Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

30 Oct 1944





Register Books Help Friends Make Contacts

(Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) -- The American Red Cross in its officers club rooms has books in which visitors may register by states.

These provide a medium through which many old friends find one another and many new friendships are made.

In Florence, Italy, famed as an art center and a haven for tourists before World War II began, the Red Cross has 3 recreation or relaxation centers, one for officers, 2 for enlisted men.

Popularity of the places is attested by the numbers of uniformed visitors there daily.

Hundreds of men wracked by the hardships of the front lines find the comforts of Red Cross rooms and facilities, a near approach to what they would enjoy at home.

Shows, dancing, radio music, snack bars, reading and writing lounges, billiards, pool, table tennis and card rooms with attendants whose courtesy seems to amount to personal interest in each visitor, are of inestimable value in boosting the morale of both officers and GI's on leave. In some cities the Red Cross conducts free bus tours of interesting points every day.

Everywhere close to combat zones Red Cross club mobiles serve hot coffee and hot doughnuts to men of the army. It is not uncommon to see colonels, lieutenant colonels and officers of other ranks in line with sergeants, corporals and privates waiting for turns to receive refreshments.

A person unfamiliar with actual conditions, upon seeing members of Uncle Sam's military forces in the club rooms, sight seeing or eating and drinking on a road side might think they had soft jobs. Unless one knows that for every hour an officer or man may spend in a Red Cross center he puts in scores of hours of arduous duty, possibly under fire, and that for every doughnut he eats and cup of coffee he drinks from Red Cross stands he eats scores of field rations, often with only healthful but bad tasting chlorinated water, he does not get the full picture.

The day this was written I met a young flyer over coffee and cakes at the Red Cross rendezvous. Cold rain had been falling for almost 24 hours. Thought of being out in it was chilling to think nothing of being up in a plane, in a fox hole, in an artillery emplacement, in a pup tent or any other kind fo tent, marching through mud or driving on slippery treacherous mountain trails.

That forenoon a flock of fighter planes had gone over in the direction of the front.

"My outfit!" the airman said answering a question. "Something hot must have broken since I left. How I wish I were with them!"

Shortly afterward I was in conversation with an infantryman who was eager to return to his company from which he had been given 4 days rest after a long period of combat.

"Sure I like this," said the boy, a clear-eyed, rugged westerner, "but I just heard on the radio the Jerries were counter-attacking and I wouldn't feel right if I thought our guys were getting it without me."

These expression reflect the spirit of most of America's defenders over here. They don't like to be at ease when there is an opportunity for action against the enemy.

Iowa army officers registered with the Red Cross in Florence:

Lts. Col. A.F. A. Kluever, Atlantic, De Loss Marken, Des Moines, Robert J. Shaw, Sigourney.

Majs. Alfred G. Karlson, Ames, Paul C. Richmond, New Hampshire.

Capts. Wendell T. Edson, Storm Lake; William E. Hagen, Sioux City; B. Van Verden, Keokuk; Pat Culten, Algona; L.W. Ellis, Kanahwa; John D. Burch, Jr., Lost Nation; C.L. Weston, Newton; James R. Uhler, Keokuk; L. Milton Reiser, Sioux City; R.E. Anderson, Oakland; D.W. James, Webster City; Paul E. Nicks, Dubuque; J.W. Gleason, Ruthven; E.L. Beattie, Council Bluffs.

Lts. Vernon Hart, Ft. Dodge; Charles C. Holte, Washington; Robert H. Wick, Newton; K.A. McCluske, Sioux City; Reuben R. Day, LaPorte City.

2nd Lts. Robert B. Marting, Davenport; Donald W. Hamm, Fairfield; Avis L. Dagit, Williams; John P. Campbell, Dubuque.

WO JG: Robert West, Oseola

ARC: Dorothy E. Downs, Stanwood

The list includes some of the most widely known family names in Iowa.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, October 30, 1944

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