Mt. Pleasant News

Mt. Pleasant, IA

13 Feb 1945




Long Jeep Ride Takes Miles to Iowan’s Rendezvous

By Frank Miles

With the Fifth Army in Italy (IDPA)
T-5 Robert Schockley, Des Moines,, and I shook hands for the first time in a North Italy town the jerries had zeroed. “Zeroed” means kept red hot with shell fire.

Overseas 36 months and with many battles behind him, the young Iowan was performing his duties calmly.

T-5 Russell Hughes
stood by smiling while we were talking. “I live in Ames”, he said.

The three of us “disgusted” some “foreign” soldiers by bragging about the state from which we had come and which we wanted to return.

Shockley’s father, Harry Shockley, Des Moines, was a corporal in the 168th infantry, rainbow division World War 1, got into this one, was wounded in the Aleutians, received a medical discharge and has been trying to get back into uniform.

Pfc. E.G. Mortenson, Omaha, Nebr., former editor of the Carter Lake Booster, and now the public relations of the 351st 'Spearhead" infantry told me how to reach the place where I met Shockley and Hughes. I had found Mortensen in the windowless, lantern-lighted only intact room of a shell torn house.

Cpt. Thomas Gossard, Ames, of the operations sector of the 88th headquarters, gave me the directions from which, after a long jeep ride on rough, snowy trails and through icy streams, I reached Mortensen's rendezvous. Gossard, a former postal clerk, served in Africa before coming to Italy.

After leaving Shockley and Hughes, my driver and I journeyed on until a husky, helmeted little GI with a carbine, on guard as a road blocker, told us to halt. He explained I might get shot by the nazis if I went on and what would be worse I might draw fire on yank soldiers in the area. As I made for battalion froward command post German machine guns opened an attack on a company positions on a ridge to my left. Two heavy enemy shells crunched in the valley behind me.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, February 13, 1945

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