Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

11 Jan 1945





Krivohlavy, 34 Months in Italy, Is "Rookie"

With Frank Miles
(Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) -- "Please don't go any further down this road. We don't want you to get shot and we don't want you to draw fire on our men dug in down there a little ways."

A sergeant was speaking to an army private and me in a jeep in front of a shell battered house on a trail in the Apennine mountains of North Italy.

"Come in and rest," invited 2 field artillery observers, who also had come out to warn us against going ahead. An observation post was on the 2nd floor and a battalion aid station on the ground floor of the structure.

"Who here is from Iowa?" I inquired upon entering and noting the offers and GI's were of the 34th division.

"I, 2nd Lt. John R Peters, of Fairfield," smiled a blonde, curly-headed youth of medium height and build.

"Private first class Leroy Crandall, Hampton," said a brawny soldier, extending his hand.

"Private first class Frank Krivohlavy, of Mason City," from a slender lad.

Pfc. Krivohlavy is the son of Mrs. M. Krivolahvy, 604 Jackson S.W.

"How long have you boys been overseas?" I asked.

"Thirty-five months" replied Peters

"Same here," from Crandall.

"Only 34 for me," grinned Krivohlavy.

"Rookie," kidded Peters.

They were in a hot spot.

"We stay under cover in day time," said the captain in command.

"This place probably is a little hard to hit by jerries from where they are now," added a GI, "but a look at all the shell holes in the valley out there across the road will show you how they have tried to blast us out."

"I hope it's safer here than the last house we were in," said a private. "We lost 23 men in one night there."

I was glad to leave.

We were about a mile away and turned into a road in enemy view when a screaming whistle close to our heads and a crunching explosion and flying dirt on the slope at our left made us realize we had had a close call.

My jeep driver grinned said something about "Get out of here" and stepped hard on the accelerator, handling the car perfectly.

I tried to grin too, but a photograph of my expression, I am sure, would have looked like I had cramps in my stomach.

"You must have written something Hitler didn't like so his boys tried to knock you off," chuckled the jeep driver.

Capt. Francis Murray of Detroit, Mich., photo liaison officer and commanding officer of the 3225 signal service detachment of the 50 army, told me proudly that he was in the marine crop in 1918 with 2 famous State University of Iowa athletes. Glen and Aubrey Devine, originally of Des Moines. The captain spent many years in Hollywood in work related to the motion picture industry.

Pvt. Allen C. Stanford of Clinton, is one of a small group of doughboys getting high praise in the 5th army for killing 16 and capturing 15 Germans in a recent battle.

The Americans, serving in the 88th "Blue Devil" division, were trying to set up a road block when they discovered nazis in a nearby house. They attacked and took 15 captives.

The other jerries had fled a short distance where they met more of their kind. Together they surrounded the house Pvt. Stanford and buddies then occupied and opened a furious fire from self-propelled weapons, artillery, mortar and small arms. One nazi crawled up close and fired a round from his rocket launcher. The explosion set the structure on fire.

Meanwhile, the Yanks had slain 16 of their enemies without the loss of a man and, when smoke from the burning building enveloped the area, they slipped out and back to their own lines.

Pvt. Stanford is in the 349th infantry, nicknamed the "Krautkiller regiment."

Fifth army headquarters has announced the names of 8 Iowa soldiers of the 34th division, who were homeward bound on 30 day furloughs after more than 2 1/2 years overseas:

Staff Sgt. Gerrit Koerselman, George; Sgt. Gail F. Ambrose, Gravity; Sgt. Harold A. Adams, McIntire; Pvt. John D. Confield, Clinton; Sgt. Edward O. Orgell, Eldora; Tech. Sgt. Ovbert A. Thorvilson, Lake Mills; Tech. Sgt. Joseph Horkey, Remsen, and Sgt. Claude A. Elder, Farmington.

Koerselman holds the silver star for gallantry in action and wears the purple heart. His brother Anthony C. is a sergeant at Fort Bragg, N. Car. Ambrose has the purple heart. Adams has 2 division citations and the purple heart. Cenfield has the combat infantryman badge, the good conduct medal and the European theater ribbon with 3 campaign stars.

Orgell, a light mortar platoon squad leader, has the purple heart and the combat infantryman badge. Thorvilson, wounded 4 times in action, has the purple heart with 3 oak leaf clusters, and the combat infantryman badge. Horkey has the purple heart and combat infantryman badge Elder has the combat infantryman badge. His brother. Pfc. Ralph Elder is somewhere in the south Pacific.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, January 11, 1945

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