DEAR JOE: The other night a bunch of us went out to Dr. Fred Knowles’ place at Riverdale to bowl. “Lawn Bowls” I think the game is called. You use a China ball for the target. You throw that out in front of you down a bent grass field 150 feet long and twenty feet wide. This China jack is the size of an overgrown golf ball. At it, you throw your bowling ball, a bakelite ball, as big around as a soft ball, only flat on the sides and weighted to roll to one side. The object, of course, is to get as close to the China jack as possible. You divide up into teams. Each player has two balls. We had four on a team. John Mulroney, Scott Barrett, Harry Kurtz, John Brady, Clayton Pilcher, Granger Mitchell, Hugh Knowles, Tom Roderick were there. We had a great time. Started about seven o’clock and bowled ’til ten, just one game. You see, although 16 balls are bowled, as few as one may count each time. If black has two balls closer than any red ball you get two points for your team. But, of course, black may have only one ball closer than any red ball, then your team would get only one point... Fred has a beautiful place. The one side of the bowling green is a silver brick pigeon tower with several hundred white Pigeons. I'd guess it looks like something out of Normandy. He has a blond Afghan hound named Griskka. Griskka got hit once by a bowling ball and ki-yied just like an alley pooch. And a lot of Persian cats and kittens and 21 peacocks. All this livestock wanders hither and ‘yon, graceful and beautiful, on the bent grass lawn... When we were through with bowling, we had a chilled forty-five-pound watermelon, the best one I’ve had in years. I don’t know where it was grown, but it came from John Brown’s grocery... Everyone on the home front feels the war’s about over. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking but I don’t think so. You Joes are doing the job. And we’ll do our best here, too. We won’t let you down, We'll keep on doing what we can until the final shot is fired... But, Joe, it’s going to be wonderful to have you home. We only hope you'll like it here and will want to stay.
TOWN AND COUNTY. Lehigh is making plans for V-Day. D. L. Williams, Harry Dugger and Orvis Okerland are in charge... C. L. Mattice is new Elks district ruler... Erik Peterson, long time plumber, is dead. He was 69 years old... Cleve Foster, Jr. and Leland McMahon are operating the airport at Eldorado, Kansas ... Humboldt voted a bond issue for a swimming pool Monday—$25,000 worth ... Petty officer Paul Peterson talked to his wife in Otho the other evening by telephone from Hawaii... The Ottumwa Skyers took the Dodgers Sunday, 11 to 3. It was a better game than the score indicates. Proeschold fanned 14 Skyers but got poor support when the chips were down. The Skyers got 13 hits, the Dodgers 8. . . 78 slick chicks are enrolled in the tournament of beauty at Expo Park Pool... Little has been done toward rebuilding the farm homes and barns swept away in our tornado of May 19th. Help and material both scarce... 30 civil air patrol cadets, 15 to 17 years of age, all from Webster County go to Sioux City air base Monday for a week’s training ... The road in Loomis Park, washed out in the spring rains, is now repaired and in use. Oscar Youngquist has sold the Gowrie bakery to Chester Price of Des Moines... H. S. “Hank” Anderson is chairman for the chest and war fund drive... The county went over the top in E Bond sales as well as on its general quota... C. M. Fritz caught the biggest fish taken in Spirit Lake the week of July 16th. It was an eleven-pound northern pike. His prize was a five gallon can of motor oil.
DOWN THE CENTER AISLE. Victoria Stanek and John Otten, S l/c, in Baltimore, June 27th... Beverly Nelson, of Waterloo, and John F. Ault, at Chicago, August 6th. Ault is in the Navy... Anne Crews and Robert Elston, Petty officer in the Navy, August 20th, in Fort Dodge... Betty Jane Reuther, of Chicago, and Marvin E. Johnson/, AMM, of Gowrie, at Hutchinson, Kansas, July 19th ... Lorene Fisher, of Dayton, and Anthony Baronowski, of Shenandoah, Pa., August 6th, in Dayton... Lenore Erickson, of Dayton, and Cpl. Ralph Gill, of Evansville, Ind. at Murray Hill, Fla., July 28th.
HOME TOWN BOYS MAKE GOOD. R. J. Spinharney is now a lieutenant—made it the first of the month and when he gets back here he’s going to marry Alyse Page Jones, of Fairmont, N. C. Congratulations, Lt... To Major. Michael J. Galer, and he’s now getting his mail APO 16328, San Francisco ... To Sgt. Joe Rutledge, in an Italian hospital with a wounded hand... Wings to Pfc. Robert Johnson, now an aerial gunner... Geo. Schnurr, to Lt. (j. g.) in the South Pacific... To flight leader, 1st Lt. Richard Gadd, in the Southwest Pacific... The second oak leaf cluster to Lt. Francis Prendergast, of Moorland, somewhere in England. To Ensign, Lloyd Fuhrmeister, at Princeton University... To Lt., Lewis Katzman, at Aberdeen, Md... To 2nd Lt. August R. Ricke, the air medal... To Cpl., Doug Viers, somewhere in Italy... Wings and a commission in the army air corps to Lt. Gene Soppeland, of Gowrie. Thanks, Gene, for the shoulder patches, also the copy of “Tailspin.” Gene was commissioned at Ellington Field, Texas, August 4th... Dr. Gordon Gunn is now a Lt. in the navy, stationed at a base hospital in San Diego... To Ensign, Dorrance Freed, of Burnside, at Corpus Christi, Texas. He’s now flying at Jacksonville, Fla... To 1st Lt. C. E. “Punk” Larson, in Italy.
GOOD FELLOWS GET TOGETHER. Cpl. Kenneth Muench and Robert Johnson, of Lehigh, somewhere in the South Pacific. Ken’s been down there a long time, hasn’t seen a white woman in a year. “Sherman was right.”... Arthur Hoeflin has just completed gunner’s mate school and is now S1/c. He met John Willie there at Dearborn, Michigan, but John has now been transferred to a base in Calif... Pvt. Chas. Deal, Archie Larson, and Delbert Essling, at Ft. Jackson, S. C.... S/Sgt. Geo. Webb and his brother, 1st. Lt. Paul Webb, in Italy. Paul has been wounded. Geo. heard of it and got a pass to visit him. Paul’s getting better. Geo. also saw Don Haring not long ago. . . Ens. Oscar Habhab, Dorrance Freed and Howard Carlson were together through most of their naval air training. Oscar is now at Jacksonville, Fla... R. O. Block, S 1/c, and Virgil Messersmith, S 2/c, in the New Hebrides. “Virgil had only been here a week and asked what we did for recreation. Ha. Ha. When he learned that I had been here for 17 very long months, he almost passed out.”
THEY WERE IN THE INVASION ON D-DAY and now both are home. Harold Brown, S 1/c, and Lt. Curtis Schill, of Harcourt. Harold was there on a destroyer until a German E boat knocked 60 feet off the front end. Then his boat was towed back to Portsmouth. “Curt” was there as pilot on a Martin Marauder, wing man in the first squadron to leave England for the Normandy beachhead that morning. He made two missions that day. It is a sight he says he will never forget, a bridge of ships from England to France as far as eye could see. He’s home now after 63 missions. Harold got a good look at Portsmouth and says, “of that once thriving city there’s almost nothing left.” It will have to be entirely rebuilt. The Nazis wiped it out during the blitz.
SERVICE PAPERS. The “WAC News” from Pfc. Edith Fiferlick at Ft. Des Moines. Thanks, Edith... The “Godman Field Beacon” from Lt. Carl E. Anderson, Jr., in the Air. Corps. Godman Field, Kentucky, is the training center for the colored bomb squadrons and is the only one of its kind in the country. Thanks, Carl. Carl is instructing there... “The Stars and Stripes” from Rossette Harp, somewhere in France... “The Weekly Mission” from Sgt. Bob Lawson, Sardinia. Thanks, Bob... The “St. Albans Naval Hospital News” from Kermit C. Johnson, GM 3/c, St. Albans, Long Island, New York. Thanks, Kermit... “The Message” from Sgt. C. E. Dueker, Davis, Calif. Thanks, Sgt.
OVERSEAS. Pfc. Joe Monahan has visited Naples, the ruins of Pompeii, some beautiful cathedrals nearby and is planning a trip to Rome... Sgt. Ken Gawtry in Italy, APO 520, has fourteen missions to his credit at the end of two weeks flying. Sounds like a steady job, Ken. Ken’s looking for Dodgers. Anybody in or around 520?... Sgt. Merrill M. Collins, Roy Ross, former S. and L. manager, and Emmett McGough, who used to be with Capital Tobacco, are in the same outfit in France. Merrill was a barber in the Wahkonsa.
DOWN UNDER. Pvt. Carl “Chet” Haugen was with the 27th Division when it hit the beach at Saipan. “It was just about the hottest place there was for a while. And we got our share of Japs.”... Dean C. Noland, SC 1/c, is out there on Island X in the Admiralties. Gosh! and Dean used to be our family butcher... Pvt. Oliver Amandus, of Gowrie, woke up the other night and found a big rat sitting on his chest. The rat dodged a right and a left, thumbed his nose at Oliver and scampered off. Oliver is making with the radio on New Britain Island... Pvt. Dwain L. Hart is on Saipan. “It was plenty rough. Bombing, shelling, strafing. I know. I sure hit for those foxholes.” Thanks, Dwain, for the “Saipan Post Dispatch.” The S. P. D. July 22nd, says “Mess halls, bath facilities and moving pictures are on an operating schedule as efficient as conditions and circumstances permit. Shortly, ice cream machines, bottling plants and a post exchange will reach every unit on Saipan. As time goes on, this island will function as well as any town we know back in the states.” Go to Saipan, young man, go to Saipan!... Pvt. M. C. Dosland, of Lehigh, is on Saipan. “This has been beyond anything I had ever expected. It makes me appreciate the fact that the fight is not going on in the good old U.S. A.”... Cpl. Bill Day is on Saipan. He and 14 of his buddies have taken over a Jap residence. Sounds elegant.
TO GEORGE O. McGINNESS. Pfc., wherever he is. Everyone else can read this, too. George, I’m sorry about that first name business. I don’t know how we could make “Sarge” out of “George.” It shows we’ve got imagination but awful poor eyesight. Our most humble apologies.
A ONE SHILLING SHORT SNORTER NOTE, two pieces of Italian invasion money, a ten lyre note all from S/Sgt. Bob Lawson. We'll say that hello, Bob. Thanks so much.
CPL. JOHNNY SUPPLE TOOK our bowling champ, S/Sgt. Ted Rule, out at Ft. MacArthur last week. Ted's trick knee went bad on him in the third game. There's a return match coming up in two weeks, Y. L. F. H. will cover the engagement. Come on, Ted.
ENJOYING MOM’S COOKING. Pvt. Foster A. Smiley, from Ft. Leonard Wood... W. O. Lampe, S 1/c, after 18 months in the
Southwest Pacific... Ens. Robert Sheker, from Roanoke, Va., enroute to Miami, Fla... Lt. Harold Vinchattle, of Gowrie. Harold received his wings as a pilot in the air corps August 4th... John Ludgate, S 1/c, from Los Angeles, Calif... Pfc. William Roberts, Jr., from Florence, S.C... Don Clark, from 20 months in the South Pacific... S/Sgt. Elliot Colson, home from Poughkeepsie, N. Y., for his mother’s birthday... Lt. and Mrs. Mack Bruce and daughter, Mary Jacquelyn, on their way to Goose Ile, Detroit... Robert Oppeld, 5 2/c, from Farragut... Pvt. Richard Hanson, enroute to Lincoln, Nebraska... Pvt. Paul Bargar, from Camp Shelby, Miss.... Don Guthrie, S 2/c, from Farragut... Cpl. Oscar Phillips, of Lehigh, from Pueblo, Colo. . . S/Sgt. James Semprini, of Lehigh, from Camp Barkley, Tex... Cpl. John Nichols, of Duncombe, from New Mexico... Geo. Drain, Jr., PhM, of Lehigh, from Great Lakes... Pvt. Dean Olson, with the Marines, at San Diego... Ensign James O’Brien, enroute to New London, Conn... Gene Davis, of Barnum, paratrooper, from Ft. Benning, Ga. Gene has just completed his qualifying jumps.
WAR’S GRIM TOLL. Slightly wounded at Naemfoor, New Guinea, on July 3rd, M/Sgt. Ted Essig, has been awarded the Purple Heart... Pvt. Anver Habhab was wounded in action in Italy, July 17th, He is a member of Co. G... Lt. D. M. Hill was hit three times on July 13th in Italy by fire from a machine gun pistol. He is in the hospital and doing fine.
RECEIVED THIS WEEK A VERY NICE SNAPSHOT of Helen and Genevieve Brofer. Helen is a S 2/c and Genevieve is a HA 1/c. Thanks Mrs. Brofer. And from Helen we have “Gosport,” the paper of the naval air station at Pensacola. Thank you, Helen. By the way, in the WAVES anniversary, Helen carried the Saufley airfield banner. Pretty swell, huh?
OVER HERE. K. T. Davis, Gunner U SN, is at Bainbridge, Md.... Lt. R. A. “Ralph” Rubel is instructing at Luke Field, Ariz. He says his folks, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Rubel, are always glad to see any Dodgers who hit the San Francisco Bay area, Their address— 1716 Eighth Street, Alameda, Calif. They've had quite a few Dodgers drop in, Larry Doyle, LaVerne Sinclair, Jake Steib and others... Pfc. Harold Stoddard is with the B-29’s in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
INSIGNIA AND PATCHES. The 4th Army patch, a white four-leaf clover on a crimson background from Carl L. Reed, Camp Swift, Texas. Thanks, Carl... The 89th Div., the rolling “W,” the air corps patch, the aviation cadet patch and the tank destroyer patch all once worn by and all from Cpl. Gilbert J. Strait at Camp Butner, N. C. “Gib” is an assistant squad leader and 1st gunner in an anti-tank platoon, in charge of a 57 millimeter gun and a crew of ten. Thanks, fellow... The shoulder insignia of the 6th Army Corps from Sgt. Bob Lawson, in Italy. “After running Jerry nearly 200 miles north of Rome, we've been on a real rest. But a crack outfit like ours won't be out of action long.” Thanks, Bob... The 12th Army Air Corps from T/Sgt. H. K. Holton, who used to work for the Fort Dodge Grocery. He is in Sardinia now, the crew chief on a Martin Marauder and has been in action for months. Their ship, “Miss Doris H,” has eighty-seven missions to her credit. Thanks, Howard... The 1st Service Command patch from Pvt. Sam J. Sears, Ft. Lewis, Washington. Thanks a lot, Sam.
FROM THE FIVE CORNERS OF THE WORLD. Pfc. Richard T. Machovec, Camp Davis, N, C., “At the present time we're in the midst of a hurricane that started this morning with a terrific rain, which has turned into a lashing rain storm this afternoon when a 50 to 60 mile wind came up. The storm is supposed to reach its peak between 12:00 and 2:00 tonight, so we'll probably have the worst to come yet. They evacuated all the people from Carolina and Wrightsville Beaches today so they must be expecting the worst. Quite a few trees have been blown over already, so I hope it doesn’t get worse. Well, we'll know in the morning.”
Lt. Gordon Mackenzie, San Bernardino, Calif., “There have been a few Fort Dodgers here at the Air Base. Several of the boys I have had out on the Range. Glen Laffer and Orin Thatcher, Lt. Col, and Major, respectively, have been stationed here at one time or another. They, of course, are gone now, as you no doubt know. My one regret is that they did not invite me to accompany them when they left. I see Bob Arn quite often. Perhaps you know him. He is perhaps one of the busiest chaps on the Field.”
Robert Gadd, S 2/c, Norman, Okla., “I believe Mr. Steinbeck left out a few words in his description of this state and its people. It’s worse than that.”
Wm. Skophammer, HA 1/c, “I saw an old friend of mine from Fort Dodge today, Kenneth Pride is his name. We had a swell time talking over the good times we had in Fort Dodge, as civilians. We both used to caddy at the Country Club golf course, back in ‘41 and °42. Sure had fun. I used to caddy for B. J. Price, who, I see by the paper, has died. Sorry to hear that because he was a really swell guy. I have received quite a number of copies of “Your Letter From Home.” I have kept every copy. Intend to keep them to look over after the war. Memories. Ah, yes! Guess I will close.”
Lt. C. E. Larson, Italy, “Hope to see some of the Fort Dodge boys from Co. G. one day soon. Well, can always hope. Just missed them by about 30 minutes the other day. Maybe I ought to settle over here. Plenty of work to be done. Between the Kraut and our own artillery, Steve Qualey would be out of business.”
W. O. Kruse, CSF, Australia, “Came in tonight after a big day’s work. Working in the rain all day and just a bit discouraged. But found two of your Y. L. F. H. waiting for me to read, and I’m telling you and the sponsors they were just a bit more than welcome. If I could only put in words how much they help, I’d be more than a Seabee. But after all I'm a Seabee, so we will try and pave the road to Tokyo and get this mess over with. I’m still stationed here in Australia, had a two week rest period and then we went back on duty and have been on the ball since. Saw quite a bit of Australia so far, but sure wouldn't trade Fort Dodge for the whole of Australia. Everything is so far behind the times. Maybe someday they will change gears and get in motion. Arnold Gosberg and I have quite some chats comparing things here with that at home. But as the Australians say, “The Bloody Yanks Have Everything.” Well, Mr. Breen, some of us have great hopes of paying you and the sponsors a visit about
Christmas time and boy, will we broadcast a Merry Christmas to all.”
T/Sgt. Leo Simmons, England, “I had quite an experience about two weeks ago. It seems that our crew was to be given a three-day pass to go to London for a needed rest. That word rest only lasted a short time. At the time we were there the flying bomb was at its peak over London. My navigator and I had a room in the Regent Palace Hotel in the center of Piccadilly circus. We were in our room, in bed, sleeping very sound, and our minds in the states. But it seems we were annoying Jerry, for he sent over a flying bomb headed for the Regent Palace. It hit the 2nd story. We thanked God; we were on the 3rd. I awoke to find myself on the floor with window glass on the bed. Upon opening the door, I saw nothing but space and three floors down. But never let it be said the German could disturb a Yank’s sleep. We both hit the sack and slept for a couple of hours until things quieted down-a little.
Lt. K. I. Hartman, Italy, “I’m seeing plenty of interesting places over here, some I'll never forget. I only wish I was on a vacation, then they could be enjoyed a little more. Say hello to Bill Gormally
, you know him, the cop. I think the thing I miss most is fresh milk. That's the first thing I'm going to buy. Well, Ed, keep up your letters and we'll do our best on this end. I’m going to take piano lessons in Berlin.”
Pvt. Jim Collins, Fort Myers
, Fla., “Don’t be fooled by the letterhead—the army just pulled a fast one. They put us in the darndest place I've ever seen or heard of and tell us a new ruling has' just been passed by this field prohibiting aviation mech’s from taking gunnery. All we’re doing is getting in shape for the W. P. A. No kiddin’, Ed—all we do is haul tile, dig ditches and fill up swamp holes. You see, it rains here every eve, thus filling up the hole we had emptied the day before. The trip across the U. S. A. from Calif. was perfect. Saw a lot of the country but when we came to Iowa I can’t remember anything that looked so good. Everything seemed so quiet—it sure was a sight I hope I'll be seein’ soon.”
Capt. Thos. G. Herrick, India, “I am with the 69th General Hospital somewhere in India, taking care of Merrills’ Burma Raiders. Maybe you have read of their Burma campaign in which they spent about four months behind the Jap lines being supplied by air. They are a pretty nice bunch of boys and were pretty well worn out when they were evacuated to us. Had a lot of Tropical diseases, etc., but now are pretty well cleared up... We are in the heart of the monsoon season and have two varieties of weather—hot and dry and hot and wet. Our area was literally hacked out of the jungle and a few months after we leave it will be right back again as everything grows very well with all the rains. The wildlife is very plentiful. We have wild monkeys, bob cats and an occasional cougar in the camp area and I understand there are wild elephants within a few miles up in the hills. There are a lot of poisonous snakes, krites, cobra, and vipers and even boa constrictors—so you can see we don’t have too many dull moments.”
Sgt. Vernon F. Richards, Island of Oahu, “Say, I would be thankful if someone would call Robert Estlund at the “Loyal Order of Moose” and give Bob my address. Those letters have more effect on keeping up my morale than all the Bob Hopes and anyone else sent over here and I am not just speaking for myself. Anyone with two years and over the morale isn't any too high at all times. My job at the present time is Chief Operator at a telephone exchange. I have six women on the board at present. Say, I wouldn't mind if they were the kind like back home. They are from Portuguese to almost everything under the sun. I will close for now before this turns into a book.”
Pfc. Geo. Davidson, Camp McCoy, Wis., “I want to make a contribution to your growing collection of insignia and shoulder patches. This enclosed item is the patch of the Sixteenth Corps. It (the sixteenth corps) is part of the second army. We of the 76th division are included with other divisions in the 16th Corps. There is an interesting legend in connection with this patch. Obviously, in order to wear the patch, a man must have arms of at least 35 inch length. Otherwise, the lower portion of the patch would conceal the wearer's latest manicure. Also, only privates should attempt to wear this patch. You see, if a person has any stripes to sew on his sleeve, he has three alternatives, none of which is perfectly satisfactory. First, the party’s stripes can he sewed on the underside of the sleeve, This isn’t fully satisfactory in view of the fact that the stripes are hidden from view and the wearer may be mistaken for a low ranking EM. The second choice is to sew the stripes on the face of the patch. The stripes tend to blend in with the patch and the same fate results as in the first instance. The third alternative is the most violent of the three. the first step is to amputate the lower half of the patch, thereby permitting enough sleeve to show to sew the stripes of any rank up to T/3 on. The trouble here lies in the fact that when only half the patch is legit, only eight of the sixteen points of the star are left. This might confuse the public and even lead them to believe that the wearer is affiliated with the 8th service command, which includes Texas. And every white man in America holds nothing but contempt and pity for a Texan.” (Thanks Geo. for the biggest patch in captivity and a very funny letter.)
And we had many other cards and letters that we thoroughly enjoyed. They came from A/S C. M. Bloomquist, Lubbock, Texas... Ronald Parker, BM 2/c, Panama City, Fla... T/5 Al Saboe, Camp Stewart, Ga... Sgt. Howard Sheker, New Guinea. (We'll say that hello for you, Howard.)... Pvt. Carl A. Rumme, APO New York... Sgt. D. D. Soldow, FPO San Francisco. (We've put Sgt. Kidder on the list. Yes, we occasionally display the pictures we get. Folks at home like to see them.)... Raymond E. Douglas, F l/c, FPO New York... Cpl. John W. Burke, FPO San Francisco.... Richard Edmondon, FPO New York... P. E. Trusty, FPO San Francisco... Pvt. Walter W. Schuh, New Guinea... Pfc. R. Stephan, Livingston, La... Pvt. Rossette A. Harp, APO New York, and Pfc. S. J. Thornabone, Oahu.
Thanks so much to all of you. The shoulder patches are really grand. We must have about fifty of them now. We are mounting each one on a separate card, telling what it is and who sent it in. When we get a hundred or so, we'll arrange a display of them down town... It’s still hot and people are having a lot of fun out at the pool. See you next week. Good luck, Joe.
Ed Breen. Your home town correspondent