Ames Daily Tribune

Ames, IA

15 Nov 1944




GI's Believe Chance Remote For 1944 end of European War

By Frank Miles
(Iowa Daily Press War Corespondent)

With the Fifth Army in Italy (IDPA) -- When this was written many of the officers and men of the fifth army in North Italy had just read the Stars and Stripes that OWI Director Elmer Davis thought chances of allied victory in Europe in 1944 were remote.


Most of the soldiers in combat and supporting positions fighting the Nazis here agreed. They were sorry but few expressed bitterness.

I talked with GI's on four-day rest from every one of the divisions and with officers of front line outfits in a three-hour visit to a place where hundreds of uniformed Americans were daily coming and going.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised," was the predominant answer to my question about how they felt about it.

A number said they wished there were some way to impress on the people at home how tough a job it really will be to defeat the Germans decisively.

"Yes, I know they read about what we are going through and I think you correspondents do good work," said Sgt. Paul Stafford, Burlington, formerly of Moravia,"but they are too far away to get the actual picture. Without it many cannot be convinced the Nazis still have a lot of power and that it will take time and tremendous effort to dig them out."

Sergeant Stafford, 21, was a infantryman in the 34th division in which he had served more than a year. He knows what it is to march into hostile fire, to shoot at enemies, even to be sent far up to draw fire that would expose the jerries position. He grieves over the loss of friends and worries about those among his comrades who have been wounded, but with a smile on a determined face, he declared that while he hated war he was willingly in it to the finish.

"If they could set up a television machine that would show some of the 'take-it-easy' guys in the states that the game is up in those mountains, maybe they'd buckle down," observed a GI standing near Sergeant Stafford.

"Bring 'em over here and make 'em spend a night with us on the round and then go along in the morning would be better," suggested another.

"That would be too drastic," the sergeant continued, "but I know how they feel. It's sad but true that many of the boys fighting believe most of the people in America are having a good time and don't think about them."

Soldiers like Sergeant Stafford are in no sense whiners. They gripe as GIs will, but they do their duties like men and fight with spirit and skill. Nearly every one praises the courage of officers who lead the attacks. Comradeship in action is well high perfect between the leaders and those they command. Rank is forgotten though discipline is preserved because it spells efficiency.

Sergeant Stafford has three brothers in service, Pfc. Otis, at Fort Bliss, Tex,; S/2c Kenneth, aboard ship in the Atlantic, and S/2c Leo Stafford at Shoemaker, Calif.


Capt. George M. Cherrie, of Cannon City, Colo., a native of Iowa and a resident of Ankeny until 12 years ago, is in command of the 379th prisoner of war escort company of the fifth army. A lawyer by profession, he was in the 3rd anti-aircraft outfit in France in World War I for more than a year. He has been across on the present conflict 18 months with service in Africa and throughout Italy. His mother resides near Ankeny. His wife and six-year old son, Martin, are in Canon City.

Source: Ames Daily Tribune, November 15, 1944

Return to News Index