Adams, Amos Lloyd Jones, Dale
Baughman, Jack L. Jones, Harry Eugene
Beeman, Melvin (Jack) Jones, James
Bettis, Norman Jones, Mickey
Booth, Elmer Maurice Kent, Enoch
Booth, Lloyd Long, Noel
Booth, Samuel Rex Maffett, Ronald R. 
Burchett, Dale Mahoney, see Havard 
Carter, Allen Morgan, Hoyle 
Cheeney, Charles McCutchan, Robert G. 
Coon, George McNeal, Harold 
Coon, Johnny McNeal, Milan (Myron??)
Davis, Chester McNeal, Robert 
Deets, Asa McNeal, Roland Everett 
Garrison, Lemuel Nelson, Wash 
German, Bill O'Neall, Dale 
German, Bob O'Neal, Dean 
Griggs, Charles H. O'Neall, John Thomas 
Hale, William A. O'Neall, Robert Lyle 
Havard, Alvin Peterson, David 
Havard, Joe Reasoner, Don 
Homewood, George Reasoner, Earl 
Horton, George Reasoner, John W. 
Hutcheson, Dean Sherman Reasoner, Keith 
James, John (Jack) Reasoner, Lyle Dale 
James, Gerald (Red) Alfred Reasoner, Olin 
James, Martin Reasoner, Robert (Bob) 
James, Paul T. Simmerman, Donovan
James, William Simmerman, Merrill 
Jennings, Darrell Siple, Lewis
Jennings, Richard Smith, Marvin 
Johnson, C. Duane Smith, Paul
Johnson, Donald Sutton, Alonzo 
Johnson, Eugene Wilkie, Howard 
Yetts, T.F,

Hopeville veterans who were killed or died in service, as researched by Mrs. Dale (Dorothy) Jones and Mrs. Ivyl (Lou) Miller:

Civil War

Carter, Pvt. Allen; born 1841 Virginia. Enlisted August 2, 1861. Taken prisoner at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 9, 1862. Returned to company, August 6, 1862. Died July 14, 1865 at Little Rock, Arkansas. Buried National Cemetery, Little Rock, Sec. 1, grave 803. tCo. I, 4th Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

Cheeny, Charles J; born 1842 Ohio. Enlisted July 1, 1861. Killed in action April 6, 1862 at Shiloh, Tennessee. Co. B, 6th Iowa Infantry.

Coon, 4th Cpl. George, born 1843 Indiana. Parents Josiah and Rebecca Reasoner Coon. Enlisted October 13, 1863. Promoted four times. Died November 27, 1865 at Washington, Arkansas of disease. His brother William also died in Civil War. Co. H. 9th Cavalry.

Garrison, Lemuel E., born 1842 Ohio. Enlisted July 14, 1862 as 3rd Cpl. Died November 1, 1864, killed by guerillas at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Co. B, 18th Iowa Infantry.

Griggs, Charles H., born 1840 Ohio. Enlisted July 1, 1861. Killed in action July 18, 1861, Jackson, Mississippi. Co. B 6th Iowa Infantry.

Hale, William A., born 1845, Indiana. Enlisted August 11, 1863. Died of disease at St. Louis, Missouri, February 8, 1964, Buried National Cemetery Jefferson Barracks, Missouri Sec. 6 grave 211. Co. H 9th Cavalry.

Homewood, George, born 1837, Ohio. Enlisted February 15, 1862. Died of measles March 12, 1862 at Keokuk. Co. I 15th Iowa Infantry.

Kent, Enoch, born 1842. Parents Kensel and Sarah Chase Kent. Enlisted February 13, 1862. Died June 5, 1862 of chronic diarrhea at St. Louis, Missouri. Buried National Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Section 51 grave 96.

McCutchan, Robert G., born 1845 Indiana. Parents Samuel F. and Elizabeth Davis McCutchan. Enlisted August 10, 1863. Died of disease at St. Louis, Missouri February 5, 1864. Buried National Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks Sec. 7, grave 214. Co. H, 9th Cavalry.

Nelson, Wash. No other information other than his residence was Hopeville.

Reasoner, John W., born 1840 Indiana, enlisted July 30, 1862. Died of disease at Helena, Arkansas, February 14, 1863. Buried Mississippi River National Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. Sec. 3 grave 692. Co. H 29th Iowa Infantry.

Siple, Lewis H. Born 1834, enlisted July 28, 1862. Died of disease at Sedalia, Missouri, September 11, 1862. Buried National Cemetery, Jefferson City, Missouri. Sec. 5, grave 2. Co. B 18th Iowa Infantry.

Sutton, Alonzo, born 1832 New York. Enlisted July 24, 1862. Died at Springfield, Missouri, February 18, 1863 Buried National Cemetery, Springfield. Sec. 9 grave 11. Co. B 18th Iowa Infantry.

World War I

Deets, Asa. Born 1893 in Hopeville; Parents Aaron and Oretta Minier Deets. Died 1918 Camp Pike, Arkansas. Buried Hopeville Cemetery, Row 14, stone 23. Headquarters Co. 162 D.B.


Pictures from 1918

Adams, Amos Loyd, a son of James Riley Adams and Rose Dukes Adams, was born November 28, 1894, died November 1, 1964, and is buried in the Maple Hill Cemetery of Osceola, Iowa. He married Lila Bagley and they became parents of three daughters: Darlene Brooks, Evelyn Booth, and Carolyn Shields. Loyd was proud to have served his country as a cook in the US Army during WWI. He was at Camp Cody, New Mexico and was sent overseas with the Rainbow Division in France.

He always remembered the poem, "In Flanders Field the poppies grow Among the crosses row by row..." where the men served, lost their lives, and were buried. He recited that poem every Decoration Day as we were on our way to the cemeteries to decorate the graves here in Clarke County. (Information given by his daughter, Evelyn Adams Booth.)


Jack was inducted into the Navy on August 5, 1952. He served aboard the APD 124 Horace A. Bass during the Korean conflict. He was discharged on August 26, 1955.


Jack was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Beeman, and served as a U.S. Army Paratrooper. He is now deceased.


Norman was the son of Troy and Etta Belle Bettis. He was killed in service.


Elmer's parents were Cloyd and Bertrice Booth. His uncles were Sam and Pearl Booth; his wife, Marie Booth. Elmer was born November 24, 1919, in Thayer, Iowa. Entered service January 20, 1943, and served in the 165th Infantry, a New York National Guard Regiment known as "the Fighting 69th a part of the Rainbow Division. He was killed in action June 22, 1944 on the island of Saipan.




Picture from 1942 & '43


I, Lloyd (Johnnie) Booth, was born in Clarke County at Hopeville, Iowa January 17, 1916, son of Sam Booth (the Hopeville barber) and Ruth Katzenbarger Booth. I left by train for the U.S. Army on June 11, 1942 from Osceola, Iowa; with many other young men from the county. I received my Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I became used to my "flat top" haircut and grew to like it.

From Kansas I was transferred to Camp Grant, Illinois. While there, my folks, cousin Fred Booth and his wife, Mary, and my special girlfriend, Evelyn Adams, all came to visit me.

We enjoyed looking at the country around Camp Grant. While I was at this camp, we did lots of drilling and went for numerous several mile hikes. I could handle the hikes pretty well. I was accustomed to running my trap line and following my hunting dogs, which proved to be training for all the walking we did in the service.

From Camp Grant, I was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. I was seeing lots of country I hadn't seen before.

Our next transfer was to Camp Forrest, Tennessee, and from there we were sent overseas. Our ship landed in England, and we went from there to Scotland, Ireland, and France. During our tour of duty, we were also in Germany.

I had become a cook with the Third Army, 647th Medical Clearing Company, attached to the 35th Medical Evacuation Center. We set up our field kitchens and hospital where there weren't any, and they were needed. Since I was with the Medical Hospital, we walked "guard without guns." I wasn't qualified to give medical care but I worked as a "water purifier." We discovered we could get water from any pond or stream and make it safe to drink.

I will never forget when we were sent to a Concentration Camp that had been freed! There was a stack of bodies. Among the survivors, many men were skin and bones. We had to be very careful with the food and the amount we gave them. They needed much special care. I have memories of men coming to the hospital who had been at Omaha Beach, Normandy, and the Battle of the Bulge. General George S. Patton was with the Third Army. I saw him many times. He was a very tough General but I feel he helped us through some very hard battles.

One of our field kitchens was set up near a village where we saved our used coffee grounds for the nuns. They were glad to get them, and dried them for their use. We also hired them to do our laundry and they would mend any hole in our clothes before they returned them.

Several of us discovered our helmets made great "popcorn poppers." I felt like I was back in Hopeville for a few minutes when I was in France and ran across a cow. I milked her there in the pasture.

After the war ended, we left France from Lucky Strike Port to come back to the States. The ship was loaded with troops all anxious to touch U.S. soil! I was discharged from Camp Kilmore, New York on November 16, 1945. I made lots of good, close friends while I was in the United States Army, but it was great to get back to Hopeville!


Rex was the son of Ruth and Sam Booth. He went into the service in 1942, and served in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific. He was discharged November 17, 1945. He is now deceased.


was the son of Elmer and Viola Burchett. He served in the U.S. Army, and is now deceased.


Johnny was the son of Myron and Blanche Grimm Coon, who lived in Doyle Township. Johnny was in the U.S. Navy, and in 1943, lost his life at sea in the Pacific. His memorial is in the National Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaii.

(as told by Kathryn)

I had three brothers in the service: William Edward Mahoney enlisted in the Navy in 1943, In 1945 we received word that he was killed on June 7. He was on the Aircraft Carrier USS Randolph in the South Pacific. It was a sad time for our family. We missed him very much. There were also Jerry and Larry. They served after WWII.

In those years, the war interrupted everyone's lives, dominated everyone's thoughts, and influenced most of our decisions. There were times when it seemed to be ending, other times when we thought it would never end. During the summer of my teaching fourth and fifth grade Social Studies in Dike, Iowa, several other teachers and I went to Chicago, where we worked for the government filing war bonds. I returned to Iowa and taught a rural school near Indianola in order to be nearer Alvin's home.

Alvin and I were engaged when he was drafted into the Army in May, 1942. His letters helped sustain me through it all. I received one almost every day. These letters helped me understand how he was being introduced to military life. His unit was sent first to St. Louis which Alvin called one of the hottest places he had ever been. At daylight they had to get up and "run up and down the hills and then head out for mess call." The hospital quickly began filling and Alvin was among those being treated during the month they were there. When a rumor began circulating that the unit was going to be moved out, he was determined that he was going to move with them!

They went by train to Ohio, stopping first in Burlington, Iowa, where a box of apples was purchased. That became their dinner and supper. When they arrived they quickly set up a supply base and learned their designation as the 21st Air Depot Group.

On Thanksgiving Day 1942, Alvin crossed the Atlantic on rough seas to England to serve in the Ground Air Force. He was there 3 1/2 years. He did not appreciate the climate — they had few clear days, but he was too engrossed in his work to think much about it. He became the chief storekeeper for commercial hardware in the largest supply depot in England. It wasn't long before he had 50 men working under him, with day shifts as well as two shifts at night. He became very knowledgeable about the operation and in time was transferred to France to set up a similar depot. The war ended during that time and he was given an opportunity to reenlist. He chose not to do so but spent a short time in Germany on his way back to Iowa. It was on another Thanksgiving Day that Alvin was crossing the Atlantic again, on his way home!

Our son, Joseph Michael Havard was born in 1948. He married Kathy McDaniel on July 13, 1968 and they had six children — Conway, Niles, Troy B., Tonia, Phillip, and Rebecca.

Joe entered military service February 6, 1969 the National Guard and was in the armed forces for 10 years in the continental states, Hawaii, Korea, and Germany. While he was in Hawaii, Kathy and Conway joined him; and when he went overseas, Conway, Niles, Troy, and Kathy went also. They had the opportunity to see lots of sights in Europe. Phillip was born in Lanstul, Germany, in 1976; and after they came back to Lawton, Oklahoma, Rebecca was born — September 10, 1978. Joe was discharged February 10, 1979.


son of John and Iva Brooks Horton, of Doyle Township. He was born December 8, 1921, in Murray. George entered the service of the U.S. Army on January 10, 1941, one of the first men to volunteer his service after the draft law became operative. He was in the 2nd Armored Division, Forward Observer in the Field Artillery. He was killed in service at St. Lo, France July 20, 1944.


was born in Clarke County, Iowa on January 4, 1925, son of John D. and Lillie B. Hutcheson. Dean was inducted into the Navy during World War II on October 15, 1943, and served aboard the destroyer the U.S.S. Charles J. Badger in the Asiatic-Pacific area, the American area, and at the Philippine Liberation. He was honorably discharged at the U.S. Navy Personnel Center at San Pedro, California as a Gunner's Mate 3rd Class on March 18, 1946. Dean passed away October 1, 1996, and is buried in the Murray Cemetery.


Three sons of Phil and Hattie James (Phillip, Richard and John) were mentioned but information was available only for John (Jack). Don Reasoner told: My brother-in-law, sister Avis' husband, John James, went into military service in 1943 and was discharged in 1947. He served in the Philippines where he contracted malaria. That is a disease you don't recover from. I've been with him when he had an attack at which time his fever went very high, he shook, and it was terrible to see. He was in the hospital awhile, was in Tokyo, and was in the Yokohama area when they signed the peace treaty. I think he spent time in Japan and was slated to be in the attack of Japan that didn't happen. On his way back they experienced a typhoon. It was terrible! So many of the men were sick and the ship lost its communication. It was thought for awhile the ship had gone down. Jack is deceased, buried at Gregg Cemetery.

The father of the boys, Gerald C. James served in WWI.


"Red" was born May 21, 1929, in Hopeville, Iowa, and was drafted Nov. 9, 1950, along with John Fisher, Kenneth Page, "Butch" Mason, Charles Little, Harold Jones, and Darrell Jennings. (The first four are deceased. Harold Jones "may be around New Virginia, and Darrell Jennings may be around Lineville, Iowa").

Red's basic training was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, from where he departed to Camp Stoneman, California, on April 2, 1951, for overseas deployment. He went aboard the General George Randall troopship, and was processed through Camp Drake, Japan. He was assigned to General Headquarters, Far East Command and worked in a clearing house for Military Pay and Service Records at Camp Drake. Red departed from Japan October 5, 1952, and was discharged at Camp Carson, Colorado, on October 15, 1952 at which time he returned to Hopeville, Iowa.



Martin was the youngest son, born June 18, 1936. "1 enlisted for a two year tour of duty in the Army in May, 1956. After eight weeks basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, I had 15 weeks training in radio operation and maintenance at Fort Monrnouth, New Jersey. My primary service was at a small compound in the Han River Valley near Seoul, Korea with Headquarters Company of the 3046 Signal Battalion. After 15 months in Korea I was discharged in Oakland, California in March, 1958, then returned to Hopeville, Iowa. While overseas, I had brief visits with Donald Gonseth and Max McCleary in Korea, and I visited Donald Johnson in Japan while on R and R. Current address: Marty James, 3949 Hopewell Rd., Wentzville, Missouri, 63385.


Paul T. was born January 10, 1926, and inducted into the Army in October, 1944. He took basic training at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas. Left the States in March 1945, was assigned to the 43rd Infantry Division in Luzon Island in the Philippines. He went to Japan after the war ended and was assigned to AG section of the 8th Army Headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. He returned to the States, was discharged in November, 1946, and returned home to Hopeville. Current address: Paul T. James, 2448 130th Avenue, Murray, Iowa 50174.


AF17347989, Korean Conflict. William enlisted in the United States Air Force on December 29 1951, from Hopeville, Iowa. My basic training was at Sampson Air Base at Geneva, New York. At the time of enlistment, I thought all Air Force personnel took training at Lackland AFB in Texas. With winter coming on I thought it would be nice and warm in January/ February. MY FIRST BIG SURPRISE — New York was much colder than Iowa.

After eight weeks of training, I was assigned to Air Police School at Camp Gordon, Georgia {Augusta Army Base). After completion of Military Police School, I remained as permanent party at the school. In January, 1953, the Air Police School relocated to Parks Air Force Base in Pleasanton, California. I spent the rest of my four year enlistment at Parks during which time the base was

converted to a basic training camp, plus also being used for overseas shipment of personnel. Several other local service men passed through this base enroute overseas: Johnny Reasoner, Donald Glazebrook, and Robert Fisher to name a few. Donald Johnson and I enlisted at the same time from Hopeville. He eventually made a career of the Air Force. After I was discharged December 29, 1955, I returned to Hopeville, Iowa.



Darrell was born November 3, 1928 at Hopeville, Iowa, and attended the Hopeville School. He was registered with Selective Service 420, Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa and was inducted November 9, 1950 in Des Moines, Iowa. He served one year, nine months — 11 months overseas with the 7th Army Division. He received his honorable discharge August 8, 1952 from Camp Roberts, California. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Korean SUV medal, W3 Bronze SUV stars, and UN SUV medal. He presently lives Lineville, Iowa, with his wife, Pat.


Richard was born June 20, 1926. He was educated in the Murray schools. He served his country in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1952 during the World War H and Korean War. Richard passed away March 13, 2006, in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. He was laid to rest in the Greenlawn Cemetery with military rites by the John B. Parks Post #8882 at Afton, Iowa.



was born December 11, 1925. He went to school at Hopeville, and graduated from Murray High School in May, 1944. He was drafted into the U.S. Army July 17, 1944, and took 17 weeks of basic training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas. From there he was sent to Fort Sheridan, Illinois and on to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. He left for overseas on the Queen Mary on January 1, 1945. The ship landed in Glasgow, Scotland, January 7, 1945, and Duane was sent on to Luxemburg, where he was in combat with the 90th Infantry. His feet were frozen and he was hospitalized for seven weeks in Le Mans, France. When he was released, he was sent to Wiesbaden, Germany as clerk/typist for Special Services, then to Antwerp, Belgium as clerk/typist recruiter for the Regular Army. He came back to the states in December 1946, and was discharged at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, December 31, 1946.


Gerald Eugene ran the Hopeville store in the '40s. He was inducted into the Navy in October 20,1951, His basic training was at San Diego Training Base. Gerald went abroad on the USS Blue 744, a destroyer, in 1952. He served in the Pacific during the Korean conflict. Gerald was discharged on Oct. 17, 1955, directly from the Blue, Machinist 3rd Class.


attended Hopeville school and graduated from Murray High School. He volunteered for military service December 29, 1951 to serve his country in the United States Air Force. He served during both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. He had an honorable and distinguished career for 30 years, nine months and two days of active duty with the U.S. Air Force, serving in many capacities: Law Enforcement Supervisor of Police and Security Duty at an Atomic Energy Commission, Armed Forces Courier Service transporting cryptographic and related material to numerous military and civilian agencies throughout 13 states and foreign countries, and as Legal Superintendent in the Judge Advocate General Corps and Air Intelligence Agency. His duties included supervising other legal offices stateside and overseas. All positions required a high level top secret security clearance with extensive background investigation. Johnson's military career took him to many stateside and foreign countries. For his outstanding service, he was awarded numerous declarations, commendations and awards. Donald Johnson retired with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant on 30 September, 1982. After his retirement, Donald and his wife, Betty, moved to and reside in San Antonio, Texas.


In September 1937, I enrolled in the school of Civil Engineering at Kansas State, Manhattan, Kansas, in a special course, Civilian Pilot Training, paid for by the Federal Government. Upon successful completion, it would give me a private pilot's license. In the program, there were ground school courses and I learned to fly the Piper J-3 airplane. The latter provided a few hours in the cockpit of this small plane, which intensified my interest in flying. In early November, we were informed that a group of Air Corps Officers, including a Flight Surgeon, would come to our campus to recruit trainees for the pilot training (Flying Cadet) program. Those of us with two years of college credit, who passed the physical and the Board of Officers' tests, were told we could finish the semester before being called for enlistment. Thus, in a matter of weeks, my status changed from college student to one of learning to fly military aircraft! What a change!

While, I don't want to gloss too lightly over the years as a college student, the interest that I gained from this experience would guide my next venture in life. In the first two years, I endured R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) then opted for the advanced phase in my junior year. I didn't refrain from the silly and sometimes stupid conduct college students were prone to fall into ­netting goldfish from one of the college fish pools, putting them in a bathtub in the rooming house, where we drew lots to see who swallowed one alive, with the losers drawing the larger ones. hitchhiked 90 miles to Uncle Frank's home many times, returning to Manhattan the same way.

The pilot training program, at Kelly Air Force Base, had a high "washout" (elimination) built into its operation. Only about 40% of those entering were going to be around for the finish. The pressure from knowing this, plus the constant hazing from the upperclass made it a pure pressure cooker type of existence. They apparently wanted to know how we held up under such conditions. In the next nine months we went through the three (primary, basic, and advanced) phases of pilot training, including graduating to larger planes, and we were able to do the full gamut of aerobatics, the close formation flying, night and instrument flying, and about anything the aircraft was capable of. On completion, we were awarded the silver wings of an airplane pilot, and a reserve commission in the Air Corps, later called Air Force Reserve.

On the evening of September 4, 1940, I was alone. My three tent-mates were scheduled to fly. I strolled across to the flight hangar about 10:00 p.m. and met Lt. Young, my flight instructor asked if he might have a plane I could take to make the triangular cross-country flight on schedule for the night. He said, "Yes, I have one. It's a B.C.1A." I prepared my maps and took off about 10:30. The flight was to go southeast to Yoakum, then northwest to a town north of Austin, just short of Waco, then returning to Kelly with no landings between, in an elapsed time of one hour and 45 minutes. Navigation was by the lights of the many towns along the way, as well as the revolving beacon lights that were spaced along the civil airways about 40 miles apart. (Civil airways are like highways in the sky, but less well-defined.) It was required that we fly on the right side of these, at prescribed altitudes, according to the direction, thus separating planes to avoid the danger of collisions.

This particular flight was uneventful to Yoakum, where I changed headings for the next leg. It was one of the nights we experienced quite frequently, when the haze from the Gulf caused visibility to be reduced considerably, which in turn reduced the visible horizon to a less than clearly defined one. To maintain our bearings in instrument or poor night visibility, we had to maintain the horizon or go to the artificial horizon on the instrument panel. At that time, I guess no one had fixed this point fully in my head.

As I approached the airway between San Marcos and Austin, I had to lose altitude to reach my designated flight plan. In so doing, I did one of Lt. Spicer's peel-offs, which had been a thrill on a clear night at Randolph. But when the 2500 feet was lost, and I tried to recover from the dive, I had inadvertently gotten into the "death spiral," which is somewhat similar to a tailspin. The normal reaction — to pull back on the elevator control — only tightens the spiral, and the plane continues to dive. By the time I realized I was not going to stop the dive, the altimeter was showing 1500 feet and dropping rapidly.

A few seconds before the plane and I would have dived into the terra firma, I pulled open the canopy, unfastened the safety belt, and went over the side of the plane. My parachute opened — I still had the "D" ring in my hand when I hit the ground — and after just a few swings, my feet hit the top of a mesquite tree. I remembered to relax, as we had been instructed, and with a bang I landed with my knees hitting my chin. I still have a scar on my left knee from where it struck a rock. I had lost my head cover on the way down, but still had my shoes, which often go when the parachute opens, and I was wearing my flying coveralls.

Even though the night was quite dark, while I was hanging in the parachute I had been able to make out a road. I wadded up the parachute canopy, tucked it under my arm, and headed in the direction of the road. I reached it, started walking, and in about a quarter of a mile, I came to a farmhouse. The farmer offered to drive me to the next small town, which I think was Kyle, so he, a couple of his kids, and I loaded into a 1935 Chevy and in a few minutes arrived at the village "hotel," which was not a high rise building. It was about midnight when I arrived. I had no money, but the innkeeper accepted my crash bracelet as security for a room. I called Kelly Field Operations and reported my location to the surprised person on duty. He said they would come get me the next day. I don't know which of the people was the most awe-stricken — the farmer, his kids, or the hotel keeper. They all seemed to regard me as someone from Mars.

The next morning, a Lieutenant from the field picked me up and we drove to the burned wreckage of the ill-fated plane. Had I not gone over the side, my remains would have been part of the burned wreckage. The following days, I was in limbo as to my future as a Flying Cadet. First, I was called to the Aircraft Accident Board, then to the Flight Surgeon for assessment regarding my future as a pilot trainee. About the fifth day, my name appeared on the flight schedule for a cross-country to Lubbock, Texas. As I walked to the plane, I was met by Major Davies, Director of Flying for the advanced training here at Kelly. This was to be a check of my ability. Apparently, he was satisfied with the ride and my name went back on the regular schedule of flying. With three weeks left until graduation, I was back on the flight line. Thank the Lord, I didn't have to pay for the plane I bailed out of!


In October 1940, I graduated from the Advanced Pilot Flying School at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Reserve, with a rating of Airplane Pilot. During my pilot training at Tulsa, while I had the controls, the flight instructor frequently would loudly command, "Forced landing!" It was an integral part of the training of pilots at that time, and the rationale was that in case of power failure or another sudden emergency, the situation would have been addressed and rehearsed ahead of time. It would prevent panic and the problem would be handled in a cool and calculated manner.

The first few times this simulation happened was quite upsetting, and my reaction was not always pleasing to the instructor. The desired reaction was for the student to set the

glide path, search for a suitable landing field, and plan a landing approach into the wind. That was always the case because these planes were difficult to land down-wind. However, it wasn't always easy to determine the wind direction. We knew the direction when we had taken off, but after a few changes in direction, this was no longer an easy decision. Sometimes smoke from a fire on the ground, or ripples on water would be a clue, but I recall none of the above was available when we students needed it.

Quite often the simulated forced landing was attempted other than into the wind direction, which would be followed by a loud reminder from the instructor that had it been for real, he and I would be involved in a crash, likely not surviving. It was a stern reminder of the seriousness of the exercise. Did I ever encounter this type of emergency? Yes — not in this type of plane, but I did have a few emergency landings. Evidence that I didn't totally flunk the real test when the chips were down, are:

On January 3, 1942, I was a member of flight 7 0-49, taking off from Duncan Field, Texas, on the first leg of a flight to the Panama Canal Zone. Brownsville, Texas was the next stop. Shortly after take-off and assembly into a loose formation of the seven planes, I noticed that the engine on my plane had developed a roughness and severe loss of power. It was running well when I arrived at Duncan but the maintenance depot had damaged a wing on the plane by closing a hangar door against it. Immediately I started a 180° turn, and called Major Lauth, our flight leader, to inform him that I was attempting to return to Duncan. I barely made it to the grassy part of the field, short of the runway, when the engine died completely. I made a "dead stick" landing some distance short of the runway. There was no damage to the plane, and after some maintenance, I was able to get into the air several hours later, and join the flight to Brownsville.

Another slightly thrilling incident occurred a few months later when I was to tow targets for a Fighter Squadron on a flight out of Howard field. As was quite usual during the rainy season in this sector, heavy cumulus clouds were building. I elected to climb through these to the assembly altitude. Inside these clouds was a heavy downpour of rain and a considerable amountof turbulence. Maybe ten minutes later, the engine began to run rough and lost power, which precluded further climbing. I was able to fly out of the heavy clouds, but by this time, I was unable to maintain altitude. By staying free of the broken clouds, I could limp to an unmanned landing strip and make a landing, but I had little power left. It seemed as though the engine wiring harness, which was supposed to be water tight, had failed. Fortunately, I was no more than 20 or more miles over the ocean, or a similar distance over the tropical jungle of the area. In either location, the situation would have been disastrous for my two crewmen and me.

Not far from this location, another incident happened. Likely, I was again on a mission to tow targets for the P-40 pilots. While cruising along, suddenly a buildup of oil appeared on the windshield. In a short time, it was so covered that I had no forward visibility, and I realized that the oil was coming from the constant speed propeller. The immediate problem was loss of visibility, but it was a serious problem because the oil that operated the control of the propeller was lost. In this case, the propeller would shift to a full high r.p.m. (revolutions per minute) low torque setting. This results in a loss of power as it flattens its degree of "bite," and runs almost wild in speed rpms, with little thrust.

Fortunately, we were near a fighter base near Madden Lake, which is a man-made lake with high enough elevation to feed the locks on the Pacific side of the canal. With the sliding canopy open I could see out at an angle on the left side, and I made the landing. The only problem was that we rolled off the edge of the runway as we came to a stop. There were no adverse effects. It seems that the maintenance done on the planes in the outdoor jungle atmosphere was short of the care we experienced in the pre-war hangar-based maintenance.

On February 22, 1945, there was another near crisis when on the takeoff run in a B-25, the right engine lost all power about the time for normal rotation (lift off). This was Marshall Field, which lay along the Kansas River with a row of hills rising 250 feet above the field level at the extension of runway 18, which we were using. After clearing these hills we had lost enough air speed to approach the "single engine operating speed" for this aircraft. At this time, it became difficult to keep the plane from rolling into the dead engine, with the co-pilot and myself both applying our full strength on the right rudder, We "bellied" onto a snowy wheat field west of Junction City, and skidded for nearly 1/2 mile, with no injuries to the crew. There was extensive damage to the bottom of the plane as well as bent props, and sudden stoppage of the engines. This occurs any time a propeller touches the ground.

What gave me a few minutes of real apprehension on another flight over the Panamanian jungle was in the normal routine of checking the engine instruments. I detected that the engine oil pressure gauge was slowly falling back toward zero in my 0-47A. No internal combustion engine runs any length of time without oil pressure. Fortunately, the problem was a faulty gauge, and I landed at a nearby fighter base to have it checked.

The situation in October 1940, was my graduation and commissioning as 2nd Lieutenant in the Reserve. I remained on active duty, and then came the sneak attack by the Japanese on the bases at Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II on December 7, 1941. There were crippling damages to our Naval fleet with extreme loss both in weapons and the morale of our country. We were sent immediately to the Panama Canal Zone, which was our link for shipping between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Without its availability, the route was around the tip of South America, adding a distance of an extra 7,000 miles. I was sent to the Panama Canal Zone, as a member of the 6th Air Force, and flew reconnaissance and submarine patrol over the Caribbean Sea. With the expansion of the Air Force came many promotions and, at the age of 24, I was in command of a flying unit, and a Major in rank.

We established a military operating base at Rio Hato Air Field, and from it the Bomber Command was flying heavy bombers, B-17s and B-24s, doing surveillance over the Pacific Ocean, and from other bases in the canal zone — the Ascension Islands, Lima, Peru, and Guatemala City, Guatemala. My presence at this base in Apri1 1942, was as Commanding Officer of the Tow Target Detachment, operating out of Howard Field in the canal zone. I was checking out some pilots newly assigned to our unit in night flying in Panama. For security reasons, no night training flights were allowed within the canal zone, so two pilots and I had made the 40-minute flight to Rio Hato to use their facility. This base had but one strip running north and south, with the south end ending at the ocean. On the west side were the buildings, tents, and housing for the troops. Along the runway on this side was parking for planes. Along the east side was a more open area, with parking for more aircraft.

When darkness arrived, I started one of the O-47As, and with Lt. Lathrop in the middle seat, I taxied out and made the take-off in the northerly direction. The runway lights were small hooded lamps which would be visible only when one was in the direction of the extension of either end of the runway. Our other source of light was from the landing light in the wing of the plane, which shows the ground as one nears the landing spot. After making a couple landings, I taxied to near the control tower, got out of the plane, and told the Lt. to "shoot" a few landings.

There was no operator in the tower, and I made arrangements with Base Operations to use the tower and the light gun therein, while checking out these pilots. Radio communication from tower to plane was allowed only in an emergency. As the Lt. approached for landing, it seemed he was a little off course. Suddenly I realized he had picked up another series of lights and was about to land into the line of parked B-17s and B-24s. By this time I had the microphone in hand and was almost yelling, "Go around, go around." The Lt.'s wing landing light had illuminated the first B-17 and he gave the engine full power, first striking the ground and bouncing back into the air, then barely clearing the first plane as he struggled to gain and continue flying speed. Fate must have been on his side. I never before or after have seen this size aircraft do this maneuver.

Had this landing been as first attempted, not only Lt. Lathrop would have been a casualty, but many troops in their quarters would have been within danger of the burning bombers. These planes were fully fueled with gasoline for flights the following day. His decision to "bounce" the 8,000 pound plane off the ground was an instant one, and I believe that was the only way he could have cleared the line of bombers. The Lieutenant's next approach was lined with the runway, and the rest of the mission went as planned.

On January 3, 1942, neither Sergeant Vaughn, my crew chief, nor I had any idea of our ultimate destination when we climbed into the 0-49 plane, for the first leg of a flight. It was now just three weeks since the Japanese had made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. had declared war against them and Germany. Our country was in a completely stunned and shaken state of mind. Those of us in the Armed Forces were a little closer to the action.

We did know that we were to proceed to Duncan Field, Texas, which was a maintenance and supply depot. We also knew that the ground echelon of our squadron, which was comprised of all others except the crews of our 0-47s and 0-49s, were to proceed by railroad to the port of embarkation at New Orleans, Louisiana, and we knew that with the short range of these planes, there was no way we could make long over-water flights.

For the past couple of months, our squadron had been packing for an overseas transfer, and going on the clue that we were packing winter flying clothing as well as other cold weather gear, there were strong rumors it was to be Iceland. So on this cold January morning at about 7:30, Sgt. Vaughn, "Scotty," my Scottish terrier dog, and I took to the air along with the other six planes of like model. The 0-47s would follow later and meet us at Duncan Field. We men were wearing our fleece lined boots, flying jackets, and pants. We put Scotty in a barracks bag, pulled the draw string around his neck, leaving only his head sticking out. This gave Scotty protection against the cold and it pretty well immobilized him. While on Sgt. Vaughn's lap, he seemed to enjoy the flight and sometimes barked at the other planes as we flew in close formation.

Our flight leader was Major Lauth, a CO (Commanding Officer) of the Missouri National Guard Squadron. The pilots were all 2nd Lieutenants, and I was the ranking one of this group. Lt. Rebori was the self-appointed engineering officer. Of course, we had radio communication between planes, which came to be a real valuable tool later while we were flying over the jungles of Central America, as Major Lauth called each of us for a report on our fuel supply, etc.

After four hours and 15 minutes, having made fuel stops at Wichita, Kansas, and Tinker Field, Oklahoma, we landed at Hensley Field between Dallas and Fort Worth. At Hensley we had our evening meal and were quartered for the night. The next morning, we made the two hour, 45 minute flight to Duncan Field, and were met by the crews of other planes. Since arriving we had been joined by the ten 0-47s from the Missouri National Guard, and a like number from the Illinois National Guard. These were in addition to ten 0-47s from our squadron, the lst Observation Squadron.

By this time, we had been informed that our destination was the Panama Canal Zone. On January 10, we took to the air on the two hour, 30 minute flight to Brownsville, Texas.

However, immediately after takeoff the engine on my plane became very rough, and I had no alternative but to attempt to return to Duncan. I radioed Major Lauth of my predicament and he agreed with my decision. I barely made it back to the field. The engine died completely on the approach, and my landing was a few 100 yards short of the runway. It wasn't a big deal, but one of the few times I was to land a plane "dead stick," — no power at all. After a new set of spark plugs, I took off again for Brownsville, this time by myself. The 0211 was running like a top when I landed there a few days before. (0211 were the last four numbers of the serial number of this plane, and was the radio call numbers for it. This was the case for all Air Corps Aircraft.) This episode brings to mind, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." After the boring trip over the barren mesquite and grease bushes of this area, and traversing the north-south route over the noted King's Ranch, I arrived at the Brownsville Airport. My main apprehension from having to leave the flight was over! I was back with the rest of our people and would not have to make the flight across Mexico and Central American countries alone.

That evening, our Commander Colonel Perry B. Griffith, called a meeting of all crews from the approximately 36 aircraft. He wanted to impress upon us that we would be flying over mountains, deserts, and jungle for the next few days, with charts (maps) that were not only incomplete, but in some cases inaccurate. Also, for those of us in the 0-49s, on most legs of the flight, we would be running close on fuel. There was a limited number of places where it was available, and with these stops, in many cases, barely within the range we had.

On January 11, we lifted off the Brownsville Airport, crossed over the Rio Grande River, and said "Adios" to the Estadoes Unidos (United States) on the first leg of the trip over Mexico. Our next stop for fuel was to be Tampico, which is on the Gulf of Mexico. This leg pretty well paralleled the Gulf with its many inlets, bays, and islands. The totally amazing scenery here was the seemingly millions of migratory birds that were wintering in the sheltered waters along the many miles of coasts. Among these were many species of wild ducks, Canadian geese, Snow geese, egrets, cranes, and others large enough to be seen from a few thousand feet in the air. The mixture of colors was something unreal.

Our stop at Tampico was uneventful. As is true of most sea level cities, the place was not very clean or upbeat, and housing seemed to consist of shacks. This was generally true of what I have seen in Mexico, on this trip and subsequent ones. The coastal and border towns seem to show the greatest degree of poverty.

With the fuel tanks full (48 gallons), we continued down the coastline south towards our next stopping point, Vera Cruz. We were seeing more signs of a semi-tropical climate with lots of palm trees and others of this family. After four hours, 45 minutes of flying time for the day, we arrived at a very crude airport that was only a few feet above sea level. Since the other planes of our flight had waited for our seven 0-49s, we now had the full compliment of 37 planes here, and parking became a problem. It was finally solved, but somewhat restricted the only landing strip. However, I doubted, from the looks of the facility, that more than one or two planes a week would land here.

This was to be an overnight stop, so after tying down the planes and leaving some of the crew chiefs as security to guard them for the night, probably nearly 100 men piled into a few small buses, and left the airport for the trip downtown. In a matter of a mile or so, all buses came to a stop. In the center of the narrow road lay a dead horse. There wasn't room for a vehicle to get around this obstacle. Apparently someone had the misfortune of having his beast of burden die, and felt no responsibility for disposing of the remains. After a 30-minute delay, and the arrival of a few partially uniformed police, followed by a long session of much gibberish-sounding dialogue, the horse was dragged off the roadway and we could proceed.

The fact that gasoline was available at these stops was the result of arrangements made while at Duncan. It is likely that the buses were also arranged ahead of time. This probably explained part of the delay while there. The doors also had to be repaired which meant additional delay.

We were to spend the night in Vera Cruz, but on arrival at the downtown area, we found the hotel accommodations a little short of what might be expected in a city of 200,000 population. However, they were adequate, and after a shower, we looked for a restaurant for our evening meal. Many of us decided to eat at one of the many sidewalk cafes. I considered this was a mistake as so many beggars hounded us that it was difficult to enjoy our dinners. It was early to bed after dinner, as the following day would be the roughest for us in slower aircraft.

On January 12, we were out to the airport by 7:00 a.m. and with the planes already pre-flighted, we soon took off on the most precarious leg of the entire trip. This included flying through the mountain range, and into a desert-like area south of Oaxaca. This range of mountains are a continuation of the Rockies of western U.S., generally rugged and a challenge for planes with a lower rate of climb, and a limited ceiling (altitude capability). Our planes fit in both categories.

After about 90 minutes out, we were approaching the point where we were to commit into whichever of these passes we would choose to make our way through the mountains. The choice was not only the altitude of the passes, but we had to take into account the winds that were strong in any and all of them. Our leader, Major Lauth had led us in a large circle, our planes were being buffeted by these strong winds, and when he began to fly toward the one he had chosen, all but one of our planes followed him. One had started to fly into a different pass, and by elimination of serial numbers, it turned out to be Lt. Rebori, the self-appointed engineering officer.

As the rest of us followed our leader, we were being tossed around in the worst manner that I had ever experienced. Not even in the throes of a thunderstomi had I seen such turbulence. There were no radio conversations, as each of us tried to keep the aircraft upright, and hoped and prayed that the 0-49s would be strong enough to meet the stresses of the winds. With no sight of, or radio message from Rebori, I assumed he had met his doom in the other canyon he had chosen.

After about 15 minutes, that seemed like hours, the winds began to diminish, and we could at last take a long breath and survey the situation. Items of any density that had not been tied down, had been tossed wildly around the small cabins. Major Lauth took the opportunity to call each of his flight members individually, to check on how they had ridden out this turbulence. Each answered in turn that he and his passenger were a little bruised, but generally okay, and mighty happy to find some better air.

When Major Lauth called Lt. Rebori's number, he answered. After starting into the other pass, he had a problem turning back and ended up being several minutes behind the rest of the flight. For the remainder of the flight, he apparently did no more exploration. We were still encountering windy conditions, but this was not our foremost problem. Flying in formation, even though the formation becomes loose and relaxed on long flights, the leader is responsible for navigation. Shortly after regrouping, Major Lauth gave us a general radio call, admitting that he was totally lost. In approximately 15 minutes, we came in sight of a village on a mountain ridge. We circled the town and the Major gave us a general message that we were to circle while he landed in a small clearing along the town. Shortly after his landing, townspeople ran onto the field and completely surrounded his plane. It is likely they had never before seen an airplane this close.

In about 15 minutes, as soon as the citizens gave him space, Major Lauth taxied toward the downwind end of the field, and joined us in the air. He had found a school teacher who spoke English, and had established our location on the map. We were off course, but not badly enough to make questionable our gasoline supply to get us to our next scheduled stop, Ixtepec.

Except for the strong head-wind about 30 degrees off our noses, we were now doing fine. In 30 minutes our leader began to circle a small village with a sand covered field, no marked runways, with little to denote that it was, indeed, a landing field. There were a few biplanes in one corner of the area, so after landing, Major Lauth taxied to the corner, with my plane following. No sooner had the Major taxied to his chosen parking spot, headed into the direction of the wind and shut down his engine, when a gust caught the plane, and almost upset it. One wing was actually touching the ground. Sgt. Vaughn and I had parked next in line. Seeing what was happening, we jumped out, and with some Mexican help, got the machine back on its two wheels. To prevent another such happening, we drove stakes into the sandy soil, and roped the wings of the Major's plane, then mine, and the other five planes as they landed, to the stakes.

After finding a Mexican with some knowledge of English, the Major tried to find the gasoline that was to have been shipped by rail to the site. Even after a trip to the village, lo and behold, there was none to be found. In visiting with a local man, I found he was not surprised, saying that trains in this remote area normally were running a couple days behind schedule. What a dilemma! Here we were stuck in this God forsaken, sandy, wind-blown, desert town, with no assurance the gasoline would ever arrive.

Finally the Major called us pilots together for a decision-making conference. While on the trip into the village, he had found that we could acquire a supply of automobile gasoline in steel barrels. The main problem was, this petrol was likely less than 90 octane, and our power planes were accustomed to 100 octane fuel. Additionally, any foreign material that might be present in this gas, could mean the loss of one or more planes and crews on the next leg of the flight, which would take us over jungle as we neared the Guatemalan border. After the Major's presentation on the pros and cons of our predicament, and with the prospect of spending an indefinite wait for the right fuel, the pilots were unanimous in their vote to use the substitute fuel and move on. Word was sent for the delivery of the auto gas, and in 45 minutes a battered old truck wheeled up to our planes with the barrels aboard. Since water is the number one culprit in aircraft fuel, we strained it through a chamois skin to remove the water, as we manually fueled each of the seven planes.

As we waited for the truck to arrive with its cargo, I had asked my newly met Mexican friend about the quality of the auto gas. His response was, "Senor, sometimes they run, and sometimes they don't." As I was a flight leader in our squadron, the operations officer had offered me this choice and I accepted it. At this point, for the first time, I questioned my judgment opting to fly one of these short range aircraft from Kansas to the Panama Canal Zone.

Now after the engine was warmed up, we started the process of untying each plane, and immediately taking off to avoid any more wind damage on the ground. In a few minutes, we were airborne, and on our way to a small village near the Guatemalan border.

This flight was nearly without mention, except the strong headwinds on the early part caused a bit of anxiety as to whether our fuel would get us to our destination, Tapachula, Mexico. As we found out on earlier gasoline checks by our leader, either Lt. Davis' engine used more gas than the others, or his gauge was faulty. About twenty minutes before reaching our landing point, when the Major called Davis for the fuel check, the answer was, "I've been showing empty for the last ten minutes." To say the least, we were all sweating for him as we looked out at the jungle underneath us. However, we all made the landing field, and as far as I know, the auto gas brought us through without a "cough or a miss." The landing field was a grassy area nestled among many trees, and several of them were banana trees. As soon as we had parked the planes, Mexican boys came to us with stems of fruit. For 25c, American money, we could buy the whole stem. I'm sure the youngsters likely had helped themselves to the trees, so sales were all profit for them.

This had been a long, trying day. Some of our pilots said they would sleep under the planes' wings, but I and some others decided to go into town for a better bed. At the only hotel, we didn't find much better accommodations. The beds were cots made with crossed two by fours and canvas stretched across, as on G.I. cots. The showers were barrels of water overhead, heated by the sun. However, when it gravitated down onto our bodies, it felt wonderful! We slept as if we had been at the Ritz Carlton. This was the respite from the most tiring day of this trip.

At this small village, Tapachula, we were less than a mile from the Guatemalan border. From that side of the border, there was overland transportation to the city. It was a rather primitive bus, but one of those which were common in Central America. These buses not only carried the human passengers, but also their wares, including live chickens, pigs, and sometimes a live Iguana which had value as a food delicacy in many of these countries.

The following morning, January 13, with the fuel tanks full, we took off for Guatemala City, which was only an hour and 45 minutes flight time. During this time we climbed from near sea level of Tapachula to the 5,000 foot elevation of our destination. Except for the normal turbulence that one experiences in these mountain passes, this leg was without incident, and we were landing at one of the prettiest and most up-to-date cities in Central America. Unfortunately, we had only one night there, where the hotels and food were the best. Everything about these accommodations was topnotch and the price was right. For the hotel room and a meal of many courses, the bill was $4.00. This was called the "American Plan," which meant the food and lodging were all billed at one price.

Also in shopping the local stores we found that shoes were very reasonably priced, and a pair of Jodphur boots made from soft leather with a lot of style, were also about $4 a pair. Many of us left wearing a pair of these boots, and when flying into the city later, we purchased more pairs. The Air Corp was more liberal in the uniform requirements than the other branches of the service, and we had no problem with anyone in command regarding this footwear.

One of the memorable sights of this city were the Catholic churches, many of which were 100 years or more old. The native population which were from rural areas was predominately American Indian. The entire family would make an annual pilgrimage to these churches. In order to have something to sell or barter for food, etc., they carried some product from their region, and in many cases it was no more than small sticks for firewood. Each member of the family had a burden of wood on his back, with a leather thong across the forehead attached to the bound bundle of sticks. This left hands free to swing as they walked the many miles.

The following morning we were at the airfield for an early start on what was to be the longest distance of any one day. This would be with fuel stops at San Salvador, El Salvador, Managua, Nicaragua, and the stop for the night at San Jose, Costa Rica, with a flying time of seven hours and 45 minutes. Needless to say, we arrived in San Jose pretty well exhausted from the hours of being buffeted by winds we encountered. We seldom flew above 5,000 feet, unless the mountains required more altitude for clearance.

As we flew from Guatemala City to San Salvador, we again left the mile high elevation of this mountainous area for a city only a few hundred feet above sea level. As we approached the airport, we could see the most picturesque sight of the entire flight. Here were hundreds of oxen-drawn, two wheel carts loaded with sugar cane headed for the sugar refinery. These wooden wheeled wagons were each pulled by a team of two mammoth oxen, most of them white or of a light color, driven by a man walking alongside as the oxen plodded along at a slow pace. It was like going back in time, maybe 75 years.

Refueled again, we headed for Managua, Nicaragua, which is the capital city of this country. This flight was over lower mountains for awhile, then a plains-like area which paralleled the Pacific Ocean. The rainfall in the area was not heavy enough to make this a real jungle. It was actually some of the more friendly terrain we had flown over since leaving Texas.

Upon reaching Managua, from our low altitude we could see what appeared to be a city with a much lower economic appearance — namely poor housing, and when we landed at the airport it was apparently nothing like Guatemala City. At this time in history, most Central American cities had a high poverty rate, and we were witnessing one of the highest.

Again with our tanks topped off, we headed for San Jose, Costa Rica and within 30 minutes we were flying along Lake Nicaragua, which is the largest fresh water lake in Central America. At one time the U.S. had considered a near sea level canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, connecting through this lake as well as the Lake of Managua. Even though the U.S. acquired the land rights for building this canal, it failed to materialize. The lake reaches to the Costa Rican border on the south, and as we reached the area, we again were flying over a tropical jungle, which reached most of the way to San Jose. We stayed closer to the Pacific Ocean, almost to Puntarenas, which is a port city, then up the mountain valley to San Jose which has an elevation of 4,000 feet.

We knew when we left Managua we would once again be pressing our fuel supply to the limit. As on a couple other occasions, when the Major called for the late fuel check, Lt. Davis was showing empty. However, since he had been able to reach the airport on these other legs, I'm sure we were all less apprehensive this time. He landed with the rest of us at the city airport. Once again we had nice hotel and food accommodations, somewhat similar to those in Guatemala City. The climate of San Jose was great because of its altitude and later, while stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, when we had the chance to fly here for R and R (Rest and Rehabilitation), we were glad to take advantage of it.

The following morning we headed out again, and after a rather mountainous course from here to the Panamanian border, we were flying over the country of Panama. Just before leaving the Costa Rican country, we flew over a very large banana plantation with giant sprinklers watering these trees, a form of irrigation. After an hour and 45 minutes, we made a fuel stop at David, Panama, a grass field in one of the semi-arid areas of the region. This was the first landing field that was under Air Corps control since leaving Duncan Field, Texas. Here we were met and fueled by our own trucks, then back to the air for the next leg of our flight to the military (Air Corps) base at Rio Hato, Panama. This field lies right along the Pacific Ocean, and about 80 miles west of the Canal Zone.

After a few days here, we were directed to continue to the base that was to be our home for an indefinite period of time. This was a newly built airfield near the canal with the runway extending almost to the ocean. Along with the Pursuit Squadron already here, most of our Group (the 72nd Observation) was to operate out of this base. New barracks, new officers' quarters, and a new frame building for our operations left us pretty well set up in our home.

After over 32 hours of flying time, and 16 refueling stops, our slow flying aircraft had traversed approximately 3,300 miles from Kansas to the Canal Zone. This was with no loss of crews, and the only damage to the aircraft was from the wind at Ixtepec. The pilots, crew chiefs, and I each received a letter of commendation from the Commanding General of the Sixth Air Force, with this to be a part of our permanent military files.

I don't recall flying #2011 airplane again, and as I remember, it met an untimely fate while at Albrook Field, the airbase a short distance from Howard Field across the Canal. It seems a B-17 didn't see it and taxied into it, with the props on one wing almost devouring it. In the meantime, I went back to flying the larger aircraft with a little more altitude between the jungle and me.

My older brother, Eugene, lost his life in this war. He was a Gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress on a mission over the North Sea, when his plane was shot down by the Germans on July 17, 1943. His memorial is listed with thousands of others on a wall in the Netherlands. My brother, Jim, served as a Marine in the Korean War.

Looking back over my flying career, one of the highlights was a flight from my Kansas base to Iowa, landing in a field on the family farm, just three weeks before the start of WW II.

I returned to the States in 1943, where, as a member of the 3rd Air Force 1, I was involved in the training of airplane crews and ground force troops. In 1945, I was appointed Commanding Officer of the Marshall Field Air Force base near Junction City, Kansas, in command of a unit doing firepower demonstrations of Air Force potentials for ground force troops before they left for overseas assignment. I was given the opportunity to serve in the Army of Occupation in Japan but I was eager to get back to civilian life.

The end of WWII was October, 1945. Just before the war's end, I met Dorothy Hunt, my wife of the past 60 years. We were married August 11, 1945 in Alexandria, Louisiana, where I was based at Esler Field. A few days after our wedding, the war ended, and I was discharged in St. Louis, Missouri in October, 1945.


Gene was born on January 6, 1916 in Doyle
Township, Clarke County. Siblings were Iris
Jimmerson, Bette Ogbourne, Dale C. and James W. Jones. His wife: Lilith Wald Jones.

Gene entered the service in 1943. After basic training he was sent to Harlingen, Texas to learn Radio Operations. He became a Turret Gunner, in the U.S. Air Corps, on a B-17 Flying Fortress based in England. He was shot down by enemy fire on his first mission over the North Sea, and rescued by the British Navy. His plane was again shot down in heavy fire on his third mission over the North Sea. He was reported as MIA (Missing in Action) on July 17, 1943. A year later he was declared dead. He was buried at sea when his plane went down. A memorial of his demise is on a wall in the Netherlands, and a memorial stone is in the Westerville Cemetery beside those of his parents.


was born May 5, 1927 in Doyle Township, Clarke County, Iowa. He grew up on the family farm, and attended grade schools in Doyle Township #6 Pine, Clarke County and Richland Township Conwell School in Decatur County, Iowa. He later graduated from high school in Murray, Iowa.

Jim's mother passed away when he was but six years of age, and Jim was raised by his father and siblings. When the brothers and sisters graduated from high school, they left home (Dale to Kansas State College in 1937, Betty to Southwest College in Winfield, Kansas in the early 1940's). During WWII, both Eugene and Dale were in the U.S. military service and sister Iris, after teaching in the Hopveville school, left for the Bay Area in California to help build ships for the war effort. Jim and his father were left alone on the farm.

Jim received a call to be drafted into the army in later years of WWII but failed to pass the physical. However, in 1952, he again received a draft notice for the new war — the Korean conflict. Now the military did surgery to make him physically acceptable. He opted


for service in the Marine Corps and did his basic training at San Diego, California. He was trained as an automobile mechanic at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was sent back to Camp Pendleton where he served in the ordinance department of a tank battalion.

Upon release from Marine duty, Jim joined his father in the operation of the farm, which included a cow-calf operation, a pig to market pork operation, and corn and soybean crop growing.

In November 1954, Jim was married to Harriet Marie James in Leon, Iowa. They became parents of four children: Frank, Laura Faye, Mitch, and Jeanne Marie. Frank married Janet Phillips — they have three children, Amy, Erin, and David; Laura Faye married Rich Binning, and they have two daughters — Jennifer and Brittany; Mitch married Terri Curnes and they have three children —Hannah, Jack; and Jeanne Marie became Jeanne Marie French.

From 1958 to 1985, Jim was joined by his brother, Dale, in the cow-calf operation and they became Vemeer Manufacturing Company, dealers in the sale of hay-making equipment which has been successful world-wide.

In the following years of Jim's farming business, he was able to add many acres of land to his holdings. In addition, he established an automated hog confinement operation.

For many years, Jim enjoyed his annual elk-hunting trip to the Colorado mountains. Jim died of cancer January 21, 1993, and has been sadly missed by all. The farming operation has been continued by his sons, Frank and Mitch, who have further increased the size of the cattle operation and land holdings.


JONES, MICKEY was in WWII. No other information was available.

LONG, NOEL, was the son of Nellie Spare. He was the U.S. Navy in WWII, Mother. Deceased.


was the son of Harold E. and Nellie A. Siefkas Maffett, born March 30, 1923. He entered the service on November 10, 1942, served in the U.S. Army, and attained the rank of S/Sgt. He was discharged November 5, 1945. He died September 13, 2003, is buried in the Murray Cemetery


Robert McCutchan was born M1845 in Indiana. His parents were Samuel F. and Elizabeth Davis McCutchan. He enlisted on August 10, 1863, and served in Co. H, 9th Cavalry. He died of a disease at St. Louis, Missouri, on February 5, 1864, and us buried in the National Cemetery, Jefferson Barracks Section 7, grave 214.


No information other than his grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Morgan. He served in the U.S. Army and is deceased.



Twins Dale and Dean were inducted February 29 1944, at age 19, into the Navy at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa. They were shipped out immediately to Camp Waldron Naval Training station at Farragut, Idaho, completed that training on April 10, 1944, and were given a 15 day leave to come home by railway.


On April 30, 1944, we returned to Farragut and were placed in OGU (outgoing unit). Dean was sent to Seattle, Washington and assigned to the mine sweeper USS Staunch. I was selected for training as an aviation radioman. I was sent to NATTC, Memphis, Tennessee in August, 1944. was placed in the naval hospital in Memphis for hernia surgery. On recovery, I was deemed unfit for aviation. I was transferred to a Navy Repair Base in New Orleans, LOuisiana, and was there a short time waiting for new orders.

The orders came through that we were to report to the Naval Advanced Base Personnel Depot at the old Tanforan Race Track, San Bruno, California. From here we were sent to the Floating Dry Dock Training Center at Tiburon, California. In late 1944 or early 1945, we were sent to Treasure Island Naval Base for overseas shipment.

We boarded a Dutch ship HMS Weltervreden, next stop Pearl Harbor, where we anchored very close to the USS Arizona. We stayed in Pearl Harbor 10 days with all personnel confined to the ship. Next stop was Eniweto atoll where we stayed several days waiting for a convoy to form. Next stop Leyte Gulf We offloaded our gear and men on barges. We had been aboard for 41 days.

We then proceeded to Samar Island, where we stayed two nights and two days. We were taken to the small island of Calicoan, just off the tip of Samar, where our Navy supply depot was being built. During the time the barracks were being built, we lived in tents.

In early 1946, I had accumulated enough points for discharge. I came back to Portland, Oregon, on a Navy attack transport, to Swan Island Naval Base, then by train to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for discharge January 27, 1946. Merle O'Neall and I were married, and have now been married for 62 years. We live on an acreage at the edge of Murray.

Dale has been Commander of the William Lochrie Legion Post #405 for 12 years.


served on mine sweeper, USS Staunch, in many places including Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He was discharged May 7, 1946. He was married to Elsie Little for 56 years, and lived in Roseville, Illinois. He died March 7, 2005.


was inducted September 6, 1945; served in the Army in Korea; and was discharged February, 1947.


was inducted into the Army on February 5, 1951, served in in Korea, discharged January 23, 1953.


Ellen, David's wife, and Mary Peterson Gibson, daughter, attempted to tell about David's war experiences even though he hadn't talked very much about them. They know of battles and campaigns he was in because of ribbons and medals. Additionally, they have letters David wrote to his mother while he was still in the service.

David Peterson was born September 3, 1921, in Pleasant Township in Union County, Iowa. His address at the time of his induction was RFD (Rural Free Delivery) 3, Thayer. They are uncertain where it was, but know it was in Clarke County. He was notified to report for service in the spring of 1942, but because his father was in very poor health, and David was the oldest of five children, he was very much needed for farm work at home.

David was accustomed to hard work. Both he and Ellen had to discontinue formal education at eighth grade to help support their families. David grew up using horses, not engines, and many of the years his children were growing up, he was a share cropper, then made whatever profit he could from rented farm ground. He hired out to bale hay for other people with a used baler that took many


hours of repair work in addition to the baling itself. Eventually, all the hard work and careful planning allowed David and Ellen to purchase two plots of land in Decatur County, while raising seven children. In later years, David achieved quite a bit of success operating a stock trailer sales business, even designing an aerodynamically improved front panel for one company, which has been copied by several trailer producers.

The order came to report for duty. It was deferred until October 14. And his actual date for reporting was October 16, 1942, when he became David Milton Peterson 37435991. He left from Clarke County, and by way of Camp Dodge, was sent to Tendale Field, Florida where he took aerial gunnery training. He has a certificate indicating his completion of glider mechanics training at Sheppard Field, Texas on January 19, 1943. In one of his letters he referred to the glider program being disbanded, so apparently he did not make much use of that training.

The date of departure for overseas duty was January 24, 1945. He arrived on January 31, 1945. In the following years there is evidence of his participating in battles and campaigns in Rhineland — 6040 WD-45; Central Europe G033; American Theater for which he has Air Medal GO-106-Hq. 2 A.D. May 18, 1945; a ribbon for European African-Middle Eastern Service WD 45 - OLC Air Medal GO-131 Hq. AD April 13, 1945.

David was a member of the 409th Bomb Squad 93rd Bomb Group. His position was that of "nose gunner" on a B24 "Liberator" bomber. It was a very cramped position for a six foot tall guy and, of course, there was much that was seen that was almost unbearable. He had the added responsibility of being in charge of a devise that would "drop" the bomb load in the event anything went wrong with the plane. On one mission the plane somehow ended up inverted and he did drop the bombs in a large lake before the pilot was able to right the plane. The crew received no "credit" for that mission.

David told his grandson-in-law about "Berlin Betty." She was a German radio personality who somehow acquired lists of American flights and the pilots who were commanding the planes and their locations. He talked about what a frightening thing this was to be aware the enemy knew exactly where you were and who you were.

David was discharged as S/Sgt. at 211 Army Air Force Base Unit, SFAF Separation Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, November 6, 1945. He was required to account for all that had been issued to him, as follows: Barracks bag and duffel bag, 2 each of khaki shirt and trousers, raincoat, 3 pair of drawers, 3 undershirts, 4 pair total of socks, cotton or wool, cap, shoes, belt, 4 handkerchiefs, 2 neckties, 2 of silver insignia and 2 bars per man for each 6 months overseas, 1 necklace identification tag, and 1 rayon braid. Coat, jacket, flannel shirt, overcoat, mackinaw, wool trousers, drawers, undershirts, and cap; knit cap, canvas leggings, working suit, jacket, trousers, cap HBT; wool gloves, 2 collar insignia, steel helmet with liner, head and neck band. Marked (turned in) 1 wool overcoat, 1 wool undershirt, 1 pair wool gloves, 1 pistol belt, 1 can of meat, 1 canteen and Morgan, Hoyle cover, 1 gun, I fork, knife, spoon, 1 first aid pouch and packet. Ellen recalls being told most of the items were turned back to officials at the time of discharge were thrown into large piles and burned.

David took advantage of VA (Veterans' Administration) classes after his discharge, and must have benefitted a great deal from that, but never earned a degree as far as his wife and daughter know. They do know he had a lot of knowledge of mechanics because he could take apart "any engine ever produced." David passed away January 27, 2005.



The boys were all drafted except Keith who joined the Navy.


Lyle Dale was the oldest. He was not drafted in WWII because of a hernia and a weakness in his left arm, which he had since birth. Eventually the hernia was repaired and in 1948, they called him for a physical. He was accepted. By this time so many people had been drafted. He began his service in 1949, and was an MP (Military Police) at the time they occupied Japan.

He was discharged, returned to Hopeville, and bought a store. It consisted of a filling station and pool hall. The Korean war broke out in 1950. Dale was in the reserves and got a letter ordering him to report for active duty in 30 days, which gave him time to get his affairs in order. He was shipped to Ft. Hood, Texas. In less than 30 days, he was on a ship for Korea for the first wave of the attack.

Later, the unit he was in almost drove into the sea but by then he had been reassigned back to Japan. There is a memorial in Hawaii listing the men who had been killed in the battle and there was quite a number of them. He was reluctant to talk very much about it.

He made a comment one time to a young police officer who said he didn't know if he could ever shoot somebody, and Dale said, referring to the battlefield, "I hope you never do because it will make you sick as a dog and you'll never get any better." He died in 2002 a natural death.


was 18 when he was drafted out of high school in his senior year. He was sent to Europe for the Battle of the Bulge. One of the worst aspects of that situation was how terribly cold it was. He told of riding in box cars after he was captured and became a prisoner of war. Their feet were so cold that some of the men lost their feet. Olin didn't say a lot about that battle, but when he came back, he had nightmares for a long time. I was 10 years old at the time and it was quite an experience when we were notified by telegram that he was missing in action. My mother was so worried, but she prayed hard for him to come back, and he did. He was in pretty bad shape when he came home and when we asked him what he wanted for dinner, he said, "A half dozen fresh eggs." He is retired now, living on a farm near Hopeville.

(Olin gives his story as follows:)
World War II POW #312036
by Olin Reasoner A.S.N. 37682252

On November 27, 1943, I was taken out of high school at age 18 by the draft and inducted into the United States Army at Camp Dodge in Des Moines, Iowa. I was sent for 17 weeks of basic training at Camp Roberts, California, January 1, 1944 through April 8, 1944.

After this I was sent to Camp Atterbery, Indiana where I joined the 106th Infantry Division and was placed with the 590th Field Artillery as a gunner on a 105 MM Howitzer. I trained with them until we were sent overseas. This was from May 1, 1944, until September 1944, then sent to port of embarkation at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts. A week later we got on a ship named Wakefield, and seven days later we were in Liverpool, England. We were there seven days more before being loaded onto an LST boat, went across the English Channel to France, up the Seine River, and made a landing at Ruan, France. We went across France, a corner of Holland, and into Belgium. We went up to the front lines at this time, replacing the 2nd Infantry Division gun for gun, foxhole for foxhole. The 2nd Division had occupied the area for some time, but one wonders if it could have done any more than the 106th when the Germans attacked December 6. Weather was quite a factor fog got so thick we could hardly see anything. Then came snow and cold.

The 2nd Division pointed out to us this was a quiet sector, and "We won't need much ammo right away." But how wrong they were. They were very lucky to get out of there. At 5:30 a.m. December 16, 1944, it seemed as if the whole German Army came upon us. First barrage after barrage of heavy artillery, also Buzz Bombs that sounded like an airplane cutting out just before it crashed and exploded. As near as I know, we were the first Division hit — at least one of the first. This was the start of the Battle of the Bulge near a small town called Bleialf, Belgium.

We counter attacked, throwing everything we had at them. I think the air was full of shells coming and going both ways. This went on hour upon hour. Their artillery was mostly from 88 MM Howitzers. I called them screaming 88s, for the shells screamed coming through the air more than ours did. Then our Infantry unit, the 423rd Regiment, was in trouble. Weapons of all kinds came upon them, many tanks and infantry personnel of the Germans. At one time I thought maybe we might be stopping them, but in a little while, here came more artillery shells, more tanks, and more of everything possible they had to fight with. Our orders were to hold our line where we were at all cost, but it seemed as though we couldn't stop them. The fog made it impossible to make out 50 feet in front of us if a person was a German or an American. Then it turned colder, sometimes zero or below. Then the heavy snow followed which seemed as bad or worse than the fog. There was no air support because of the weather.

This battle went on for many days with very little let-up. At one time it was said by one officer, we had fired nearly 1200 rounds by all artillery units I was with of the 105 MM Howitzers. By now I am sure there has been many personnel and equipment losses on both sides. A lot of our firing orders were to use H.E. Time Fuse shells. This was to explode so many feet off the ground. I knew by this we were firing at personnel, as well as equipment.

As long as radios were working, we got many firing orders from the Infantry where they needed help. Later I was talking to an Infantry man of the 423rd. He said each time they called for artillery firing we got direct hits on all positions. He told about one man helping clean the Germans out of a house, a large man over 200 pounds who could lift two times his weight, got shot and he seemed to go mad. He charged into a building and threw grenades ahead of him into the rooms he was about to enter. Before the smoke of the grenades lifted, he dashed into the rooms and bayoneted every German there, whether they were alive or dead. He cleaned out entire buildings from the ground floor to the top. Not only did he bayonet the enemy but he also hoisted them through the window on his bayonet as if he were spearing hay with a pitchfork. He was shot and wounded four times before he fell. They counted more than 30 bayoneted Germans he had killed and called us "green individuals who couldn't fight."

Also this infantryman I was talking to told me a Captain Manning was shot and killed. His bravery, however, from all reports, was outstanding. He, too, was one of those "green" individuals who some said couldn't fight. Who started this rumor that we couldn't fight didn't know what they were talking about, I'm sure. I remember one thing maybe I was a part of. A firing order came in, a company of 223rd Infantry was pinned down near a bunker or pill box the Germans were firing out of They thought it was better to have only one section of artillery go after the bunker, so I guess my section was picked. No mistake could be made, for it was close to where the Infantry Company was. The forward observer for the artillery had to be right on target also. We got the firing command and used H.E.(High Explosive) shells.

The Infantry Company told us later how close we were to them — not over 10 feet above them with incoming shells, but we did hit the bunker or pill box the Germans were in and very well tore it up. They ran out of the bunker "what was left," then the Infantry Company pretty well took care of them and me and my gun section's help.

It must have been two American Divisions that pulled out in retreat, perhaps to regroup. Then it seemed as if more enemy fire power came onto us. Their artillery helped to wipe out our communications with telephones. The German army had us cut off in the rear. They had us encircled. Now they had us where they wanted us with no way out. We were almost out of ammunition, low on 30 caliber carbon ammo, and only 12 rounds left for our 105 Howitzer. So B Battery of 590th Field Artillery, which I was with, decided to make a break for it, or at least try.

Towing our Howitzer behind a 2 1/2 ton truck, it took all afternoon and all night to find a way out. After finding all the roads were taken over by enemy positions, early on the morning of December 19, we decided to place the Howitzer over again in firing position for the last few rounds of ammo left. We could see enemy troops all through the hills and woods around us. We were located on a small gorge just below the timberline of the Huertgen Forest. What town we were near, I don't know. I heard later it was in the vicinity of Schonberg. Everywhere there was just heavy fighting with enemy troops, enemy artillery, and enemy tanks.

Then at the crest of a hill, we saw two Germans running down the hill toward us waving a while flag like they were surrendering. One of our guys shot one of them. Then our Gunnery Sergeant shouted not to shoot, he was surrendering. The German walked in and told us that we were surrounded and had no chance, so we should surrender. We told him there was no chance of surrendering — at least not now, and let him go.

It wasn't a half hour later when a German artillery brigade attacked. The first one hit our medical unit. I could not see if anyone survived. I looked back at us, maybe 50 yards, and saw some old foxholes. We all dived into them. By then they had us zeroed in our position and here came more of those screaming 88 artillery shells. After the shelling was over, the fox holes most of us were in saved many lives, but as it was, most of us had many shrapnel cuts. I think I was luckier than most. I was not badly wounded.

Then here came the enemy ground troops pouring in all around us, pointing their weapons at us. There was very little hand to hand fighting — there were just too many of them. This could be called being captured, or some might call it surrendering. I call it being overran by the enemy forces and taken captive. Of all the things that could happen to a person in combat! I thought this would be the last. It was difficult being taken prisoner of war, but there was no other way to survive. A man's spirit dropped to rock bottom, but it was hard to take away all his pride.

They forced us to throw our helmets and small arm weapons onto a pile and walk away. No one can imagine the casualties of war. Both American and German, we saw walking by, going where we were forced to go. One man I knew quite well. It looked as though he had bled three gallons in the snow. He got up and walked 20 or 30 feet, then died. A lot of us had been hit by shrapnel, but had to attend to our own wounds the best we could. I was lucky that I was not badly hit when some of the other men were hit somewhat worse. One thing hard to forget is looking at a man face to face and thinking perhaps he or you both may not survive. You see those faces forever.

It was December 19, 1944. My place of capture was north of St. Vetck, Belgium in the vicinity of Schonberg, on Schnee Fifel the Losheim Gap, near (I think) the Orb River. We were searched, put into a barn, and hoped we could bed down there for the night, but along towards evening we were forced out so they could use it for the horses. We were put into a wet, muddy, snowy hog lot. It turned very cold. There was almost no way to stay warm. Another fellow and I slept on a wooden wagon wheel, he on one side of the hub and I on the other, to keep from freezing down. He did have an overcoat we used for a cover.

Next morning we were put on a road where there were German tanks, and burp guns in a jeep. Burp guns were high speed automatics which make a burp sound when fired. They divided some of us into two groups. I could see by the way the Germans were doing — getting their guns or weapons ready for firing, I may be in the wrong group. So by a small wonder and fast maneuvering, I got with the other group going on down the road. Gunfire was in force when I was getting away from the first group, I did not know at the time, but after I got back to the States I learned this could have been known as the Malmedy Massacre. I never saw the first group I was with again. As I understand, pictures were shown later frozen bodies were pulled from under the snow. If this wasn't the Malmedy massacre, it was one like it.

The next day we were put on the road again. One of the guys I was with could speak German, and he asked the generals how far we had to go. He said 82 kilometers to where box cars were waiting to take us to prison camps. We walked for three days into Germany, eating snow for water and looking for frozen potatoes along the potato fields near the road. Some of the guys had their shoes taken by the Germans. They could barely walk with frozen feet.

The last day, walking was the worst. Many suffered from too much exposure. Another fellow and I carried one man for maybe 1/2 mile. That evening we had reached our destination in a small town unknown to me. They loaded us on box cars, 60 men to one car. Horses had been taken off of it. Manure was maybe six inches deep, but it did help for insulation against the cold. There was not enough room to lay down. We could only sit upright between one another's legs. When I awoke the next morning my butt was frozen down to the floor. It took awhile to get the blood circulating again. We were in this box car in this condition for nine days. They gave us water only two times and only one time did we eat.

Early on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944, one young man stood up and gave a short sermon. It seemed as though he had been trained. It must have been midnight or later. We were on a siding of a railroad track in some town called Mulberg or Limburg, Germany. We were bombed and strafed by Allied planes. They must have thought we were a German troop train. The first wave hit so close to the box car I was in that it knocked the lock off and opened the door on the box car. Most of us crashed out of the box car. At that time I could hear the second bomb wave coming. I was nearby an open latrine the German guards were using. I jumped into it as more bombs fell. More men jumped on top of me. They nearly broke my back. It has never been the same since.

I yelled, "Let's get out of here. I think they are after the railroads." After we all got out of the open latrine, "a place where they went to the bathroom," I could hear what I thought was the third bombing coming up. Looking away from the railroad about 60 yards was what looked like a brick wall. I staggered myself to it, laying down beside it. Looking around, there were many more men from the box car laying there also. Then the bombs started falling again. I remember laying head to head with a man that was praying so hard he might not even have heard the bombs. One bomb made a round crater as close as 20 feet away from us. The wall took the blast from us. Then it began crumbling. I told the man laying beside me to get into that crater before the wall falls on us. We jumped into the crater. Looking back, I could see the wall did begin to fall. After the bombing was over, the only ones I saw left in the group was this man and me. We looked for some way to escape, but no way. German troops were right on us.

What was left of us dragged back to the box car. I wondered at that time what happened to the others, but at daylight the next morning, I didn't wonder anymore. Frozen bodies were loaded on large wheelbarrows in front of the box cars they use, perhaps, for baggage from the trains.

We moved on the next day, a few miles at a time. From what they told us, we had reached our destination just outside of Berlin, Germany, which I guess was Stalag III D. This was December 30th 1944. We were told this was the old chamber used to gas Jews. It was so bitterly cold! They placed us in line to be searched and deloused. We all got so cold, we nearly froze to death. I froze my feet and legs until they were numb. While being searched, I realized I had a silver dollar given to me by the Osceola American Legion. I saved it by hiding it in the toe of my sock. I still have it! Then to be deloused, but I guess some way they had to delouse our clothes.

After this we went to an English stockade. This was the best sight we had seen in a very long time. They gave us hot tea, some food, and a warm place: I remember I was so cold, I bellied up to a wood stove. I got too close and my pants caught on fire. The next day an Englishman gave me a needle and thread. I tore the poison gas flap out of my shirt and patched my pants. Soon after that, I got a bad cold and I could not get medication from the Germans. The second day there I lost my voice. I did not think I would make it but an Englishman gave me some kind of medicine he had gotten from the Germans and it brought me out of it.

We left there on February 2, 1945, on a train going south, arriving at Stalag IV A near the Czechoslovakian border somewhere around February 8th at a forced labor camp. We were put to work in a factory sacking and loading compressed blocks from a machine used to make horse feed. We worked eight-hour shifts 24 hours a day. The first shift I did pretty well, but when the next shift came on, one of the fellows was so weak and run down he could hardly stand up. The Germans were going to do away with him with a bayonet, so I took his place for another eight hours. After that I almost did not make it back to the stockade. This was all forced labor under inhumane conditions. While working there all I can remember eating was a small bowl of rutabaga soup, one slice of black bread, and a small piece of horse meat once a day. If we could get away with it, we would get some of the things they made horse feed from, like dried potato peelings.

One time a Red Cross parcel came to each man. One man ate his too fast. Not being used to it, I don't think he made it. Our systems were not used to this much food all at one time. It did give us more strength if used properly. At one time I dropped from 193 pounds to less than 100 pounds.

We were located on the Elbe River. The horse feed was loaded on barges and transported this way. One night I was working with some POWs from Holland. I thought I could stow away on the barge for an escape but I was found by German guards before the barge could be moved out. There was a road and a railroad on the other side of the river. I could see the road was used by refugees going north. The trains were so overloaded the people were hanging on wherever they could. It was headed, as I was told, for Dresden, Germany. They said it was an open city and that it would not be bombed, but one evening just before dark, the sky was full of Allied bombers. This was during the month of February 1945. We were about 12 kilometers from Dresden. We could hear the noise — one bomb wave after another. It burned all night with raging fires. The Germans miscalculated this as an open city. For weeks and weeks there was even more hatred by the Germans than before. They worked us harder than ever.

I can still remember when President Roosevelt died, there was more sadness by the German guards than when Hitler died. We could see then the war was closer to an end.

Another real depressing time was after an eight-hour shift. We were working, tired and hungry. We were sent back to the stockade and the Germans had a phonograph. They had two songs at that time. It seemed like they were the saddest songs I had ever heard. They would turn them up really loud. One was "Hawaiian Sunset" and the other one was "My Happiness." This was done to help break our morale, and could almost drive us crazy.

It was the last days of April. We could still hear artillery gunfire off in the distance. Each day it would get louder. We just knew it had to be the American Army. There was more happiness and excitement than there ever was at this place. Then the artillery gunfire began fading away and soon there was no more. We heard later it was the American Army but they had turned and gone south, leaving our part for the Russians.

We made what I thought was a deal with two German guards. If they would take us across the bridge over the Elbe River in search for the Americans, we would do everything in our power to take them to America with us. By now they were getting almost as hungry as we were. They finally agreed to do this. As I think back, it may have been because of getting away from the Russians. We took what little we had and started out in search of the American Army. Leaving there, after crossing the Elbe River, we climbed what seemed like a mountain. When we reached the top, I felt like I wanted to reach out and say good morning to the world. It was the most peaceful thing I could say for people all over the world to hear.

As I looked down below and saw the Elbe River winding below, I could see the green grass that had started covering the hillside and the starting of flowers that looked like dandelions growing in shaded places. Looking now so peaceful, how could it have been such a hell hole we had been in the last five months?

After three days and many narrow escapes, we once more heard gunfire ahead. On the fourth day we were going through the German Army lines. Everyone was on his own from here on out. This was the 7th of May, 1945. To get through the German Army lines, I had to try. That evening another fellow and I bedded down near a small creek not far from a road and a bridge that went over it. The next morning we could see the Germans bringing out the wounded and dead down this long hill not far from us. Most of their transportation was by a hay rack that they pulled with horses. When the road cleared, we walked out onto the road across the bridge and up the hill to what we thought was an American Army. Heavy fighting had been going on at the top of this hill for days before. As soon as I got across the bridge, a German soldier stepped out of a ditch along the road. I thought that was it, that he probably would shoot me. He knew I was an enemy soldier, but he could not tell what country I was from. I had on American O.D. pants with a patch on one leg, an English shirt, and a French overcoat. I think he knew his army was wiped out and he let me go. He was a tall blond headed man. He said to me in plain English, "Good morning, George. How are you this morn?" I think that was the only English he knew.

Later I could hear different kinds of explosions. The Germans were blowing up their guns. On up the hill then across an open field, there were many a soldier had lost their lives. Guns were laying everywhere, the end of a great battle. Then all at once I could smell newly baked bread! Now I could see it was not the American Army, but it was the Russian Army and what I smelled was the cook shack for the Russians. I made them understand I wanted some bread and they gave me a whole loaf! I think it was the best bread I could remember eating. I never knew what happened to the two German guards we left the stockade with, but I don't think the Russians had much pity for them. I remember just before we caught up with the Russians, a German staff car with two flat tires in the rear pulled up beside me, stopped and said they lost the war this time, but wait until the next time. From this it sounded like the war was almost over but I didn't really know.

This was May 9, 1945, near a town called Rica, Czechoslovakia. I did not know we had gone this far south of Germany. There were some Arabs that had been captive in this town, who were now also freed. Without any supervision, they were the wildest and craziest people I had ever seen. The Russians that we were now with were Mongoloids, all they knew how to do was kill or mutilate Germans. Their equipment was American built guns. For this they praised the American people. We stayed in Rica two days. The Russians, Arabs, and all who could, repaired the railroads so we could continue on to the American Army. Food was very scarce. I recall one day when a German was plowing with a team of oxen. An Arab shot one of the oxen, and we ate off it like a bunch of wild animals. We then loaded onto a box car and headed for the American Army. You have never seen such a bunch of dirty, scabby, and lousy pack of people as we were, some worse than others. I will never forget going by a German troop train or hospital train. Most of the wounded Germans were either dead or dying. One German nurse had gone crazy and was washing her face in blood from the wounded.

After two days on this box car, we finally stopped to repair tracks in a small town that I never knew the name of. We had all become very hungry and I asked if anyone wanted to go with me into town to try to find something to eat. No one would go because we could hear sniper gunfire throughout the town. As I was walking into the town, it seemed like there were a thousand eyes upon me. One thing, they did not know what army I belonged to. I had on an American cap, English shirt, American pants, American combat boots, and a French overcoat. I walked up to a two-story house and rapped on the door several times. Finally a voice speaking in German said to come in. As I walked inside, I could see a long stairway going upstairs and an older man and some women standing on the top balcony telling me to come on up. I walked up and told them I was very hungry and I wanted something to eat. They must have thought I was English because they asked in what town in England did I live? I then told them I was an American, but I could soon tell they hated Americans more than the English, so at once I thought of a town in England. In return they told me they had once visited this town and gave me a sandwich. After eating it, I thanked them and started to leave. As I was going down the stairway, I looked back across the hall and saw that there could be trouble with another man. With a bunch of friction with him, I must have done well. I left the house at once and went back to the box cars. This was one thing out of many that happened.

When I returned back to the box car, it was just about ready to leave. After nearly an hour on the train, we discovered two Americans had also gone into town looking for food as I did, and they never made it back before the train left. What happened to them I do not know. While traveling along on the box car that evening, everyone bedded down on the floor. I had a 32 caliber German pistol that had belonged to an American officer. I got it while going through the German lines. I put it in my coat pocket I used for a pillow. The next morning I discovered the pistol was gone. During the night someone had taken it. I stood up and gave my speech telling everyone around me I expected this gun to be put back in this coat by the next morning or somehow I would find it. A good friend of mine also stood up and said he would help me find it. He was a red headed man from New York. His name was Door so I called him Red Door. The next morning when I awoke, I reached for my gun and sure enough it was there. Luckily the bluff had worked. I think knew who took it but I was not sure. It made no difference. I got it back.

After three days on this box car, we reached the American Army. We were somewhere in Czechoslovakia or the edge of Germany. I didn't ask. It was May 21, 1945. They looked to us as the most wonderful people in the world. I am sure we looked to them as a bunch of the dirtiest and lousiest people they had ever seen! The American Army had us cleaned up in new clothes, gave us food with no salt in it, and all the eggnog we could drink. We were put on a C-47 Troop Carrier and were airborne to Camp Lucky Strike in France to get in shape to sail by ship to the U.S.A. We received proper food to eat and the treatment that all of us had forgotten about. It was unbelievable how all my buddies and I responded. The hardest thing was to act like actual human beings instead of animals. Books and literature tell how to be a civilian. Some things about being a proper person did not come back to normal, and I wonder if it ever will. I don't know how long we were there — maybe two weeks — long enough to be in shape to sail to America.

Seven days later in Boston, Massachusetts, we could see the harbor lights from a distance. We had not seen lights for a long time. The next morning the ship was docked and down the gang plank we came. We put foot on U.S.A. soil! What a wonderful feeling it was! We went by train to an army camp called Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts. This camp had some German POWs that had not yet been shipped back to Germany. They were workmen in the mess hall that fed the troops. They were as fat and well fed as fat rats, living a life of luxury. Somehow that didn't set just right in our minds after the treatment we had received in prison camp, so we started a fight. We chased them all the way out of camp. That night the Commander in Chief of the camp told us if we did not find them and bring them back, we would not have any cooked food for supper. As hard as it was to do, we did it. I never saw anyone so afraid of anyone as they were of us.

A few days later, we were again interrogated and sent home on a 60-day furlough. After that I was sent to Hot Springs, Arkansas and stayed in the Majestic Hotel for rehabilitation. I think I was there three months. I was then scheduled to go to Fort Carson, Colorado, to train incoming troops. A few hours before I was to leave Hot Springs, an order came from the government. It said anyone who had been a POW for 90 days could automatically be discharged if they so desired, My choice was to be discharged, I was sent to Camp Chaffey, Arkansas on November 25, 1945, to be discharged November 27, 1945.

I promised myself I would never be that cold or hungry again. My mother told me when left this country U.S.A. — "Believe this: 'God will help those who help themselves.' I stayed with this belief all through this, It did seem to work. If you gave up, it could be very bad for you.


The Von Rundstedt attack was thrown in force at the 106th Division on the 16th of December, 1944, The Germans were so quiet about this attack they laid straw in front of the tracks of tanks to muffle the sound. The 422nd and 423rd Infantry Regiments were encircled and cut off from the remainder of the Division by a junction of enemy forces in the vicinity of Schonberg. They regrouped for a counterattack but were blocked by the enemy and lost to the Division on December 18th and 19th, 1944. We were in support of the 423rd Infantry Regiment. An American cemetery is at Hinri Chapella, Belgium or Luxenburg.

P.S.: Former prisoners of war of Nazi Germany may be interested in this recipe for "World War H Black Bread." This recipe came from the official record from the Food Providing Ministry, published as top secret," Berlin 24, 21-1941, from the Director of Ministry, Herr Mansfield and Herr Moritz, It was agreed that the best mixture to bake black bread was 50% bruised rye grain 20% sliced sugar beets 20% tree flour "saw dust" 10% minced leaves and straw.

From our own experience with black bread, we also saw bits of glass and sand, Someone was cheating on the recipe? We got one slice, sometimes two, a day. It was junk to eat, but better than nothing even if we did sometimes have to spit out bits of glass. We would eat the sand. This, a slab of horse meat, and a bowl of rutabaga soup each day was our fare. Sometimes on Sunday we might get a small bowl of pea soup extra.


Keith went in 1945, pretty much the end of the war. He joined the Navy and served until 1948 in the Caribbean area. While he was in Oklahoma City, he hitchhiked home on a three day pass. Soldiers in uniform were given rides and he made it back within the time he had.


John Reasoner went into the service in November 1951, when he was 19, and was discharged in 1953. He graduated from Murray high school and worked in communications for the railroad. He was accustomed to climbing high poles and towers, and was sent to Okinawa where he also maintained the communication towers. He is retired from the railroad now and lives in Wyoming.


Bob went in 1952 until 1955. He was trained to be an artillery surveyor, sent to Korea as a forward observer, going ahead of the line to observe the impact of the artillery. He was involved with a group from Turkey and said they were good soldiers, who fought for the cause. He died in 1962.


I went into military service during 1956 and was out in 1958. While I was stateside, I worked in the 9th Division Headquarters in Ft. Carson, Colorado. I had a six-year obligation and would have been happy to go to Europe, but the Viet Nam conflict was just starting at the end of my duty as a reserve, so I could have been sent there or to Korea. Twice I was on stand-by notice but was discharged before I was recalled to active duty. Again it was tense times for the U.S.A. When Clarke County installed the street signs for the 911 system, the road that went past our farm was called "Freedom Street." I thought that was so appropriate.

Don is now a Clarke County Supervisor, with connections which enable him to make sure veterans receive government assistance to which they are entitled. Peggy Cummings is Director of General Relief, which included chairing the Veterans' Affairs Committee. The American Legion takes some responsibility for this, and AMVETS, in which Don is involved.

At the time of this writing (August, 2005) Don tells about attending an AMVETS convention in Kansas City. "One of the topics addressed our need for more support of the National Guard. We have a different situation now. We don't have enough numbers in the regular military so they are calling up more of the National Guard. There are close to as many Army National Guard in Iraq as there are regular Army. They are coming back with a lot of mental stress. A lot of them just need to be talked with, and let them tell their problems — both men and women. A lot of women joined the National Guard because it was just weekends and it paid fairly well. It was a second income to support the household. Their duty had been mostly homeland security, but now many of them are serving active time over there. One fellow mentioned at this convention that he had a son-in-law over there and it was 138° with 60 mile an hour winds. How can a person survive that? That's tough! But there is no part of war that isn't. Don commented, "There has been lots of controversy about The Bomb, but I saw a bumper sticker awhile ago that said, 'If there hadn't been a Pearl Harbor, there wouldn't have been a Hiroshima.' I guess that is true. Lots of lives were lost but lots were spared."


Earl was the son of Ray and Alice Reasoner, a cousin of the Reasoner men just mentioned. He was a soldier in the U.S. Army, now deceased, and buried in the Indianola cemetery.


Lewis is a Civil War veteran, born in 1834. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 28, 1862, and served in Company B 181 Iowa Infantry. He died of a disease at Sedalia, Missouri, September 11, 1862, and is buried in the National Cemetery, Jefferson City, Missouri, Section 5, grave 2. The information taken from the book by Mrs. Dorothy Jones and Mrs. Lou Miller.

SMITH, PAUL, son of Arin and Jessee Smith, U.S. Army. Deceased.


Civil War veteran, born 1832, in New York. Enlisted July 24, 1862, and served in Company B 18th Iowa Infantry. He died at Springfield, Missouri, February 18, 1863, and is buried in the National Cemetery at Springfield. Section 9, grave 11. The information taken from the book by Mrs. Dorothy Jones and Mrs. Lou Miller.




Discharge papers have just been discovered for T.F. Yetts as follows: (The discrepancy of the last name is as it appears on the certificate.)


KNOW YE, That whereas T.F. Yetts, of Hopeville, in the County of Clarke and State of Iowa, has applied for a


THIS IS TO CERTIFY, That the aforesaid as Theodore F. Yeates, was enrolled the 23rd day of July, one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, as a Private Company "K", 116th Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers, to serve 6 months, and was honorable discharged on the 2nd day of March, 1864, at Layette, Indiana, while holding the grade of Private, and serving honorably in the military service of the United States.

This Certificate is given in case of discharged soldiers upon evidence that original discharge has been lost or destroyed without the privity or procurement the person entitled thereto, and in all cases upon the condition imposed by the Act of Congress approved March 3, 1873, that it "shall not be accepted as a voucher for the payment of any claim against the United States for pay, bounty, or other allowance, or as evidence in any other case."

Given at the Adjutant General's Office, War Department, Washington, D.C., the 17th day of March, A.D. 1885.

V.H.C. 1964 D. 1885                                                                                            Thomas Ward
J.T.                                                                                                          Assistant Adjutant General

Filed July 29, 1938 at 10:10 A.M.                                                                Signature Inez Forney, Recorder






Return to main page for Veterans from Hopeville and Murray by Fern Underwood

Last Revised October 29, 2019