Muscatine Journal News-Tribune

Muscatine, IA

06 Dec 1944





German Prisoners Are Grateful to Allies

(Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) -- Two nazis were among wounded brought from a battle field in an American ambulance to a 34th division clearing station when Maj. Loyd K. Sheperd, Des Moines, in command there, Maj. Roger M. Minkel, Fort Dodge, executive officer of the battalion, and I were sitting near the entrance.

"Our enemies who come here as combat victims are accorded exactly the same treatment we give our own like sufferers," Major Sheperd said. "Many of them, believing lies of their officers, at first fear we shall kill them or torture then but when they learn the truth they are almost without exception grateful. Of course nothing can take nazi insanity out of their minds."

The major, who had been overseas more than 30 months, said the only time he didn't like the American policy with German wounded was when, after their airmen had bombed his outfit establishing a hospital on a beach, one of their pilots shot down by our fighters was carried in to him.

"Of course we did our best by the fellow and he got well," the major added.

I had started in a heavy rain for the front with a GI driver of a jeep as my only companion. We were within sounds of artillery fire when our machine suddenly skidded into a truck parked by the side of the road across for a small, shell battered town. I missed bruises by inches. Our top props got a nice bending.

While I viewed the damage I talked with Sgt. Paul Land, Boone, of a field artillery regiment. I accepted an invitation to see his outfit on a side road about a mile away.

About 10 minutes of muddy chugging took me to my destination, where in a damp room of a shattered old house I found 6 more Iowa soldiers,all of whom were among the first American troops to land overseas after the United States was forced in the World War II. They were:

Warrant Officer Carl R. Nelson, and Staff Sgt. Robert D. Lindmark, Boone; Staff Sgt. Hayden B. Pope, Des Moines; T/ Dale E. Mace, Waterloo; T/4 Francis Weiderman, Fort Dodge; and T/5 Ernest R. Last, Beaver.

I ate lunch with their immediate commanding officer at a crude table in the open, foggy air near a truck from which GI's were served as they filed by with mess kits.

While there I met Sgt. Donald Knight, Grand Junction, a husky, blond, soft-spoken chap, who joined the Iowa national guard almost 10 years ago. His buddies said he was a "champion coffee drinker."

From that session I jeeped to where Majors Shepard and Minkel were on duty.

Sgt. Donal Cejka of Iowa City, directed me to where I met them, after introducing me to Pvt. Alvin Miller, Des Moines.

Upon leaving the majors I ran into a flock of Hawkeye "medics" in this manner. I said something about the weather to 3 youths I saw in an empty garage near where my jeep was parked and the talk brought out they were from Iowa. Word got around an Iowa war correspondent was there and in a few minutes a "Tall Corn convention" was on. I took down these names:

T/5 Joe Knoedl, Sgt. George Hatz, T/4 James Lenoch, Staff Sgt. Howard Demry, and Pvt. Robert Shaffer, all of Iowa City; Pvt. Francis Potter, Neola; T/5 Edgar Radi, Des Moines; Sgt. Cleo Hall, North English; Pfc. Paul Johnson, Keokuk; Pfc. Don Hickburn, Winthrop; T/4 Paul Lacox, Nodaway; T/5 Robert Thompson, Vinton;and Pfc. Cecil Main, Grand Meadow, Minn. formerly of Colfax.

It was raining hard when I left them but got back to press camp, wet and mud pastered but happy over my Iowa day.

Source: Muscatine Journal News-Tribune, Dec. 6, 1944

Return to News Index