Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

24 Jan 1945




Iowa Youth Eludes Nazis for a Week


With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) -- An Iowa youth, who was knocked unconscious by a shell, recovered hours later to find himself in enemy territory. He dodges nazis for a week, got a little food from a friendly Italian family, ate some black bread which Germans had left on a former camp site and finally surprised comrades of his outfit by returning to them ready for action. Information on nazi installations and movements he acquired proved of great value to his officers. His name cannot be made public until after the war ends.

Another Iowan, well known for his athletic exploits in one section of the state, while in an Italian city, led a would be buyer of army issued toilet articles, candy and tobacco for a black market into the hands of the authorities.

An Iowa special police ordered to guard two American prisoners on an outdoor job discovered one was a boyhood friend and school classmate in their home town.

"Folks at home, who let down in activities thinking the war is almost over, should realize you can get killed just as dead by the last shot as by the first one in a fight," remarked a fifth army GI.

Two escaped Jerry prisoners were recaptured a short distance from a house in which I was sleeping. They knocked on a door of the residence of an old Italian and asked for food, saying they were American soldiers. One wore German paratrooper trousers, the other ordinary German army field pants and both had on PW jackets inside out.

Suspicious, the native called two American GIs of a signal battalion working nearby and they were taken into custody.

Cpl. Warren M. Johnson, 22 year old Des Moines youth of the 34th division homeward bound on 30-day furlough, has a splendid record.

A former national guardsman, he landed overseas with the 168th infantry in April of 1942. After service in Scotland and Ireland, he was in the original landing at Algiers and was a rifleman, runner, bugler and mail orderly in the Tunisian and Italian campaigns through the cracking of the Gothic line.

He was awarded the purple heart and oak leaf cluster for wounds received in the Tunisia fighting. He wears the European theater ribbon with four campaign stars and the combat infantryman badge. His first battalion won the distinguished unit citation for heroic action at Mount Pantano, Italy, which enables him to wear a medal signifying his part in the battle.

Johnson was graduated from North high school in the capital city. He was engage in photography work before entering the army.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, January 24, 1945

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