of Central Africa, but warned be that it might be a bit rugged. He mentioned casually that 41 GIs were also coming on the same trip—but being a Red Cross girl, the latter didn’t scare me. In our work in the Red Cross, we have grown accustomed to the unbalanced proportion of men and women. I was rather new at this station, and aside from a bit of natural curiosity about the “bush,” I decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity to meet a lot of soldiers, and get acquainted with “my boys.”

Sunday morning was bright and hot, as I gaily chose my seat in a ten-wheeler loaded with cameras, mess kits, canteens and soldiers. We sped through the camp gate with laughter and song, delighted to be on our way to the beckoning hills and jungle swamps. The words that one might use to describe a jungle are beyond me—all I can say is that it is not reproducible in movies—regardless of Hedy La Marr. This was a special trip, carefully arranged because we were going further inland than on regularly scheduled affairs. We arrived at our destination, a truly lovely native village, bedecked in brilliant color and filled with native laughter. The good priest in the village welcomes us, and his faithful servants set before us the mysterious repast known as “fu-fu.” I say mysterious for I never did taste it; yes, I ate it, but my taste buds did not function from the first mouthful on. The concoction that was our main dish consisted mainly of red pepper. A chicken was fed on red pepper, then cooked in red pepper. Tomatoes and red pepper were cooked together in tin pans—then the tomatoes were thrown out, and the remaining red pepper sauce added to the already hot chicken. Needless to say, the meal was not enjoyed by any of the soldiers or myself. The Chaplain, however, had been a missionary in this area for many years, and had doubtless grown a new lining for his throat, mouth and stomach of a super strength stiple-X variety. He alone seemed to enjoy his meal.

During the afternoon we played soccer with the natives—who must have been capable of doing embroidery work with their toes. We dutifully patted little pickaninnies on their curly black heads, were presented to the big chief, and listened to a youth’s band which had a trumpeter that positively swung us off our tired feet. The afternoon passed quickly, and the time had arrived for us to start back to camp. We piled into trucks. The first truck started off, and disappeared around the bend. Our truck didn’t budge an inch. We looked at each other—and climbed out to give the driver unprofessional advice. Then back into the truck, and the natives pushed, the engine coughed, and that was all. One of the soldiers cleaned the gas line, and to our complete disgust we found spring water flowing through the gas-hardened veins of our ten-wheeler. The five gallon can of water we had brought along for drinking purposes had been poured into the gas tank by some mischievous native. The other truck came back, wondering what had become of us. They were thirsty, too, and we all suffered together. Beautiful jungle streams all around us—polluted water infected with every imaginable animal, vegetable and human filth.

Being enterprising Americans—and impatient—we couldn’t linger any longer, so we hitched our truck to the other, and began our retreat to camp. The first ten miles we sat blindly in the back of the truck, and watched our rear wheels skim across culverts with one-sixteenth of an inch to spare. We felt the gently crumble of the earth beneath the wheels as we skimmed lightly along the edges of precipices. At least the first 30 miles we were favored by daylight. Then suddenly we entered the rain belt, the deep forest, and really dense jungle. The sun was setting, but it was black in there. The drivers put on their lights and searched out the meandering highway. The road was bound on both sides by high jungle walls. By the miles we were getting more thirsty; it seemed as though the red pepper had sprouted roots, and was draining every drop of moisture from our bodies.

This Red Cross worker is fairly well-padded, and should have been more comfortable than my truckload of GIs—but I became so weary of my seat, months later I could have gone to the Motor Pool, and selected that very same portion of the bench that I had sat on during those long bumpy miles. We sang—old American songs, war songs, and everything that we could think of to pass the time away. That didn’t last very long, and croaks and whispers ascended from our throats. Occasionally some soldier would light a cigarette, then disgustingly put it out. “Tastes like red pepper,” he would mutter in the darkness. Everything aggravated our thirst.

Being the only girl, and wearing the Red Cross uniform, I felt that I should keep a conversation going, at least. I talked and listened to 19 soldiers about everything imaginable — the soldiers’ children, golf scores, Sloppy Joes, Main Street, malted milks, and double-talk. On we tore through the black night, slipping like an unsteady skater over greasy roads, painfully creeping up each little hill behind the first truck. Then, poised on the top, they’d shift and swerve down a steep grade. Brakes would squeal, and we’d squeal—with relief as the back wheels would miss a ditch. One mile from camp MPs passed us, satisfied that we would make it. We did, but what a disillusioned group, tired, thirsty, black and blue and hungry. But the GIs thanked the Chaplain for a lovely trip. Americans are funny people—and I’m glad I’m one of ‘em.

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, Iowa, Abt. 1943 ~contributed by Errin Wilker

Red Cross Worker Home from Overseas

Miss Sarah Smerud, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Smerud, is home on a visit after nineteen months as a Red Cross worker. She volunteered in April, 1943, and after three weeks training in Washington, D.C., was sent overseas, arriving back in the states on Dec. 5, 1944. Following is an interesting sketch prepared by her for Journal readers:
To be home again after nineteen months overseas is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Not only do the familiar faces, topography and miscellaneous scenes renew pleasant memories, but they also renew the realization that this section of the country is particularly blessed with all the good things in life. I do not mean to infer that other countries and peoples are not interesting, for they certainly are.

I had the pleasure of visiting and working in nearly every section of Africa, except South Africa. From the Gold Coast, through the Belgian Congo to Kenya, from the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan to Egypt and French Morocco, over jungle trails, desert and mountains. I have seen much of the comparatively unknown country of Africa. Down there they still practice ju ju and have their primitive dances under the palm trees in the moonlight. In Egypt I visited the pyramids, sphinx and temples at Luxor which were parts of the great civilization that existed thousands of years before the birth of Christianity. Yes, I drove across the desert to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and there saw the historical spots dear to all of us, the places that are especially recalled to our minds at this time of the year. It is not hard to reconcile history with fact when you see the people now living at the birthplace of Christ, when you see how they live, dress and act. Tel-a-Viss, the youngest modern city in the world, is but a few hours drive from Jerusalem, and the vast vineyards and fertile fields under modern cultivation contrast sharply with the wandering Shylock or pleasant tilling his plot of ground with a forked stick.

Into Persia, the country which breathes of the oriental, the ragged peasants dying on the streets in the winter time and the more fortunate living in unimaginable luxury. I saw them make the famous Persian rugs. Little girls, 8-14 years old, tie each strand of yarn by hand and work the richest designs in the world. There the diesel engine competes with the donkey and the airplane with the camel. The stark simplicity of the rugged mountains matches the serenity of the bluest blue sky I have ever seen.

In some of these places I worked and in some I just visited, but nearly everywhere some of our American soldiers were stationed, or like me, just visiting. They are seeing the same people and places I saw and they, too, will have new ideas when they come home. Most of them are taking their isolation from the states in a good way but all of them want to come home. You asked me what I am going to do now that I am here. I am going to work as soon as possible in a vital defense industry unless it is necessary to help my dad on the farm. I want to work as hard and fast as I can so our boys over there can have the weapons and essentials necessary to successfully stop the present conflict so that the war may be over even just one minute sooner; then our boys can come home.
~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, Iowa, Dec. 1944 ~contributed by Errin Wilker
~Read more about Sara Smerud in the School Records section of this website.


A Poem

We have all read and heard of the soggy mud our fighters encounter in the isles of the Southwest Pacific area.  This condition has led Private Dick Hale to compose the following poem which we pass along to our readers: 


Are you looking for bugs or flies,
Any color, shape or size?
Anything that crawls or flies?
New Guinea's got it !

Want some heat that'll make you sweat
Sweat until you're soaking wet,
Heat that makes you over-het?
New Guinea's got it !

Could I interest you in a spider bite,
A big one to keep you awake at night
And make you mad enough to fight?
New Guinea's got it !

Looking for mud, the gooie kind,
Searched everywhere but no can find
Fellow, you can rest your mind --
New Guinea's got it !

Could be there's something else you seek,
Well, drop in sometime and spend a week,
New Guinea's got it !

~Postville Herald newspaper clipping hand dated 1944, from her mother's scrapbook collection
~transcribed by Mary Durr


Rahistoric Wild West Rodeo Held in Ramgarh

Ramgarh Training Center - Under a burning Indian sun and in clouds of dust from a timeless continent, the U.S. Army last week scored another interesting if not historic premiere for this part of the world when it presented the first Wild West Rodeo ever staged in Asia.

It was a case of East meets West with a vengeance, out here in the wide open spaces of Bihar Province, as a motley audience of 2,000 American G.I.'s, Indian sepoys, Chinese "bingpos," British Tommies and a miscellany of civilians watched a fast-moving, hell-for-leather two hours of dramatic action which, despite the difficulties of staging the performance 12,000 miles from its rightful habitat, in many respects equaled and in some comedy aspects surpassed the same article at home.

Dreamed up by a Quartermaster Remount outfit stationed at this camp, the performance was a brilliant surprise to the sophisticates of the audience who had drifted out in anticipation of a typically bungling amateur performance. From the opening Grand Entry to the final event, proceedings moved with a professional finesse which attested more powerfully than the printed programs to the fact that more than a dozen of the remount soldiers were professional rodeo entertainers in peacetime at home.

Led by Lt. Howard (King) Mayfield, professional rodeo rider of Estes Park, Colo., who supervised the production and emceed at the public address microphone during the performance, and the amiable clowning throughout the entire show of S/Sgt. Arnold A. (Hatless Snafu) Hexom, of Wakon, Ia.* , the show had everything from bareback mule riding, bronco busting, steer roping and bulldogging to special trick riders, rope artists and a jumping mule which, with Sgt. Walter L. Greery of Richmond, Va., up, leaped spectacularly over a flaming barrier.

The Roundup is a weekly newspaper of the United States Forces, published by and for the men in Burma and India, from news and pictures supplied by staff members, soldier correspondents, Army News Service and United Press. The Roundup is published Thursday of each week and is printed by The Statesman in New Delhi and Calcutta, India. Editorial matter should be sent directly to Major Floyd Walter, Hq., U.S.F., I.B.T., APO 885, New York, N.Y., and should arrive not later than Saturday in order to be included in that week's issue. Pictures must arrive by Friday and must be negatives or enlargements. Stories should contain full name and organization of sender. Complaints about circulation should be sent directly to Capt. Drexel Nixon, Base Section APO 465, New York, N.Y. Units on the mailing list should make notification of any major change in personnel strength or any change of APO.

*S/Sgt Arnold H. Hexom of Waukon, IA
~source: C.B.I. Newspaper “Roundup” Vol III, No.9, Reg. No. L5015, Delhi, India, Thursday November 9, 1944
~transcribed by Arthur Hagemeier


Three Years' Service Without a Furlough

T-Sgt. Theodore Hoerer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hoerer of Lansing, has been in the Air Corps three years next spring and never had a furlough since leaving home and the past 22 months he has been overseas advancing with the Air Corps through Africa, Pantelleria, Sicily and for many months now stationed in Italy. He is a member of a hard fighting squadron that have been bombarding Germany regularly and of interest to Allamakee relatives and friends is the following letter received last week:

Italy, Dec. 7th, 1944
Dear Folks:
Just a line to let you know that I am fine and hope you are all the same. Today is the start of the fourth year of the war but it hardly seems that long ago. I can distinctly remember hearing the radio blaring out the sneak attack of Pearl Harbor and the tables seem very much turned today.

I have not received the Journal in a long time so I guess they must be slipping up on our mail as there couldn't be that many lost. Have received two Christmas packages from you and thanks a million. You asked me what I need; well I could use some gloves very handy, a pair of pig-skin or horse-hide work gloves (tight fitting) and also a pair of dress gloves would be much appreciated.

Imagine old man winter has really set in earnest back home now although we haven't had much cold weather here yet.

Say is Jack Hurm still stationed here in Italy? He owes me a letter for a long time now and it has set me to wondering where he is.

Our outfit is getting quite classy after a fashion. We now have china on the mess table, a squadron shower, group theater, group band and a club house so you can see we are quite independent as far as entertainment and facilities are concerned.

I sent you a small package with 3 scarfs home. Give one to Sadie and Ethel. The other gadget is an Italian flag which I had in my locker so threw it in the package for home. It is a sort of souvenir if you will keep it for me. It had quite a story which I can't explain now but will long remember.

Well, I guess I am about out of wind so will close for this time. Wishing you all the best of luck and health, with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As ever, your son,

~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, IA, Dec. 1944 ~contributed by Errin Wilker


19 From Crew of Old Chicago Sign With New Cruiser

Chicago Tribune, March 29: At Sea Aboard the New U.S. Cruiser Chicago (Delayed) — When Capt. Richard R. Hartung was assigned the command of this cruiser he announced that he wanted a fighting ship and a fighting crew. He has both. One look at the Chicago’s powerful guns, at her slim lines that virtually show her potential speed, and you know that here’s a fighting ship second to none for her class. One look at her crew and you know equally well that here’s a tough, rough, and ready group of men that will match up with any other fighting men, anywhere at any time. At least 60 per cent of them are battle seasoned. Name any naval engagement, and you will find a veteran. Most of them saw service in the Pacific fighting, but some took part in both Pacific and Atlantic battles. As a group, they sport all the battle service ribbons the navy offers, and Purple Heart men are plentiful.

One group among them, however, stands out. They are survivors from the old Chicago, which was sunk in combat with Japanese torpedo planes near Guadalcanal Jan. 29-30, 1943. There are 19 of them, every one aching for a chance to get back at Hirohito’s boys. Every one requested transfer to the new Chicago. They voiced two reasons: one, sentiment, and two, vengeance. “The old Chicago was like home to us, and we felt pretty badly when she went down,” explained Orville Somermeyer of New Albin, Iowa, quartermaster, 2nd class. “Besides, we want to get even, and this new Chicago looks like the baby that can help us do it.”

Somermeyer well remembers the two day aerial attack that sank the old Chicago. His story is typical of that of other survivors. The Japs came at dusk—their favorite time—for the first attack, Jan. 29. A destroyer off starboard first sighted them, and sent up strong flak and warning signals. One or two of the Japs dropped red illuminating flares which lighted up the sea and their target with a strange, fearful glow.The Chicago’s guns were blazing by now, but the Japs got through with one torpedo, then another. One damaged enemy plane crashed off port, splashing fuel flames all around, and burning many men, including Seaman Wm. F. Dunn of Cleveland, O., who now is aboard this ship. The Chicago took in water, more than the books said she could hold, and all night all hands, including officers, worked on the bucket brigade to bail her out. For a time the cruiser Louisville towed the damaged warship, but later turned the job over to the Navajo, a seagoing tug.

At 4:15 p.m. the next day the Japs attacked again. The tug cut loose and the stricken Chicago stood still in the water, “a dead duck for the Japs to shoot at.”

And the Japs did but the Chicago's men fought back and downed several enemy planes. Without maneuverability and actually without motion, the Chicago was doomed. Four torpedoes struck. Nineteen minutes later the Chicago rolled over and settled gently beneath the surface. Sixty-two officers and men of a company of 1,100 perished.

That’s the ship and those are the men that the Chicago veterans aboard this new Chicago hope to avenge. It’s just natural, said D.E. Smith of Newton, Ia., a gunner’s mate 1st class.

Storekeeper 2-c Orville Somermeyer of New Albin, who is serving with the U.S. Navy aboard the new heavy cruiser USS Chicago, recently met WLS News Editor and War Correspondent Julian Bentley, on board the Chicago for its major trial run. Bentley made a recording of their meeting and interview, and rushed it to WLS for broadcast. It has been scheduled for broadcast on Friday, April 6, between 6:00 and 6:15 p.m. on WLS, 890 on the radio dial.

~undated clipping ca1945, contributed by Errin Wilker
~note: the contract for the new U.S. Cruiser Chicago (CA136) was let to the Fore Rover plant, Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass. in April 1943, and commissioned in 1945 (source: Wikipedia)
~a photo of the Somermeyer brothers, Orville & Robert was with this article & has been placed with their entries on the WWII Honor Roll


Soldier on Leave

Corporal Lyle Schroeder of the U. S. Marine Corps arrived here Friday to spend a thirty-day leave in the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ed F. Schroeder. He had arrived at San Diego, Calif., Marine Base the week before and telephoned his parents to be on the look out for his arrival here. Lyle enlisted in the Marine Corps' "Avengers of Wake Island" group when that unit was formed several years ago.

~Postville Herald clipping dated May 2, 1945
~transcribed by Mary Durr


Allamakee War Dead

According to figures released this week Allamakee County has lost 34 men in the world struggle to date. Men who called Postville their home and who have given their lives in this war include the following: Henry Barnholtz, returned flyer from Italy, killed in railroad wreck while enroute back to camp after furlough; Charles Bloxham, army, killed in action in New Guinea; Roland Erickson, navy, killed aboard the battleship California in Lingayen Bay, Philippine Islands; Wayne Green, air corps, killed in England; Howard Humphrey, air corps, killed in flight over Germany; Russell Johnson, army, killed in action in New Guinea; Carleton Kenney, navy, killed in sinking of his ship in the Atlantic area; Robert Kneeland, navy air corps, killed in action at Biak Island in southwest Pacific; Donald Koth, army, killed in action in Italy; Donald Lawson, army, killed in action in New Guinea; Andrew Oelberg, army, killed in action in Italy; Lyle Poesch, navy died in hospital in Illinois.

~newspaper clipping, hand-dated 1945, from the scrapbook of Nina Swenson
~transcribed by S. Ferrall

The total list of Allamakee county's known World War II dead as of February 15, is 37, according to information received from the war records division of the Iowa Department of History and Archives, Des Moines. The casualty list for all of Iowa is 7,268. Seventy-one names have been added since January 1, most of them being men previously reported as missing in action, with accidental death accounting for the rest.

~newspaper clipping, hand-dated 1945 transcribed by M. Durr, from her mother's collection.


Military News

Stewart Mate 2/c Harry Wheat called home folks, Dr. & Mrs. R.H. Wheat Tuesday morning of this week to inform his parents that he was ready to embark for the Pacific within a short while. Harry, with Boyd Woodmansee, son of Mrs. Fody Woodmansee, will leave together on the Eli Whitney Liberty Ship.

In a recent letter recieved by Miss Bernadine Larkin of Waterville from her brother, Cpl. Michael L. Larkin, Ser. Co. 327, Engr Bn., sent from Germany, dated April 23, 1945, he writes as follows:
Dear Bernadette: Your letter of April 10th arrived yesterday. Glad to know that everyone is well. I am well also and am taking life kind of easy now. There isn't much work to be done as there was a month or two ago, but my name still appears on the Guard Roster as much as ever. I sent a box home today containing a couple of rigles and some bayonets and swords. Also a pair of German boots. I hope the box gets home O.K. It sure has a long way to travel. I would like to pick up a shot gun, so I would have one when i get home. You have probably read in the papers about the slave workers that were burned to death near Gard Delagen. I saw it when some of the bodies were still smoking. It is unbelievable until you actually see it, and then almost too horrible to look at. I guess the Germans GS and the Luftwaffe troops are being held responsible for the atrocity. Two Americans were among the 1,100 that were cremated. Well, I guess this will be all for tonight, so good-bye until the next time.
Love, Mike

Following are excerpts from a letter received by Mrs. Dale Goltz from her brother, Pfc. W. C. Campbell, stationed somewhere in Germany, written on the 5th of May:
Hello Sis, well, I finally received some mail from you, it had been over three weeks since I heard from you.
You needn't worry about Dale he won't see combat with one eye; anyway he won't be able to write and tell where he is for at least two weeks or maybe more, depends on where he lands. Yes, I have finally received all of my Christmas packages and they were in good shape too. I got the picture Mother sent and Pat and Bud look pretty good in uniform. Iused to be with the 4th Armored Division, and it is one of the best outfits in the Third Army. They were the second division to be awarded the Presidential citation in history and that ain't hay!
I am going to send my combat infantry badge home so I hope you get it all right. Send me some candy and, if you can get it, send me a couple of rolls of some baby Brownie film, I have a small camera but no film.
How is the weather at home? I suppose it is pretty nice by now, at least I hope so.

~Waukon Republican Standard, Wed. May 23, 1945
~transcribed by Jeanie Hegeman



Corporal Gates Williams is now stationed in Innsbruck, Austria, and tells of his interesting experiences in the following letter under date of June 6:

Dear Bill – I have thought of you and the folks back home many,many times since I arrived overseas. I doubt if many of the home town folks have any idea where I have been, and what I have seen. I know I have written very few letters, for which I am not proud. But because of one thing and another, I just didn't do it.
I have seen a lot of country that I wish everyone could have seen, only under different circumstances. Much of it is beautiful, and some that was beautiful has been destroyed beyond repair. Our Division has been the big spear-head for many of the 7th Army drives, and I have seen the towns burning brightly as we passed through them. Those are some of the things that weren't so beautiful.
I could go on for hours about the things I have seen but I would rather tell of one or two things that stand out above the rest. One thing I might mention is the concentration camp which I saw. It was by far the worst thing I have ever seen or dreamed about in my life. I rather doubted some of the stories about them while I was in the States, but I have had to change my mind after seeing some of these things we all heard about. I am enclosing two snapshots taken of some of the bodies there.
(Pictures Gates sent show one body severed in twain, while in the other picture a group of guards watch Germans digging graves in which to bury the victims. Horrible!)
The other outstanding thing was being present at the signing of the surrender papers for all German troops fighting on the French First and U.S. Seventh Army fronts. It was a big night for us! The whole city of Innsbruck lifted the black-out for the first time in years, and I must say it was really something to see a light in a window again, after not seeing any since we entered combat in southern France.
Since we have been here in Innsbruck we are living in swell apartments. They are all the latest modern design and it's just like one you'd find in a big city back home. The only worry we have is what they are going to do with us. So far, we are just sitting around here and doing the same things we did in camps back home. I doubt it if will last much longer though. They seem to be moving things plenty fast from over here. I had almost given up getting the “good old home town paper” but yesterday about ten copies of the Herald caught up with me here. I haven't quite had time enough to read them all, but I will. Since my folks have moved, the Herald is about my only source of news from the home front. Thanks a million for sending it, Bill, and that goes for all the rest who have done their bit. It is really appreciated.
By the way, Bill, I hope you received the box I mailed quite some time ago. It had things taken from a German Q.M several hours after it was captured. As always, GATES.
(Yes, Gates, the box of souvenirs arrived and in the copies of the Herald still to reach you, you'll find our acknowledging receipt of same. Thanks again. We'll be seeing you. Bill)

Private Leo Kruse, son of Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Kruse of near Hardin, writes us as follows from Camp Livingston, Louisiana, under date of June 18:
Dear Bill – Well, here it is my 10th week of training and I haven't written you a letter. I have been receiving the Herald regularly and appreciate it very much. I want to thank you, and all those folks back there who make it possible for all of us boys in service to read the news from home.
I am in my tenth week of training, as I said, and have six more years to go. Then I'll be all set for the Japs or for the army of occupation. This infantry training is tough! When they say you really get worked in the army, they are right! However, the more we get and the harder we work, the sooner this nasty thing will be over. And then all of the boys will be able to come home again. I have had a few weeks training in heavy weapons company and transferred from there into infantry division. So far I have had training or just what is expected of an infantryman, rifle training, automatic rifle, machine gun and mortar. We are being trained to use these weapons in what is called our specialized training cycle.
In four weeks we “brown”, when we get into that, we know that our training here is about over and we are about to ship out. Louisiana is quite some country! Hot and raining most of the time! So far, as long as I've been here, it hasn't rained too awfully much. But now our hot and rainy season begins.
Well, Bill, I hope you and all the folks around Postville are well, and thanks again for the Herald. As ever, sincerely, LEO.

Private Gerald D. Schroeder, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed F. Schroeder, is now stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky and writes to us as follows:
Dear Bill – Time permits me tonight to write you a few lines about Fort Knox and what I am doing here. This week starts my ninth week of training, the first seven of which were spent in infantry training. I didn't like that too much. It consisted of road marches, night problems, the shooting of the MI Rifle, the 30-caliber machine gun, and the U.S. Carbine. We also had a little practice firing the “bazooka”, rifle grenades, and also the hand grenades. The eighth week started out work in D & M (driving and maintenance). Our first week in D & M consisted of driving jeeps and trucks. There is one thing I'd like to get after this war, and that's a jeep. Those little puddle jumpers will go over and through any kind of terrain.
This week we are going to learn to drive the half-truck and light tank. Some of the fellows have driven the light tanks already and eveyone of them says they're really nice riding. They have two Cadillac motors in them. They weigh between 23 and 24 tons and use the hydromatic shift. (And what more could you ask for). Next week we are to drive medium tank, which weighs about 34 tons. This tank I quite a bit different from the light tank, in as much as it is really tough to shift. The shift is practically the same as on a heavy truck. Yes, we are really learning things here! They really throw it at you fast. Some of it goes in one ear and out the other, but most of it “takes” (that is, you hope it does).
As to the weather down here – I can think of better places I'd rather be. Really, though, all kidding aside, the weather down here is the most uncertain I have ever come in contact with. If it isn't hot and dusty, its raining, and if it isn't raining, it's colder than heck. I can advise you that if you ever want a nice summer vacation, don't come to Kentucky, because you'll be disappointed! Enough about the weather.
The food down here is exceptionally good except for the beans we get every Thursday. As I said, the food is good, but we don't get enough of it. We have one man in our Company who can really stow the food away! He's the first person in the mess hall and the last one out. They finally put him in Section VIII.
Well, Bill, I guess I could ramble on all evening telling you of my experiences, but what I really wrote you for was to thank you for the copy of the Postville Herald which faithfully reaches me every Friday afternoon. It seems so good to hear news from the old home town. Again, I thank you and all who make it possible for us to receive the Herald. Love, GERALD.

From Great Lakes, Illinois, where he is now in boot training, comes the following letter from Robert Pearson of this city:
Dear Bill – I presume the folks have given you my address but I had better play safe and send it to you myself. After all, I'm just as anxious to hear all of the home town news as anyone in the service. This is my second week here and we are well under way with our training. They are really shoving us along. We have done a lot of things in our short time here that most companies don't do until around their fifth week. I just hope we can keep moving this fast, so we can quit wearing these boots. They are really a bother.
This Navy life isn't so bad. The chow is plenty good. The only thing I don't like is washing my own clothes and getting up at 5:30. Sundays they are good to us and let us sleep until 6. I was fortunate in being able to see Leon Letchford every day last week. His barracks were very close to mine. It is really great to see a guy from home when you are in a place like this. He went home on last Saturday, so our visits were cut sort of short.
Well, Bill, I had better close for now, and get in a little work before “lights out”. I will appreciate the Herald very much if you will send it here to me. As ever, BOB.

S-Sgt. Charles E. Anderson, whose wife is living with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George C. Sebastian at Postville, Iowa, has been awarded the Certificate of Merit as a recognition of conspicuously meritorious and outstanding performance of military duty, says the Waukon Democrat. The citation, which is for duty in the European theater of war, was signed by Major General W.M. Miley and reads as follows:
During the period 2 January 1945 to 8 May 1945 S-Sgt. Charles E. Anderson assumed command of his platoon in the absence of the platoon leader and platoon sergeant. He led his platoon through the most difficult periods with outstanding success. His excellent performance of duty was in keeping with the proudest traditions of the armed forces. (Signed) W.M. Miley, Major General, U.S. A., commanding.
S-Sgt. Charles E. Anderson is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ole C. Anderson of Waukon, Iowa.

~Postville Herald, ca July 2, 1945
~transcribed by Connie Ellis
~transcriber's notes:
1. 'Our Boys with the Colors' was a weekly column that appeared in the Postville Herald during World War II. William J. Klingbell was the editor of the newspaper and he is the “Bill” that each of the letterwriters wrote to.
2. I believe Gates Williams was the son of Victor and Frances (Gates) Williams and his full name was Frank Gates Williams.


Missing Plane Sighted in Alps, Says RAF Crew

Wives of 3 generals & an 11 year old girl among the passengers. Five passengers were injured seriously as reported by a radio transmission from the plane.

Temperature at crash site was about 20 degrees, bitter weather & fresh snowstorm where the transport went down were imperiling the survivors

Pilot Capt. Ralph H. Tate, JR
Crew members aboard: 2nd Lt Irving Matthews, Richmond, Va., co-pilot; Sgt. Souis Hill, Portales, N.M. and Staff Sgt. Wayne G. Folsom, Postville, Ia.
All were stationed at Tullin Field, Austria.
Passengers: Brig. Gen. Loyal Haynes; Mrs. Haynes; Col. William C. McMahon, recent chief of staff in Austria; Mrs. McMahon and their 11 year old daughter Alice Mary; Mrs. Ralph H. Tate, wife of Brig. Gen Ralph H. Tate; and Mrs. Alberta Snavely, wife of Brig. Gen. Ralph Snavely, head of the American Air Force in Austria.
Plane was on "administrative" flight from Vienna to Italy, via Munich and Istres Field at Marseille.

~Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, ILL; November 20, 1946
~lengthly article was abstracted by S. Ferrall


Our Men Who Fought on Foreign Shores Are Returning Home

Corporal Vernon (Ted) Seybert arrived home Sunday after being discharged from the army at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., last week. Ted served in Africa and Italy with an Engineers unit that built airstrips for our planes. He told an amusing story of how after many days without fresh meat while in North Africa a group of his buddies went out and brought in a bullock weighing 800 pounds. The Arab owing the animal followed them into camp and insisted on getting his property back. The Yankee lads, seeing their juicy steaks slipping away, told him they had bought the animal for $40, so the Arab gave them that amount and carted his bullock away with him. Later the boys discovered half of the money was counterfeit. "You can't beat an Arab." Ted says.

Pvt. Harold Christofferson, who saw considerable service in France and Germany with the Army, arrived home last Thursday, his wife going to Prairie du Chien, Wis., to bring him home.

Sgt. Howard Bulman arrived at an eastern port of debarkation last week end after serving overseas. He is one of the first local men to be inducted and saw service on the Alaska highway with an engineer unit before going to Europe. A son of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Bulman, he is expected home this week.

Sergeant Winfield Masonhall expected to leave Europe for home Monday, according to word received here by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L.J. Masonhall. "Windy" has been serving with an engineers' treadway bridge company in the Army since going overseas two years ago.

Another Postville boy now stationed in Europe who expects to be headed for home soon is Sergeant Leslie Poesch, who writes his parents, Mr. and Ms. Ed Poesch, to look for him about November 1. He recently spent several days sightseeing in Switzerland and says the only thing that would induce him to remain overseas now would be opportunity to spend two weeks more in the Alps of Switzerland.

Corporal Roland (Tiny) Madorin arrived here last week from the European war theater where he had been serving with the 348th Engineers Battalion. Tiny was hospitalized for some time with a fractured leg while in Belgium. He has a 30-day furlough before he has to report back for assignment to duty, presumably in this country, since he has enough accumulated points to keep him from going to the Pacific theater.

Among the men from this community to be given discharges from the army recently were Cpl. DuWayne Bulman and Cpl. Harlan Wegner, both overseas veterans of the 34th Division. DuWayne spent three years as a prisoner of the Germans after being captured in North Africa, while Harlan, who was taken ill when the division left England for the African invasion, was left in the British Isles and later got to the European continent after the Normandy invasion. He is now living in Cedar Rapids. DuWayne has been in veterans' hospitals at Clinton, Iowa, and Wood, Wis., since being returned to this country.

~Postville Herald, Wednesday, September 19, 1945
~transcribed by S. Ferrall

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