Hamilton County


Clinton J. Larson




SERVICEMEN WRITE (to Joy Hanson, Editor of the Ellsworth News)

From Clinton Larson

In this letter I am going to try to give you a word picture of what we boys of the 901st had to experience as part of our training last Tuesday.

Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock we fell out in formation with steel helmets and leggings. We boarded our trucks and proceeded to ride for several miles to the vicinity of the rifle ranges. When we dismounted we found ourselves in a rather desolate looking spot. We saw in front of us a wooden tower, I should judge about thirty-five feet high and then on the ground about twenty-five yards on each side of it was a machine gun emplacement. In the background was a mass of barbed wire. We were beginning to get an idea of what was about to take place.

A captain stranger to us called us into formation and began to explain to us what it was all about. He said that we were about to experience a simulated battle and bombardment and the purpose was to give us a taste of what it is like to be under actual fire and bombardment.

He explained that if we paid close attention to his instructions we wouldn’t get hurt, but if we didn’t we could possibly be hurt or even killed. We paid attention. Well he then said that we were going to have to crawl for fifty yards through barbed wire entanglements, with dynamite charges blasting all around us and with two machine guns trained at us and shooting live bullets a few inches above the ground. We were instructed to crawl as close to the ground as we could and keep our heads and behinds down; otherwise a bullet would be likely to put a crease in us. Also it was explained that the dynamite charges wouldn’t harm us if we didn’t crawl into these holes. The ground would probably shake under us and we’d be covered with dirt but that was all.

So after we had our instructions we were marched down to the far end of the course. We stood at arms length apart facing the barbed wire and machine guns. At the sound of a whistle we dropped to the ground and began to crawl. I had crawled quite a ways before the first charge went off. It was not very close and I hardly noticed it because I was trying to get through the first of the wire entanglements. I got through all right and kept on crawling with the dynamite exploding all around but not too close. Then I came to a trench and crawled into it to catch my breath. The dust was very thick and it was hot in that trench.

Then the machine guns started to chatter and I could hear the bullets whistling overhead. They were also shooting tracer bullets too, so that about one out of five you could see. The rest of the boys were rolling into the trench right and left of me. An officer rolled in almost on top of me and was his face and mouth full of dirt and dust. He must have been close to one of the charges.

Well, there was quite a distance to cover yet so I thought I’d better get going. I crawled out of the trench and the bullets were much closer. Maybe you don’t think I hugged that ground. More wire, and it was tough getting through. Before I realized it I had crawled right up to one of the holes where the dynamite was, and just then the charge was set off. The earth shook like the back of a galloping horse and the dirt and dust showering down was terrible and I couldn’t breathe at all. I laid there till the smoke and dust had cleared a little so I could see where I was going and then continued crawling. After struggling through more wire, I came to another trench which was the end of the course and I crawled into it. I laid there gasping for air for about five minutes and then the whistle blew, indicating that it was all over.

What a sight we were when we all stood up again. We had a hard time recognizing each other because we were so completely covered with dust and dirt. Many had large holes ripped in their coveralls, made of course by the wire. I hadn’t noticed it before but I had a gash about an inch long in my hand. It wasn’t very deep but it hurt some. We then had the chance to watch some of the rest of the boys as they went through what we just had and we enjoyed that very much.

Training like that is truly tough but to a soldier it is also interesting and fun and I wouldn’t mind doing it again. No doubt it’s the closest we’ll come to being under actual fire until we get across.

I got my medal yesterday; you remember I told you I was going to get one for my rifle shooting. It was very formal with the captain himself pinning it on my shirt.

It’s windy and dusty these days and comfortable hot as usual.

Clinton Larson

(Clinton is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Larson of Randall. He is stationed at Camp Blanding, Fla.)

Source: Ellsworth News, May 26, 1943

Clinton J. Larson was born June 16, 1917 to He died June 24, 2012 and is buried in Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island, IL.

Pvt. Larson served with the U.S. Army in World War II where he maintained wheeled vehicles, such as Jeeps and trucks. He worked close to the fighting action from North Africa to Italy, France and Germany.

His Obituary: Funeral Home

Clinton J. Larson, 95, of Rock Island, died Sunday, June 24, 2012, at his home.

Funeral services are 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Lutheran Church, Rock Island. Burial is at Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island. Visitation is 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home, 3030 7th Ave., Rock Island.

Memorials may be made to First Lutheran Church or to the scholarship fund of the Catfish Jazz Society.

Clinton was born on June 16, 1917, in Randall, Iowa, a son of Clarence and Jenny Nordskog Larson. He married Louise A. Smith on June 1, 1947, in Rock Island.

He retired in 1980, from the J.I. Case Co., Bettendorf, where he was a product design engineer.

Clint was a World War II U.S. Army veteran. He was a longtime member of First Lutheran Church, Rock Island, where he attended the adult Bible study, had served on the church council and was a member of the church choir for many years. He played the trumpet for many years, and was a member of the Catfish Jazz Society and Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Society. Clint used his musical talents to entertain groups at nursing homes, churches and at other venues throughout the area.

Survivors include his wife, Louise; sons and daughter-in-law, Michael Larson, Rock Island, and Ted and Jan Larson, Dallas; daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Brad Chumbley, Moline; grandchildren, Christopher and Cara Chumbley and Matthew Larson; sisters, Betty McDowell, Walnut Creek, Calif., and Thelma Potthoff, Redmond, Ore.; and brothers, David Larson, Randall, Iowa, and Lawrence Larson, Slater, Iowa. He was preceded in death by his parents; and an infant son, Dale.

Source: ancestry.com