DEAR JOE: Thirteen weeks ago we started this venture in the humble
and sometime fearful hope that you'd like it, that each week it would bring you
a little chunk of Fort Dodge and Webster County. Before we could. start we had to
have backing. So we went and saw your friends. We talked to Wes Demmon
at the Fort Dodge Grocery, and Bob Doud at Gates Dry Goods Co.,
and Forrest Hagerman and Bob Hughes at Tobin’s,
Al Loomis at the Fort Dodge Creamery and Art Swanson
at Swaney Motor Car Co. They said, “Go ahead, we'll back you.” So we started. A
little later on Dr. Baughman at the Fort Dodge Serum Co., said,
“We'd like to help too.” The first week we sent out about four hundred letters.
Then we waited and wondered whether you'd like it. Two or three days went by, and
then we got our first letter back. It was from John Estlund S 2/c
at Great Lakes. We'll never forget that letter, John. We showed it to everyone.
John said he liked “Your Letter From Home.” You know that thrill when you move from
private to private first class. We felt that good. Now this first period of sponsorship
is over, and our sponsors are all going ahead. Fort Dodge Serum Co., Fort Dodge
Grocery Co., Tobin Packing Co., Swaney Motor Car Co., Gates Dry Goods Co., Fort
Dodge Creamery, and of course, KVFD want to keep this letter going as long as you
are away. Yes sir, Joe. Some day you are going to read this letter in Berlin, and
Tokyo and Rome. We pray God it may not be long. Your job will be over and you can
fold these old letters away in a memory book—show ‘em to your sons and grandsons
with the hope and prayer that they will never, never have to receive one. You know
you're a very populous family, as well as a very widely scattered one. This week
we'll send out over 2500 letters. They'll go to the five corners of the world. So
next week we may be adding another sponsor or two. If we do, just remember, they
are your friends, thinking of you, hoping for the time when you'll be coming back,
and anxious to have a letter go to every Webster County man and woman in the armed
services throughout the world.
ALONG THE MAIN DRAG. Whoopee! We're off on another war bond drive.
The county’s quota is $2,361,000. We'll have a house to house canvass and many other
sorties and divertisements. Ed Klapka is the county chairman .
. . Don Edison, secretary of the Farmer Grain Dealers Assoc. tells
us the coops are meeting here the 25th and 26th . . . The weather . . . say if
California had weather like we've had here this winter they have had bathing beauties
parading up and down the avenues. It was fortyseven Monday, fortynine today. About
California, we mean with news reel cameramen grinding away on every side . . . They
died last week, Mrs. T. Dunscombe, Frank Butler, George Hanson, Lester Leitch
and Rev. Albert Johnson . . . Don McLaughlin
of Barnum is awaiting call for training as an aviation cadet. His brother Vinc
is in the South Pacific. He’s a corporal . . . The smoke was billowing out of the
house and the fire laddies came on the run to the residence of Dr. G. M. Brown
in Dayton. It was only an oil mop smouldering on the back porch . .. Saturday night
highschoolers held a hard time party in the gym. Everyone had lots of fun . . .
Major. Dr. Macdonald’s dog, is dead. He was honorably discharged
from the K9 corps just a few weeks ago .. . Tierney’s Restaurant has one of the
largest collections of soldiers’ photos in the world. About three hundred Webster
county boys’ pictures are now arranged around the walls, all framed, and nearly
all in large cabinet size. Carl Donahoe has another notable collection
in the store at Clare. The Register ran a full page in roto on the Tierney collection
recently . . . To show you how the war bonds are going, the town of Thor doubled
its quota the first day . . . Fort Dodge salvage rangers collected 15 tons of paper,
scrap paper, in one day this week . . . The John E. Mulroneys have
sold their house in Des Moines and are moving back to Fert Dodge. John is a justice
of the Jowa supreme court from this district . . . The Campfire Girls are collecting
and selling waste paper to help buy an ambulance plane . . . Members of the Army
Mothers Club are going to help address Your Letter From Home. Pretty swell of them.
We got writer’s cramp last week after we got to nineteen hundred and eightytwo.
Did you notice how funny the last five hundred addresses looked? We did those with
our left hand . . . This is going to be a tough leap year for the girls. The guys
left at home are all either too young or too old . . . We're growing them bigger
now. The other night over KVFD we interviewed Rayford Johnson for
one reason. He’s big. He’s seven feet six inches tall.
He’s come to Fort Dodge from Lauderdale, Miss., and is looking for a job . . . Hemp
has been a failure in Iowa. Seven of the eleven plants will be closed in 1944, some
of them before they ever started operating.
ON THE BATTLE FRONTS. Staff Sgt. August Struhar
is missing in action ever France since December 31. He was a gunner and radioman
on a Fort . . . Richard Ross Tierney writes to his folks from
the islands that YLFH gets a great passing around among other Iowans not from Webster
county . . . R. V. Cunningham, aerial. gunner 1/c and his brother
Bob, pilot first class, are in the same PBY squadron somewhere in the South Pacific.
Maybe Samoa or the Fiji Islands . . . Another Fort Dodger who was at Tarawa,
Cpl. Robt. McNeilly . . . S/Sgt. Earl R. Larson has
been moved from North Africa to India. He is with a portable surgical hospital unit
. . . Pvt. Ray Jebron of Dayton is a prisoner in Germany. His folks
got a letter from him last week. He is all right . . . Lt. Dale Croft
is first pilot on a Fort flying out of England.
OVER HERE. She is joining the Marines, Miss Irene Lennon
of Clare . . . She’s in the WAVES, Betty Earl George of Clare.
She's at Hunter College . .. Petty Officer 2/c F. E. Shostrum,
of Dayton is in the Navy hospital at Oakland. He’s been in the Sea bees in the South
Pacific for about a year. He’s being treated for a back injury . . . Lt. Mary
Quinn is stationed at Coffeyville, Kansas . . . Lt. Bob McTigue
and wife, Peggy, are on their honeymoon, driving back to Ft. Sam
Houston, Texas . . . Margie Croft is home on a vacation from her
duties in the filing dept. of the FBI in Washington . . . Dr. Emerson B. Dawson,
Lt. Comdr., stationed at San Diego, has been in the hospital several days . . .
Rena Isabel Ulm, of the WAVES, is home from Washington, D. C. .
. . Violet Holm is taking air training for the ferry command at
HERE COMES THE BRIDE. Jean Mertz and Thos.
Spindle of Lakehurst, N. J., January 13 in Fort Dodge. Spindle is an
radio repairman 2/c . . . Suzanne Scott, of Albert Lea, and
Lt Clarence Larson. No date has been set . . . Bernyce Harris
and Sgt. John Smith, of Hermine, Pa., in Los Angeles, January 8
. . . Neva Clausen, of Duncombe, and Merlin Enburg,
at Fort Dodge, Jan. 10. He's a petty officer in the navy and used to work at Tobin’s.
Groom goes back to his ship soon . . . Harriet Smith and Sgt.
Clyde Thorndike, in the spring . . . Donna Hurley
to James B. Prince of Miami, Fla., Jan. 15, at New London, Conn.
Prince is a fireman 2/c.
LETTERS. One of the sponsors of Your Letter From Home, The
Gates Dry Goods Company, is doing some letter writing of its own. Every
Tuesday morning the store is closed from nine to nine thirty and everyone writes
to former employees and husbands and sons of employees in the service. It’s called
“Gates Employees’ War Correspondence Club.” Has its own colorful
stationery and every letter goes out air mail. Enclosed with the first letter was
an “effortless reply card’ On it, all you had to do was check the sentiments you
liked. Here are samples: “Am longing to look into your beautiful eyes.” “Are you
still keeping your promise to me to brush your teeth every day?” “I'm brown as a
berry! Don’t you just LOVE berries!!?” That'll give you an idea—or will it?
CONGRATULATIONS. From fireman 1/c to motor machinist 2/c, Ambrose
Welp. He’s an instructor in Diesel engines and is in the Hawaiian
Islands . . . To chief petty officer, Tom Helferich. He’s with
the subs in the Pacific . . . To Sgt. Paul Holm, the air medal
and eight oak leaf clusters. He’s photographer and waist gunner on a Fort in Italy
. . . To Lt. E. G. Mills, first pilot of a Fort in England, the
air medal with oak leaf cluster . . . To Lt. (s. 2.) Paul J. Johnston
. . . Sharpshooter is Pfc. Felix Ruthart, of Lehigh. He got medals
at Camp Forrest, Nashville, Tenn. . . . Cited for meritorious conduct were Sgt.
Harold Lindquist and Sgt. Howard Wessling, both of
Gowrie. They rescued two comrades from a dangerous undertow in the Mediterranean.
Wessling was killed in November. Lindquist is in the hospital with an injured leg.
The rescue took place last June. Another Webster County boy, Pfc. Bradden Cooper,
of Stratford, received the same citation for the same kind of a rescue in August.
He helped rescue four who were drowning . . . From cpl. to sgt., Allen C. Groat,
of Badger, a bombardier somewhere in the South Pacific . . . From Lt. (j. g.) to
Lt. (s. g.}, Rufus Prieskorn, at Jacksonville, Fla. . . . To cpl,
Glen Porter, of Lehigh. He’s at Tonapah, Nev.
SHAKING HANDS WITH THE HOME FOLKS. From the North Atlantic,
Roy Brown, chief petty officer . .. Home on sick
leave is John Tierney, quartermaster 2/c in the Navy. has been
St. Alban’s Hospital, Long Island . . . Bob Nicols, of Vincent,
from Farragut . . . Cpl. Francis E. Wills, from Camp Hale, Colo.,
to attend the funeral of his six year old son . . . Man with wings, Lt. Dave
Porter is home with his wife, the former Earline Berthol.
He reports soon to Fort Worth. He'll fly a B24 . . . Cpl. Clarence E. Dueker,
from Camp Davis, Calif. Other Fort Dodgers in the camp are Pfc. Dick Truckken,
Pfc. Richard Donly, Pvt. Mark Fennessy. Pvt.
Clare Powers was there until about Christmas .. . From Kellogg Field,
Battle Creek, Michigan, Capt, D. R. Lindsey. He’s piloting a Martin
Marauder and expects to be overseas soon . . . From Ft. McArthur, Calif, Sgt.
Ted Rule. Remember when “Bud” used to box around here. He’s looking
fine . . . Pfc. Curtis Wilkinson from Alva, Okla. . . . Pfc.
A. C. Maricle from Santa Maria, Calif. He’s on his way to Denver, Colo.,
for aviation training . . . Home and seeing the folks in Lehigh are Noah Reed,
fireman 1/c from the South Pacific; Don Valadeff, CM 3/c from San
Francisco; and Pvt. Maurice Beem, from Ft. Knox .. . From Roswell,
N. M., Lt. Glenn Rohden, of Lanyon . . . Pvt. George Davidson
from ASTP at Lansing, Mich. . . . Veteran of World War I, Ralph Rutledge,
first class cook with the Seabees, from Camp Endicott, Davisville, R. I. He’s been
on Guadalcanal . . . Pvt. Neil Hinds, from Ft. Knox . . . Pvt.
Dale Webster, from Harvard, Neb. . . . Cpl. Marvin Andrews
of the U. S. M. C. He’s back from the South Pacific and on his way to Quantico .
. . Ray Fallon, from Camp Peary, Va. . . . Robert Hair,
SCOREBOARD. Harcourt wins over Otho, 50 to 26. The Otho girls even
it up, however. The gals’ game, Otho 29, Harcourt 19 . . . The Moorland Independents
took the Tobin Packers, 62 to 21. Gee! . . . Corpus Christi knocks off Lehigh, 40
to 16 . . . The Mohawks go on the warpath, come from behind to defeat the Dodgers.
Mason City 32, Fort Dodge 29. Jim Sells of the Dodgers and
Zeigler of the Mohawks were high point men with nine each . . . Look
at Lanyon go. Lanyon 45, Burnside 36. Swalla of Burnside was high point man with
21, Elmore of Lanyon got 19 . . . The Eagle Grove matmen traveled to Fort Dodge
last Fri day night and left with plenty of Dodger scalps. Eagle Grove 22, Dodgers
14. Dodger Dick Woodard threw his man in less than a minute; other
matches were close . . . Lehigh 29, Otho 17. John son of Lehigh was high scorer
with 11 points, Fuller of Otho got 8 . . . Burnside 60, Duncombe 10. No fun for
Duncombe . . . Fonda takes Sacred Heart, 24 to 15 . . . Fonda seems to have the
Indian sign on its Fort Dodge rivals. Latest demonstration, Fonda 32, na Christi
23 . . . Barnum 32, Moorland 29. Gowrie 39, Stratford 31.
LOCAL DANNY DEEVER. Ray Fortney, formerly of Otho,
and a paratrooper, has been sentenced to hang. In a court martial at Ft. Benning,
Ga., he was found guilty of the murder of a fellow soldier last year.
THEY MET. They met in New Zealand. Lt. Richard Gadd
and T/Sgt. Joe Stapleton. Joe was there on a furlough from Guadalcanal.
Said they had a great time together . . . Cousins, they met in North Africa, and
now both are home honorably dis charged, Pfc. Joe D. McCarville,
of Moorland, and Joe E. McCarville, of Gowrie . . . He met ’em
in England. Two of his former customers from Thor, Iowa. So writes Cpl. G. J.
Sullivan. He used to sell ’em suits when he worked at the Larson Clothing
WORDS. What should I have said when my boy went overseas, with
grin on his face and that glint on his gun? What were the words to use in hours
like these? What should I have found to say to my stalwart son? What words should
I have used to make him see more clearly all that’s in my mind, and all that I would
have done—How my love for him grew daily, yearly? For there’s so much one would
say to a soldier son! The train began to move, our hands touched in parting—he leaned
from the window while I was forced to run—his eyes looked in mine as mine with tears
were smarting. And all I could say was, “Good luck. God bless you, son!”— Phillip
F. Whitten in the New York Times.
FROM THE FIVE CORNERS OF THE WORLD. Pfc. Floyd Zeka,
Pyote, Texas, “Earl Wendt and I both work at the Sub-depot — it
is the sub-depot’s job to see that the planes here are kept flying.”
Cpl. Jim Skophammer, Salt Lake City, Utah, “Also had two letters
from my good buddy, Marine “Bud” Trost of Fort Dodge. He mentioned that his division
had received a Presidential Unit Citation for their action on Tarawa. That is something
to be mighty proud of, as those citations are “few and far between.” I understand
there were several Fort Dodgers in that action and I know that the city is, or should
be, proud of it’s sons.”
Sgt. Joe A. Thode, Italy, “I have not been very fortunate in meeting
fellows from home, but I did see and talk to Captain Manchester
in Algiers last January. Since then I have not run into anyone from there, so I
am very much interested in getting an idea of where all these fellows are.”
Pfc. Wayne Daniels, Italy, “I am receiving ‘Your Letter From Home’
and enjoy it immensely. Have had five of them so far. Have been passing mine on
to Cpl. Wilbert Freed from a farm south of Fort Dodge. Would like
to have the basket ball scores of the schools in Webster Co. I live on a farm near
Lehigh and like to hear how the different teams are doing. I have been overseas
nearly two years and have been in six different countries but there is no place
like good old Webster County.”
Pfc. Ernest Olofson, Italy, “I have up to date received about six of Y. L. F, H. I think they are swell and hope they keep coming. Makes a guy feel better when he knows somebody back there is trying to give him a lift. I had the very good fortune of running into my brother, Sgt. Merle Olofson, here a couple of months ago. No fooling, there are times when I think I’m the luckiest guy in the army. My brother’s outfit is about three miles down the road from mine so we see each other quite often. When I was. home I drove truck for Brady, so. the army has got.me doing thé same thing for them. My truck is only a 2% ton G. M.'C., but. I’ve got her souped up so there aren’t many things that can pass me. As of today, there are only two things that have. One was a P38 and the other a jeep. The only difference between a jeep and a P38 is: The jeep can do the same things a P38 can only it can do them on the ground. This is a ‘very beautiful country: but I wouldn’t trade you the whole works for the state of Iowa. The quicker: I get back and see some of that tall corn waving in the breeze, the better I am going to like it.”
Cpl. James Nolan, Iran, “I arrived about a year ago and hope before the year ends I will be again on U. S. soil. Shortly upon arrival in this country, I met Ralph Mooney. Since then, we have visited many times about different people and places in Fort Dodge. It doesn’t take much to make up a conversation when we get together. In some countries, so they say, everything is cheap. In this country it is just the opposite. For instance, a meal of ham and eggs costs about 1.10 and a small steak, (which doesn’t taste like meat at all) ranges in price from $1.50 to $2.50. Trinkets that we buy in the dime store are worth small fortunes in this place. We also have Don Johnson with us.”
Lt. Donald J. Hicks, Barksdale Field, La., “I have been here for eighteen months and only one or two Fort Dodge boys have been around here. Lt. Don Hauser came through as a bombardier on a Martin Maurauder crew, and Bill Todd is the top kick of a squadron down here. About a month ago I ran into Dale Thomas over at Sav, Georgia. He is an ensign in the navy, flying D. C. 3 transport ships. Lt. Gene Morgan is a navigator somewhere in Censored land.” (Ed. note. We are getting those addresses for you.)
Baird J. Okey, Ptr. 2/c Seabees, South Pacific, “Contrary to what Hollywood tells us, these South Sea Islands are not a Paradise—not a single one of them is anyways near a Paradise. Instead, most of them are completely covered with jungle, quite a few of them are not inhabited by any natives, so, therefore, not even a trail is in the jungle. Jungle, you know, is big trees, encircling vines, roots on top of the ground, thick undergrowth, swampy, and hills. It is very hot and wet—in fact the jungle steams and stinks. Most of the islands in this vicinity are of coral formation. In fact, a lot of the better contractors in the states would positively refuse to start any kind of project on these islands—they would say, “It is impossible to build even a road through the dense jungle.” I trust that you can picture in your mind what we have to build an air strip on.”
John Steib writing of Christmas from Italy to Frank McTigue: “The people over here celebrate Christmas a little different than we do. Instead of a tree, they have a crib and place statues and candles around it and lay their gifts around the crib. Had it not been for the thoughtfulness and kindness of some of the boys, this Christmas would have been just as dull, to the civilians, as many of their previous ones have been for years. Some of the boys gave parties for the children and gave them gifts that they had received from home in their Christmas packages. Many of these kids didn’t know what to do or say when they received gifts of food and candy. To them it seemed like a dream but to the “doggie” it was more than a dream, it was a thrill. Something he wanted to do sometime, just to see those happy faces and to see their eyes pop when they get that plate of food and candy. To us it is a thrill but to them it means everything. What we do to those kids now and how we treat them will live forever in their minds and will go a long way towards lasting peace in years to come, whether we know and realize that now or not. That is the way I look at it, and I don’t think I’m wrong.”
AND OTHER GRAND LETTERS CAME FROM: F. E. Bloomquist, AMM 2/c, Island in Southwest Pacific . . . Dean Flinn, AEM 3/c, F. P. O. San Francisco . . . Pvt. Harry Zeka, Scott Field, Ill . . . . S. C. Betters, CW 3/c, New Orleans . . . C. J. Hentges, MMM 3/c, F, P. O. New York . . . John Bestick, BM 2/c, U. S. C. G., San Francisco (Yes, Elmo told me, but we didn’t get an invitation or an announcement. How come?) . . . R. E. Lochray, S 2/c, Farragut, Idaho. (Glad to hear from you, fellow. Al’s been at Camp Callan, Calif. He’s on his way into ASTP) . . . Bob Brennan S. M. 3/c, U.S. S. Ramsey, F. P. O. San Francisco . . . Cpl. Ruben H. Peterson, Camp McClain, Miss. . . . Harold F. Willey, S 2/c, U. S. S. Despatch, F. P. O. San Francisco . . . Pvt. Bobbie Williams, Jefferson Bar racks, Mo. . . . Pfc. Lowell Johnson, Fort Monroe, Va. . . . Orville Walters, S 2/c, Corpus Christi, Texas . . . Pfc. Derrig, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.
It’s wonderful to hear from you. Keep up the good work. We know you are busy. Write to everyone else first. Then, if you have a minute, we'd love to hear from you. Send us a card or a letter or a picture. The girls here don’t see any good looking guys anymore. You can give ’em a thrill. Good luck gang. See you next week.
Your home town correspondent, Ed. Breen.