Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

11 Oct 1944





Former Hampton Man Is Now in Italy

By FRANK MILES (Iowa Daily Press Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) - Lt. Col. De Loss Marken, Des Moines, senior chaplain of the 34th Division, 5th army, is a native of Hampton, Iowa. He was a young sailor in Uncle Sam's navy in World War I. After that he studied for the ministry at Drake university and the University of Minnesota, was pastor of the Church of Christ at Maxwell, then took the pulpit of the College Avenue church of his denomination in the hawkeye capital 15 years ago.

Always interested in veterans affairs, he became chaplain of the Argonne Post of the American Legion in Des Moines, and was made the state chaplain of the Legion for 1937-38. A lover of peace but never a peace-at-any-price pacifist, he had many friendly clashes with fellow clergy men during the years of peace and often made speeches before lay organizations expressing his belief that while the United States should be fair and co-operate with other nations, our only assurance of safety lay in strong military defences.

In 1934 he became chaplain of the famous 168th infantry of the Iowa national guard. When the mobilization order came early in 1941, he debated whether to resign or go along. He was doing a great work and he was along in years when called.

He landed overseas in February of 1942. He has been in England, Scotland and Ireland, across Africa, where he won the Legion of Merit for outstanding activities and the devotion of every man with whom he came in contact.

Those who saw him on the front, sleeping in the desert at night, crawling out to minister to wounded men and doing a thousand and one other things in that campaign, say his valor and fortitude could not be surpassed.

In Italy, he has made his record even brighter. From Salerno to the Arno river and beyond, Chaplain Marken has pushed on with the men he feels are like sons and brothers and always he has been the clean man of God he was when a preacher in Iowa.

The chaplain speaks in horror of German booby traps, tenderly of dead and wounded men he has seen go down fighting bravely. He says he won't want to talk about what he has seen when he returns home, but at the same time says he will do everything possible to see that the victory won will not be lost by destructive elements within and that the coming peace will be lasting.

Twice the writer missed him calling at his tent. The morning after my second visit a sergeant came to me at breakfast in the field to say I was wanted on long distance telephone.

"Who in the world could be calling me out there?" I wondered in alarm.

My thoughts were a rush of confusion as I rushed down through the brush to see who it might be.

It was Chaplain Marken. He wanted to know the soonest possible day he could see me to talk about Iowa and Iowans. We arranged a meeting. Wearing a dusty smile under a steel helmet, he came striding in where I had just unlimbered my typewriter to do a story. How we did visit.

The chaplain thwarted efforts to induce him to talk about himself until I fairly pinned him down. What a book he could write. Two assertions made a deep impression upon me:

"I am for every reasonable peace measure but as the father of an 11-year-old son I am in favor of requiring every boy in America to take a year of military training.

"I am proud that among the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish chaplains in my outfit, no dead soldier of ours has been buried without committal services."

He had 5 services scheduled in his area for the Sunday after the day I saw him and his jeep driver, who has been with him throughout his service overseas, confided that "he's the busiest man in the army."

Mrs. Marken, who was ordained a minister by the chaplain's church, after he departed, and their 2 children, June, 14 and Robert, 11, are in Des Moines.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, October 11, 1944

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