Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

04 Sep 1944




Frank Miles Writes About Mason Cityans in Italy

Gives Story of 31 Months of Overseas Service by Guthman

By FRANK MILES (Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

Somewhere in the Mediterranean War Theater (IDPA) -- Pvt. Elwood Guthman, of Mason City, as 34th Infantry Division infantryman, has started his 31st month overseas. Although he has been wounded twice, he says that he is perfectly willing to remain here until the nazis are defeated but that he feels the government should have him on his way home to stay within a week afterward.

Guthman wears a combat infantry's badge, which isn't issued with rations. You've got to be a real fighting man to get one. Enemy steel hit him April 13 and again May 29, but he was very much up and at 'em when I met him.

Guthman landed in Belfast, Ireland, in February of 1942, went from there to Africa where he was in "Palace Guards" for awhile, then landed in Italy with his outfit to chase Germans almost the full length of the country. On April 13, the wife to whom he had been married Nov. 19, 1941, died in Mason City.

"It was a tough blow to get that message," he said, "but there was nothing I could do but carry on."

Born on a farm near Colo, Iowa, Guthman was in young manhood a farmer, save for a few months spent assembling machinery parts at Mason City (for Sears-Roebuck).

"If things go right when I return I am going back to the farm and stay there the rest of my life," he declared.

Lt.Col. Carroll Peeke, American army public relations officer with the Brazilian Expeditionary Forces, happened along while we were visiting. The colonel, a big, pleasant, colorful individual and formerly a writer on the San Francisco Call-Bulletin and the Washington, D.C., Times-Herald, shook hands cordially with the sturdy, clean cut young Iowan.

"What that boy has done and is doing for America and what he will do in his humble way for the future stability of the country simply cannot be estimated," the colonel said to me. "My cap comes off to youths of his type." [photo of Guthman included with this text]

When the late Vincent Harrington of Sioux City was ninth district representative in Congress, he and Colonel Peeke were next door neighbors in Washington.

"I was very fond of Vince," said the colonel. "His sudden death while on duty as an army major in England was as great a blow to me as if he had been my own brother."

Recalling his pleasant association with him, Col. Peeke smiled: "He made me like Iowa after I hated the state for several years. Reason for that was that once when I was crossing tall corn land in an old Ford, I got stuck in your fertile mud 3 times and once thought my machine would submerge before a farmer with 6 horses could pull it out."

That, of course, was before Iowa acquired its now excellent cross state roads.


Names of Iowans I found registered in the state's registration books at the Red Cross officer's club in Rome:

Majors Martin J. Purcell, Clinton and Charles H. Fee, Dennison; Capt. Homer E. Bradshaw, Des Moines; Lts. D.C. Radloff, Farmersburg: Paul F. Schaler, Burlington; Robert E. Mullin, Sheldon; Eddie Jones, Mason City, and Harry S. Carl, Jr., Waterloo.

"I've been over here 2 years but if they'll let me go home and see mom and pop for 30 days after we lick the nazis I'll be glad to go over against the Japs until they are finished." said Pfc. Leonard Woolsey, a Cedar Rapids artilleryman.

Source: The Mason City Globe-Gazette, September 4, 1944 (photos included)

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