Carroll Daily Times Herald

Carroll, IA

20 Jul 1945




Miles, "Hot and Bothered' As He Arrives In India Sector

By Frank Miles
(Daily Times Herald War Correspondent)

Somewhere in India (IDPA) -- An electric fan is doing its best. I am clad only in a pair of shorts but I mop my brow every other minute as I write in an army barracks room. Prickly heat is fashionable here. I asked a medical corps major how to prevent it.

"You've come to the wrong man," he replied. "I've got it all over me. Use little soap when you bathe and use lots of talcum powder afterward. Go easy on fat producing food."

They say the mercury rises to 140 in the open and 116 in the shade here at this time of year. Most natives wear what looks like a long tailed shirt over a loin cloth, something like a towel around their heads, go barefooted and have few washing worries.

American army officers and men, who have long been here, seem to adjust themselves remarkably well. Living quarters are clean and sanitary. Food is good. One must be careful what he eats and drinks in this country else he may be hit with any one of many diseases.

I landed in Ghandi-land after a long, tiresome flight from Paris in seven days, two of which were in Bari, Italy. I was in Athens for an hour, in Cairo for a night, then stopped in Iraq and Iran, was over Jerusalem and Persia and skirted Arabia before arriving at Karachi from where I winged to this important place in the India-Burma theatre.

At Bari enroute I met Sgt. Robert Woosley, Davenport, a B-24 radio gunner, 19 years of age, who was graduated from high school in June 1943 and intended to go to Iowa State College at Ames after discharge from the army. I shook hands T/Sgt. John Knox, La Cross, Wisc., whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Knox, live in Decorah. He had been on the army four years and overseas 18 months.

At Cairo I met Sgt. Richard Balley, Decatur, Mich., who was born at Danville, in 1918 and lived there until 1926. He was on duty at Payne Field.

Young American officers and men on duty in the far away bases are cheerful, but they are lonesome and homesick. Though they are not under fire they are doing hard, essential tasks among strange people in strange environment, which makes them wish for another kind of life. If you have a relative of friend in uniform in such a spot, write him and send him things as often as you possibly can. You would understand more fully if you could hear as I heard them inquire of pilots whether there was any mail or not.

I was surprised at how keenly interested many were in the recently ended war in Germany when they learned I had just come from there. At one base they gathered around me and asked not fewer than a hundred questions, especially about the concentration camps I had seen.

If you, reader, are a working man you may chuckle over this. There are about 200 Egyptian laborers on job as at Payne Field in Cairo. Strutting around them was a mustached, dusky little fellow about 35 carrying a heavy leather whip. He wore denims, the others shoulder-to-ankle gowns.

"Me Chief Wog," he answered with a fierce look, my question as why he had the weapon, which, was to say he was the boss.

In Paris, I met a 22-year-old private first class, a farm youth, five foot three, weighing possibly 130 pounds, who in 21 months of combat had won the silver star, the bronze star with cluster and the purple heart with cluster. He got the highest decoration for capturing nine Germans single-handedly after a furious fight.

"I'd like to be a guard at the state prison when I get home, if I am big enough," he said.

The writer was going from India to China when this was written.

Source: Carroll Daily Times Herald, July 20, 1945

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