Quad City Times

Davenport, IA

05 Nov 1944





Describes Dangerous Jobs of Corpsmen and Grit of Wounded

By Frank Miles
(IDPA War Correspondent)

With the Fifth Army in Italy (IDPA) -- Pvt. (f.c.) Gordon Watkins, Eddyville, a hospital corps man, is impressed by the stoicism of American wounded.

"The worse the boys are hurt, the less they complain," he said. "I marvel at the way most of them take it."

Noting he was wearing the insignia of the 34th division and displayed five overseas bars on his left sleeve, I engaged him in conversation in the spacious building which houses the fifth army rest center and one of the Red Cross rendezvous for enlisted men,.

The 27 year-old Hawkeye landed with his outfit in England in February of 1942 after training at Camp Claiborne, La., where he was jeep driver for Brig. Gen. Gordon C. Hollar, Sioux City.

A hospital corpsman and litter bearer attached to a clearing station for wounded men, he had seen across North Africa and up thru Italy much suffering inflicted by combat.

Two comrades joined us.

They were Sergt. Don Owens, 25, a reconnaissance company aid man, and Corp. Frank Furry, 27, of the night fighters ground forces of the 12th army air force. Both are from Newton.

Met in Florence

Owens came across in February of 1942. Furry, who had been in the army 33 months, came last August. School chums, the two youths got together in Florence for the first time in three years. Owens' father, the late Burrell Owens, was a Spanish-American war veteran, and Furry's father, was in World War I.

The sergeant has one of the most important and dangerous jobs in the army. Without a weapon he goes froward with fighting men to minister to those who are hit and get them to ambulances as soon as possible.

"If a man is bleeding we try to check the flow with a tourniquet or compress, give him necessary drugs, bandage the wounds hurriedly, pin on a medial tag as fast as we can then rush him to a conveyance to he taken to a clearing station, where he ill receive some real treatment before being sent on to an evacuation hospital," Owens said.

Many company aid men are killed and wounded for they are as fully exposed as combat soldiers. They are not allowed a badge, which would entitle them to $10 a month extra pay, such as those are given to some fighters but most of the fighters think they should be.

One of the best

Private Watkins said one of the best men at his station was Pvt. Gage Miles, 25, Cedar Rapids, a clerk.

Iowans seem to draw Iowans for while Watkins, Owens, Furry and I were chinning, Pvt. (f.c.) Lyle Cloud of Galva, and T/5 Chester Kahl, of Holstein, buddies of an infantry company in the 91st division approached casually. Neither knew any one of the other three GIs but they got acquainted quickly.

Cloud, 22, who looked younger, showed me a picture of his baby daughter, Mary Annette, born May 12, whom he had never seen. Both he and Kahl, 26, a rural school teacher, had been in terrific front line clashes with the enemy, but wouldn't talk much of their experiences.

Up came a buddy of theirs, a tall, husky, blond, T/5 Herbert T. Tedall, 23, Huxley, who was in the Des Moines police traffic department before entering the military.

"Meet the oldest enlisted man in our regiment, 40 years old and a runner," said Cloud turning to a soldier who had joined our group.

Source: Quad City Times, November 5, 1944

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