Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

05 Oct 1944




Mason Cityan in Unit Given Miles' Praise

By FRANK MILES (Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

Somewhere in the Mediterranean War Theater (IDPA) -- Major Robert H. Allyn, is the tall, rugged and modest 24 year old Winthrop, Iowa youth, who commands a B-17 squadron know as "Allyn's Irish Orphans." He is one of the most distinguished and beloved officers in the 15th Air Force.

Among the Iowans, who have or are in his outfit: 2nd Lt. Robert H. Keiter, pilot, Fort Dodge; Lt. Carl P. Cassidy, intelligence officer and squadron historian, in civilian life editor of the Lime Springs Herald; M/Sgt. Laurence Schneider, West Bend; S/Sgt George A. Swaroff, electrical engineer, Mason City; Sgt. Calvin E. Kennington, mechanic, Appleton; and Sgt. Lyman L. Samo, photographer and laboratory technician, Reinbeck.

The squadron has effectively bombed Ploesti, Romania; Budapest and many other important nazi strongholds.

The night I met Major Allyn he refused to talk about himself, but was unstinted in praise of his own comrades and those in other squadrons. He conversed about Capt. John Frazier, of Canby, Min., a flight commander who had completed numerous missions and was leaving for home with the air medal and 4 gold leaf clusters. Frazier was born in Griswold, Iowa, graduated from its high school and has told Major Allyn he intends to return to Iowa after the war.

Major Allyn has been in the army less than 4 years. He attended Upper Iowa University before entering military service.

"What are you going to do when you get out of uniform?" I asked.

"I don't know," he smiled. "I'd like to return to college, but right now I am giving most thought as to how to finish the Germans quickly. After that is done, I should like, after a short visit at home in Iowa, to go out and help whip the Japs."

The major was overjoyed because some of his men, who had been prisoners in Rumania, has returned. "This man," he said, putting an arm around one of them - a tall second lieutenant - "actually had the nerve to ask me to let him resume flying instead of going home as he as been ordered to do. I turned his request down flat. He has had enough."

Lieutenant Cassidy talked enthusiastically about Iowa newspapers and Iowa Press association conventions.

Staff Sgt. James W. King, a turret gunner from Ruthven recently was decorated for accomplishments when his squadron of B-17's was attacked by 100 nazi fighter planes.

Cpl. Herbert A. Hibbs of the intelligence section of the bomb group of which Maj. Ally's Squadron is a part, is from Ames. He has 2 brothers in the navy: Gerald F,, a water tender, and James G., a machinist's mate 3/c. Hibbs with a grin said he never appreciated Iowa as much as he should until he got over here.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, October 5, 1944

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