Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

24 Feb 1945




Write More Letters Than They Receive

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

With the Fifth Army in Italy (IDPA) --Sgt. Donald G. Davis and Cpl. George A. Thompson, both of Dunlap, operate the post office for the 363rd infantry of the 91st division. It's unusual for two men from a town to be together on such a job. Both worked together in the Dunlap postoffice before the United States entry in World War II.

One morning in 1942 they received identical letters from their selective service board. They were inducted together, trained in the states together, came overseas together. They hope soon to return to Dunlap together.

Use Jeeps, Mules

Letters for front line troops are taken as far forward as possible in jeeps, then put on the backs of mules. They may be carried a last lap by GIs.

Men at the front write more letters that they receive, despite dangers and difficulties, Sergeant Davis says.
"Most of them send about 90 per cent of their pay home," he added.

Make all possible use of V-mail -- it goes through faster, he advises home folks.

Both Iowans say most of the loved ones of men overseas do not write them often enough.

I know one Iowa lad whose mother and sweetheart each write him every day.

"I always write my husband at least once a day, sometimes twice, and I've written him morning, noon and evening," a young wife told me when I was in the States.

Most GIs and officers would rather have a good letter than a good meal if choice were made.

Army rest camps provided for officers and men merit highest praise.

In one of them a tired soldier may get hot baths and palatable food, which he may eat in something like civilian style. He may hear music, see motion pictures and dance if he wishes. He is pretty much his own boss during his stay. Most resters take advantage of opportunities to relax. Few dissipate.

I watched several hundred at a camp recently. Some were writing letters, others buying souvenirs, having packages wrapped to send home, playing ping pong, checkers and cards, listening to an army band. The largest number was lounging in easy chairs batting the breeze.

Welcome Talk

With rare exceptions they welcome conversation with an American civilian, a correspondent for example, but they don't like to talk of battle experiences or how they won decorations. Many are thinking of the future. They are eager to discuss what it might hold for them.

Capt. Julian Hogan, Fort Dodge, a field artillery officer, and I met by chance as he came out of the front lines recently. He had been in the army more than six years and was in the Hawaiian Islands before Pearl Harbor.

Iowa farmers may be thankful they will need have no fear of concealed mines when they start plowing this spring. Some Italian farmers will be blown to pieces by explosives nazis planted when retreating before advancing Americans.

"How do soldiers in the field keep warm in winter times?" A reader of my Iowa Daily Press Association articles asks in a letter. "Please answer in a story, I am sure many people are interested."

They don't keep warm like most folks at home and there are some cases of frost bite but I have yet to hear of an able-bodied American soldier freezing to death.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, February 24, 1945

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