Pottawattamie County

Sgt. Ernest E. Stark

Silver Star


Local Soldier Wins Silver Star

WITH THE FIFTH ARMY, Italy – Infantrymen on the field of battle are more than just infantrymen. When the going get tough, they double as litter bearers and aid men.

There’s Sgt. Ernest E. Stark, Council Bluffs, Ia. for instance.

When repeated German counter-attacks pinned down his company, during the early states of the Italian campaign, he volunteered to carry wounded comrades to a battalion aid station. On repeated occasions, he went through intense enemy mortar and artillery fire to give them aid, to those who had fallen.

For his outstanding gallantry in action near Mont Chinuza, Italy, last September, Stark has received the Silver Star.

“His heroic and efficient performance under fire,” his citation stated, “was a vital factor in a high ‘espirt de corps’ in combat.”

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Thursday, April 23, 1944, Page 19

They Fought in the Bloodiest Battles of World War II

By Nick Lamberto
Many of them came from Iowa communities; some had never traveled beyond the next farm or a neighboring city or town before they joined the Army.

But before the end of World War II, these same men – members of the U.S. Army Rangers – had participated in seven invasions, leaving a trail of bravery and blood from the sands of North Africa and the scraggy cliffs of Normandy to the jungle trails of Luzon in the Phillippines.

Rugged Training.
. . . . Some received early training in the swamps of Louisiana before America entered World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

“Those were the days in 1940 and 1941 when we thought we could serve our year under Selective Service and get out,” said one Ranger.  There even was a song, “Goodbye, Dear.  I’ll be back in a Year.”  But when war came many of us ended up serving four and five years.”

For Americans, World War II lasted from Dec. 7, 1941, until Sept. 2, 1945, when Japan surrendered.  (Germany surrendered May 7, 1945.)

Iowa’s 34th Infantry Division, originally a National Guard unit, and the First Armored Division furnished cadre members for the newly formed Rangers when they started training at Achnicarry, Scotland, in the summer of 1942.  At least two men died in training there.

Source: The DesMoines Register, Sunday, July 27, 1975 - page 21 (photo included)