V-E DAY ONE OF GREAT BUT RESTRAINED JOY-
Great joy, but joy restrained, filled the hearts of Monticelloans when news was flashed to an anxious world that Germany had surrendered unconditionally to the United States, Great Britain, and Russia at 7:21 p.m. central war time Sunday, May 6. The surrender was signed in the now historic red school house in Reims, France, which had served as headquarters for General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in the area, thereby ending the European war which started Sept. 1, 1939, when Hitler unleashed his heartless hordes against an innocent and defenseless Poland.
Signing the momentous document for the hopelessly crushed Germans was Col. Gen. Gustav Jodl, new chief of staff of the German Army, representing Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, head of the Huns since the mysterious disappearance of Adolph Hitler, about whose alleged death there have been so many contradictory versions that it is probably more logical to assume this black-hearted inhumaniac is still alive in disguise. Signing for the Supreme Allied Command was Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, who is Gen. Eisenhower's chief of staff. Gen. Ivan Susloparoff, for Russia, and Gen. Francois Sevez, for France, also signed the historic document.
Thus drew to a close the horrible infamies of a supposedly cultured and civilized German nation which for almost six, long bitter years gloried in the ruthless torture and murder of millions of innocent civilians, in the starvation of still other millions of people whose food it stole and grew fat on, and in the plunder and destruction of virtually an entire continent.
Although the war in Europe ended May 6, this glorious triumph of Allied arms over the foulest foe in world history was not officially proclaimed by President Harry S. Truman of the United States and Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain until 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 8. Back home here in Monticello, the great victory was signalized by the sounding of the village fire siren and the tolling of church bells. Church services were held in the evening.
Yes, Victory in Europe was marked by great joy in the old home town, but it was joy restrained. Joy mingled with sadness at the thought that S/Sgt. "Mel" Marty, who died a hero's death in the furious battle on the approaches to Aachen Sept. 20, 1944, and Pvt. Paul Derendinger, fatally injured in an accident in Italy a month earlier-along with thousands of other brave young men-had to sacrifice their precious lives to protect and preserve freedom for the rest of us.
We salute the memory of these gallant soldiers and pray in humble reverence
for an early victory over Japan.
RAMBLING AT RANDOM-
Leo Felts, PhM 1/c, who returned to the states in February after
19 enjoyable months at a Marine base in Cuba, is highly pleased with his
new assignment at the navy Diesel School, Fairbanks-Morse plant, Beloit.
"I never expected a deal like this," says Leo. "Only the doctor and myself
in the medical department. I live in my own apartment and have every night
and week-end off. Outside of my uniform, I feel like a civilian and what
a feeling it is! . . Pfc. Carl (Babs) Babler, slightly wounded on
Okinawa April 18, writes that his leg was banged up somewhat, but not seriously.
Babs was also wounded before, presumably in the battle of Leyte. Capt.
Leon Babler still holds an administrative post with the army air force
in England. His future is indefinite now that Germany has been crushed.
Art, oldest of the three Babler brothers and a radioman 2nd
class with the Coast Guard, is still "cruising around" in the Pacific.
. . "It gets plenty hot down in this corner of the ol' globe," reports
Cpl. P. F. Blumer from the U.S. army air base at Bangalore, India,
"But it doesn't bother me much." P. F. is affiliated with a quartermaster's
unit. . . Pvt. "Art" Zweifel, who wielded a wicked wallop at the
plate when he performed with Barney Karlen's sensational diamondemons,
is still on New Caledonia where he had a nice visit with Don Trickle
recently before the latter's return to the United States. After approximately
three years in the Southwest Pacific, Don is now in Monroe on furlough.
Art, who is a New Glarus boy, also had quite a thrill a couple of weeks
ago when he "bumped into" Bud Wirth on the street of a New Caledonia
city. Bud is in the navy, of course, and his ship was docked at that port
for a short time.
REPORT ON BLOODY IWO JIMA-
Immediately after learning of Lt. "Howie" Steinmann's narrow escape from assassination at the hands of a Jap officer on Iwo Jima island, The Drizzler sent Howie an airmail letter asking for the highlights of his battle experiences on that tiny Pacific fortress for the April 24th Drizzle. Unfortunately, however, the letter was seriously delayed enroute and did not reach him until April 29. For that reason, this thrilling story was not available for the last issue and is now presented here.
The Monticello Marine lieutenant's outfit hit the beach at Iwo around 2:30 p.m. on D-Day, Feb. 19. He was on the island 28 days, 22 of them in the front lines or immediately behind them. He spent the other six days in reserve, resting and waiting to be called back again.
Acting as a liaison officer, Howie spent the very first night in the front lines attached to the unit his battalion was to relieve the next morning. For the first five days, he was continually sent from one organization to another, giving and collecting all possible information and making sure his commanding officer received it.
All this while, day and night-and for practically the entire Iwo campaign-this tiny Pacific Island rocked under the thundering impact of bursting bombs, exploding artillery shells, and murderous machine gun and rifle fire. It was a hellish nightmare of flame and thunder, of insane uproar, weirdly mingled with the agonizing groans of badly wounded or dying fighting men. Only in the final stages of this bloody campaign, when the Jap fanatics were reeling to a crushing defeat, did this terrible bedlam commence to subside.
Howie experienced his first "close call" on the second day. He was in a foxhole when a good-sized piece of Jap shrapnel struck him on the shoulder. His shoulder was only bruised, however, because the shrapnel was partly "spent" and hit flat.
Casualties during the first few days were light, considering the ferocity of the fighting. On the sixth day, Howie's battalion was relieved and sent back a few thousand yards to reorganize and rest. He was shocked by the absence of so many old buddies. In the last couple of days, there had been heavy casualties among both officers and men. The outfit was in sad shape, but no worse than any of the other Marine units.
Since there was now a shortage of officers, Howie was attached to "C" company as executive officer which became his permanent assignment on Iwo except for a 20-hour period when he became a company commander.
"While we were back there resting," recalls Howie, "we saw "Old Glory" raised on top of Mt. Sinibachii. The volcano was secured. It was a great and inspiring sight to see the colors flying up there and it was all any of the fellows talked about for a long time. It is really wonderful to see our Flag go up after such savage fighting to make it possible. It was a joyous moment."
The joy was cut short, however, by orders at 5 p.m. to move up to fill a gap in the line. Howie and his captain went forward to explore boundaries and positions in the designated area. It was dark when they arrived. As Howie was on his way back to bring the company forward, a Jap "fire" bomb-his own name for it-exploded 20 feet away and knocked him flat on his face. Finding himself uninjured, however, he continued on and then reached the front lines with his company at 10 p.m.
"It was in this area, " Howie says, "That I saw my first real horrors of war the next day. There had been a terrific battle in this area the day we moved into it and there were many dead Marines still laying where they had fallen. I ran across one poor fellow that had been blown in half-the top half of his body was about 35 feet away from the bottom half. There was another fellow, headless, in a foxhole."
The casualty lists were mounting every day-every minute, it seemed. Howie's captain, a Marine from Illinois and now back in the states, was wounded. Company ranks were dwindling rapidly. The local boy's outfit was given another chance to rest and reorganize. Replacements were received for the first time and they were glad to get them. The outfit was suddenly ordered back into the front lines to fill a gap until the next noon when it was relieved and then went back a few hundred yards to await further orders.
"Here I saw a Marine blown apart by a Jap land mine," Howie relates. "I was about 75 feet from the fellow when it happened. This kid was sitting on the edge of a shell hole-Jap artillery was pretty well gone by now-and I was sitting Indian fashion near the phone. The poor fellow set off this mine somehow and dirt flew about 40 feet into the air. It was a large mine. I rushed over to him, but two corpsmen had gotten there ahead of me and were doing all they could for him. The kid had both legs blown off, was split open at the waist, one arm was split, and he had shrapnel holes all over his body-but he was still alive and conscious. There wasn't anything that could have saved him. He lived for about 15 minutes.
"Well, Roz, when I walked away, I was actually "sick." I couldn't help but think about his parents, his wife or sweetheart and those who loved him. I couldn't help but offer up a prayer for him."
That same afternoon, Howie's outfit was ordered up to the same spot it had held the night before. This was a Jap strong point and the enemy was defending it with fanatical tenacity. Developments were unraveling swiftly now. As the unit was about to move up, word was flashed back that the acting company commander, who had gone ahead earlier to explore the position, had been hit by Jap fire.
Little Iwo was still shuddering under the terrific blasts of exploding aerial bombs and artillery shells. Machine guns chattered incessantly. Here and there could be heard the ghastly whine of Jap snipers' bullets whizzing along on their errands of death.
Howie went forward and verified the report. Then he notified the colonel, who sent up a first lieutenant to take over. Fifteen minutes later the lieutenant had been wounded.
Howie was then placed in command. He began to get their lines organized so they could hold fast that night, which was rapidly approaching. As the Monticello lieutenant and the company commander and executive officer of another outfit were standing close in a group, discussing strategy, a Jap light machine gun opened fire on them.
The executive officer, who was standing in the middle, fell wounded, struck in the neck by one of the Nip bullets. Howie and the other commanding officer dove to the ground to escape a similar fate.
"We finally got out of there and set up for the night," declares the local Marine officer. "The next day another first lieutenant was sent up to take over as commanding officer and I resumed my old duties as "exec." Thank God!"
"So ferocious was Jap resistance that the marines in this sector advanced only 60 yards that day-and not a single yard in the next three days! It took four more days of bitter, bloody fighting to take a ridge just ahead of them. There were heavy casualties.
Now on high ground, American artillery pounded remaining Jap gun positions mercilessly, wiping out most of them. Resistance became lighter and advances easier. Marine casualties began to drop sharply. Enemy losses were extremely heavy. Jap dead were strewn all over the area.
On March 17, the Marines broke through Nip lines to the extreme north end of the island. The surviving Japs were now hemmed in a pocket with their backs to the sea. Howie's company was occupying a high ridge looking right down into that pocket.
At around 2 a.m. on the morning of the 18th, Drizzle readers will recall, a Jap officer sneaked past the sentinel and stole stealthily into Howie's foxhole. Fierce, sanguinary battles like this one on little Iwo naturally place a terrific nervous strain upon our brave fighting men. And so, although Howie was asleep, it was a shallow, fitful sleep. Suddenly, as though prodded by some divine intuition, he awakened with a start to find this husky, murder-bent Jap officer crouched just above him, ready to plunge a sabre into his heart.
The ugly, revolting features of the would-be assassin were clearly silhouetted against the star-lit sky. There was a diabolical gleam in his dirty eyes. His upraised sabre glistened menacingly in the moonlight.
In a split second, Howie grabbed for the sabre with his right hand and then became locked in a veritable death struggle with the Jap, a husky six-footer. He fought to his feet, yelling for help. Responding quickly, the sentinel leaped into the foxhole and clutched the Jap's sabre hand. Just then in jumped a Marine lieutenant who knocked the Nip officer to the ground and calmly ended his life with three shots from a .45 automatic revolver. The body was then dumped over a nearby cliff.
Had not Howie awakened the very moment he did, the Jap officer undoubtedly would have accomplished his dastardly purpose. As it was, Howie had a frightfully narrow escape from death. The Jap's sabre penetrated over two inches into the chest cavity over the right breast, collapsing the lung and barely missing his heart. His right hand was badly cut when he grabbed the sabre.
Howie was given first aid immediately, then rushed to the island field evacuation hospital. The next afternoon, on March 19, he was evacuated by air to a base hospital in the Mariannas and days later by ship to a naval hospital in the Hawaiian islands. Here Howie, who dropped off sharply in weight in the days immediately following his harrowing experience and who still remains in a weakened condition, has now been placed in an evacuation ward. Within the next two weeks, he hopes to be sent back to the states for further hospitalization after his arrival here.
Many thanks for a thrilling story, Howie, and may your convalescence
be speedy and complete!
HERE, THERE 'N' EVERYWHERE-
Cpl. "Olie" Mitmoen is now doing military police duty in France,
may see service with the army of occupation in Germany. . . Johnny Zimmerman,
who has served 28 months overseas, recently recovered from a severe case
of eye infection, caused when dust got into them while he was piloting
his jeep on a dusty road in Italy. . . Pfc. Johnny Frehner, who
was seriously wounded in action Somewhere in Germany March 24, has been
discharged from the hospital in England and is now back in training again.
Johnny's wound really was a nasty one. Apparently he was in a prone position
at the time because the bullet entered his left shoulder, traveled a course
between the heart and the spine, and went out through the right hip. .
. Roger Klassy, naval air cadet at the Navy Pre-Flight School, Iowa
City, Ia., is slowly recovering from rheumatic fever with which he was
first stricken about 3 weeks ago. The local youth has been having quite
a streak of misfortune lately. A week before he came down with this illness,
he had just recovered from a siege of scarlet fever. He is confined to
the University of Iowa hospital. Here's wishing you the speediest possible
recovery, "Rog!" . . Royal Voegeli, apprentice seaman in the navy
training program at Gustavus Adolphus college, St. Peter, Minn., recently
distinguished himself by winning second honors in the Minnesota state college
oratorical contest. He spoke on "Criminal Psychology," a treatise which
he composed himself. For the past several months, Royal and Dave Rose,
whose father is president of Concordia college, have comprised the Gustavus
Adolphus debating team in competition against other colleges in Minnesota
and the Dakotas. As a college debater, Royal has been particularly interested
in the controversial field of compulsory arbitration for labor. Besides
his forensic activities, the Monticello youth has been prominent in other
college affairs, playing solo cornet in the symphony orchestra and in a
dance band. He was also musical director of the Navy's "Happy Hour" show
which was one of the outstanding events of the college year. . . Frederick
Steinmann, recently promoted to first lieutenant, is now assistant
to the director of civilian personnel at the Chicago quartermaster depot
where he has been stationed since July of '45. Congratulations, Fritz!
. . The Drizzler has just learned that S/Sgt. Lloyd Deppeler was
hospitalized for several days early in March after a piece of shrapnel
struck him right above the eye during action in Germany. Lack of space
in the April Drizzle crowded out many interesting items, among them the
fact that "Dep" has been attending officers' training school and was scheduled
to finish May 19, barring unforeseen developments. . . Atty. Randal
J. Elmer, the local wizard of the checker boards, who had been connected
with the legal department of the Milwaukee OPA office for 10 months, is
now head of the law enforcement branch of the Omaha (Neb.) OPA district.
It will be recalled that "Ran" was a member of the radio school faculty
at Truax Field in Madison for many months following his honorable discharge
from the navy some time before. . . Lt. "Bo" Woelffer absolutely
insists he isn't trying to slip in a plug for "Papa's" drug store when
he credits the Woelffer variety of malted milks, vitamins, cokes, and marshmallow
sundaes for developing Eddie ("Nine Nazis") Zweifel's lightning
reactions and agility as well as his calmness under fire-qualities which
Eddie forcefully demonstrated some weeks ago when he captured those nine
Nazi super-stupor men single-handed. In other words, "Eat Papa's Products
and Become a Hero," eh, Bo? By the way, Bo, how about giving a guy a few
samples just to see if your recipe really works! . . Many thanks to Tommy
Brusveen for sending me that Kodak tripod from Germany. It fits just
as perfectly as though it were made to order. . . Pfc. Vincent Gerry
recently completed his second year of service on the European continent.
"More power to Whitey Hill," says Vince, "But I'd like to know how he fixed
things up to be wounded in such a hurry and then be sent back to the states.
He must have found a rabbit's foot or a horseshoe." . . Congratulations
to "Shy" and Berdie Theiler of the Naval Air Station at Banana River,
Fla., on the recent arrival of a husky heir, William John, weight
7 pounds and 6 ounces. How do you like walking the floor nights, Shy? Or
isn't Willie that kind of a boy? . . Pfc. Tommy Runkle will never
forget Brussels, Belgium, because the people were so friendly, many of
them could talk understandable English, he was able to buy his fill of
good ice cream-and , ah!, here we have it!-he also met a pretty girl there,
too! . . Sgt. "Boob" Kissling, who was dismissed not so long ago
from an English hospital where he was treated for frostbite and a shrapnel
wound on the knee, will not be sent back to his old outfit. Recently he
has been doing office work. . . Pvt. "Dunk" Knobel, who has been
stationed at Camp Wheeler in Georgia since his induction in March, was
transferred the last of the week to Camp Lee, Va., where he will be connected
with a quartermaster unit. "Dunk" is well pleased with his new assignment.
FILIPINO GRATITUDE DIMS WAR MEMORIES-
Although Henry Zentner, ship's carpenter on the merchantman, S.S. Augustin Daly, experienced 68 air raid alerts, got caught in a raging typhoon, saw a Jap suicide plane crash into a ship less than 300 yards away, and watched Nip bombers plunge to earth in flames during the 18 days the Augustin Daly was anchored in the harbor at Tacloban on Leyte Island in the Philippines, these thrilling experiences are overshadowed in his memories of the fervent gratitude expressed by liberated natives for gifts given to them by the ship's crew.
"The first night we were at anchor," recalls Henry, "A typhoon beat across the gulf and dragged our anchor even though the ship's engines were turning half-speed ahead. The storm continued most of the next day, but on the morning of the third day, the water was again calm. Soon after daybreak several outrigger canoes came from shore to the various ships anchored in the harbor. In them were Filipinos who for two long years had been hiding in the hills from their Jap conquerors until their liberation by our troops a few days before. We found them to be very friendly, and as the days passed, we came to know some of them and to understand them better. When we heard of the terrible hardships and hunger these natives had endured eluding the Japs, we gave them whatever we could spare from our personal effects. Always their faces would brighten with smiles of supreme happiness as they would invariably exclaim: "Oh, sir! Thank you, sir!" I shall never forget the glowing warmth and wholehearted respect of those words.
"Only one other experience shines as brightly in my memory. That was the sight of the Golden Gate bridge under a beautiful starlit sky as our ship moved into Frisco bay on our return to the states. No jewel ever looked so bright and so precious to me."
Henry, who arrived in Monticello April 8th for his first
visit home in six years, leaves soon on his return to San Francisco. Before
his service with the merchant marine, Henry was engaged in construction
work along the Pacific coast for several years and he may decide to go
back into it.
DICK ISN'T SO CURIOUS ANY MORE!-
"I used to be kind of curious about what it was like in a foxhole under real battle conditions," writes Lt. "Dick" Schoonover, with the 3181st Signal Gr. Bn. on flaming, battle-scorched Okinawa. "But now I wish I had left well enough alone. I've spent part of every night I've been on the island in a foxhole, and most of the time wishing it was a helluva lot deeper!
"Every morning I remember my wish and then burrow down some more, but when night rolls around again and the old siren lets go, I'm never satisfied. Down I dig again! (Better quit your diggin', Dick, or you might wind up in a well known "hot spot"-and it won't be a night club, either)
"The unit I'm working with is really a bastard in the better and worst sense of the word," continues the lieutenant. "I'm a little better off than most of the officers as the little unit I run takes care of the secret and "hurry-up" dispatches for the Commanding General and it's quite independent of the rest of the mad-house. I have 25 men in the unit with a van on a truck converted into a dispatch office which I work from. I have a fleet of jeeps running all over the island like ants on a hot stone and I spend half of my time keeping track of them. Some of the drivers would give the old "Sage of the Siegfried Line"-"Battling Bob" Blumer-a run for his money. One of them cut my hair today and now I've decided he was holding something against me! (Ah, Dick, I'll bet you'd give plenty to have your curly locks trimmed once again by that sensation with the scissors, Prof. Oscar "Doscar" Curtis, dean of the Monticello whisker eradication profession and versatile commentator on current affairs and society events.)
"Last night the artillery rumbled all night, lighting up the sky with
a glow that could be seen for miles ahead of us and behind us, too. It
is getting dark now. Time for our "little brown brothers" to fly over and
drop their bombs. Last night we played badger for over three hours and
things were somewhat changed when we came up for air. Some times I wish
I could carry that foxhole around with me."
The Drizzler is in receipt of a late issue of The Stinsonair, an employee
publication of the Stinson Division, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft corporation,
which carries a full-column, page-one story-including his picture-of "Slim"
Freitag's recent affiliation with Stinson as its middle west sales
director. The article speaks of the former Monticelloan as "One of the
country's best known aircraft salesmen," mentions some of the famous movie
and radio stars to whom he has sold planes in the past, and also states
that "His intelligent, analytical approach to the sale and application
of private planes, earned him the reputation of being not only one of the
country's top salesmen, but one of the leading authorities in this particular
field of aviation."
HE WENT "THROUGH HELL AND HIGH WATER"-
Many have been the times when you and I have heard this colorful expression used to describe a supposedly harrowing experience, but more often than not, a recital of the facts showed the phrase had been used recklessly and with little justification. Here is a Monticello boy who did go "Through Hell and High Water," however. He is Gaylord Miller, S 1/c, barely 19 years old and a "look-out" aboard the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Cowpens, a medium-sized flat-top which carries 1,500 officers and men along with 40 airplanes, 30 of which are combination fighters and bombers and the remainder torpedo planes. On its last trip to sea, the Cowpens left San Diego Dec. 8, 1943, and docked at San Francisco April 12, a little over six weeks ago.
It was Dec. 17, along about mid-morning. The Cowpens was in the Philippine sea. Gaylord was standing watch in one of the carrier's crow's nests, which stand approximately 20 feet above the deck, peering thru binoculars on the lookout for enemy planes. Suddenly the Cowpens was caught in a violent typhoon. The sea became wild and turbulent. As the hours passed, the gale increased in velocity until now it was roaring in at the carrier at the rate of 90 miles an hour, whipping the waves to terrifying heights. The Cowpens had been lurching badly before , but now, with its slow, rolling, length-wise movement, it began lurching first completely on one side and then on the other. During the worst of the typhoon, the carrier was listing at a 49 degree angle. Even its smoke stacks were drawing water!
At this point the commanding officer ordered Gaylord and the other sailors in the lookout towers down to the flight deck. He feared they might be blown into the tumultuous sea by the terrific gale or probably thrown into it as the ship lurched from side to side.
Most of the ship's sailors had gone down below deck. The men remaining above had to hang on for dear life as the ship pitched wildly about in the angry sea lest they be swept overboard. Water poured over the deck in large gushes and the air was filled with thick, flying spray. Everywhere the sailors looked, they saw nothing but almost mountainous walls of fierce water. The waves towered so high they had to look up at them.
Only the stoutest of hearts could have overcome a grueling ordeal like this and every man aboard the Cowpens rose gallantly to the test. To these sailors there was something ominously sullen and defiant about these mighty waves as they raged wrathfully about the ship, forming giant, churning walls around it. In fact, it seemed to them as though, at any moment, this savage sea was about to close its enormous jaws and swallow the Cowpens in a single gargantuan gulp, just as it did the United States destroyers, Hull, Monaghan, and Price, with heavy loss of life.
Now the commanding officer decided to send Gaylord and the other "look-outs" back up into the towers to complete their watch, then to be relieved by another shift. The risk was great, but even greater was the danger of colliding against another ship. There was also the fervent hope of spotting a rescue craft.
One by one the Cowpens' fleet of 40 aircraft was going overboard. Gasoline spilled from one of them and caught fire. In directing fire crews battling the flames, an air corps' officer was hurled overboard by the powerful waves sweeping the deck. Only a few days before he had been rescued after drifting at sea for 11 days. Jap aerial gunners had shot his plane down during a blazing sky battle.
All of the Cowpens' aircraft were gone now. So were the three tractors, a crane, and other mechanized equipment.
The typhoon roared into the night. By morning, however, the seas had become relatively calm and quiet.
Yes, indeed, it was "Hell and High Water."
"Boy! We sure prayed plenty, I'll tell you!" exclaimed Gaylord as he related these throbbing experiences to The Drizzler.
Although the U.S.S. Cowpens ploughed a path of destruction all the way from Wake Island to Tokyo and covered the staggering total of 193,000 miles, its battle against the typhoon was the most memorable of many spectacular encounters. Once, while the Cowpens stood off Formosa for two days and its planes unloosed five strikes at the island each day, a Jap fighter plane pilot sneaked through to the carrier by following the sun beam-a cunning method of approach because detection is virtually impossible in its blinding rays-and sent a 500-lb. bomb into the ship's blister which is a specially constructed sheet of steel attached to the sides of carriers to protect them against bombs. Fortunately the bomb was a dud and never exploded, but it hit the Cowpens with such force that all crew members in the nearest engine room were thrown to the floor. The Jap pilot became confused, banked his plane, then flew back past and so close to the Cowpens-barely more than eight or nine yards away-that Gaylord could see him easily. Gunners on a ship to the rear were able to get the Nip airman in range and his plane fell flaming into the sea.
The Cowpens, operating with the giant naval Task Force 58, participated in a furious two-day, pre-invasion bombardment of tiny Iwo Jima island. On the night of the second day, it moved up to a point only 75 miles off Tokyo where, on the third day, it blasted the Jap capital and thus helped to pin down Nip naval and air strength while the Marines were swarming ashore on Iwo. Planes from the Cowpens alone struck Tokyo five times. That night the Task Force steamed back to Iwo where on the fourth day, the Cowpens participated in a bombardment of Jap positions in support of our advancing Marines.
Many high distinctions were won by the Cowpens and its men. It was the first combatant carrier to carry the American flag into the China Sea since the start of the war and it participated in both the first and second battles of the Philippines. (indecipherable word) the Cowpens, which in the later stages of its historic prowl operated as part of the Third Fleet, participated in approximately 100 minor and major actions in which it destroyed two Jap cruisers, 12 cargo ships, 96 enemy planes in the air, 483 planes on the ground, and five locomotives.
Gaylord already has nine battle stars, representing major engagements at Wake Island, the Marshalls, the Gilberts, Truk, New Guinea, Saipan, Guam, Mindanao, and Mindoro. He is certain of three others-for Formosa, Iwo Jima, and Tokyo-but not sufficient time has yet elapsed for them to clear official channels. He may be awarded even more.
The Monticello youth, who enlisted in the navy at Madison June 29, 1943,
is the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Miller. He is now home
on leave, already reassigned to either another carrier or a cruiser, and
due to report at the Chicago Armory June 5. Gaylord's only brother, Cpl.
Wendell (Windy) Miller, has been stationed with a military police battalion
in Iran for many months.
FROM THE PEN-'N'-PENCIL FRONTS-
From Lt. "Whitey" Hill, still at O'Reilly Gen. Hosp., Springfield,
Mo.: "They've transferred me to a reconditioning battalion and given me
a little-and I do mean little-work to do. I'm one of the assistants to
the athletic officer. My hours: 9:30 to 11:30 and 3 to 4. The rest of the
time is my own. No work week-ends so you can see I'm going to waste away
to a mere shadow with that terrific load on my shoulders. (What a terrific
job it must have been for that athletic officer to pursuade you to take
that grueling grind, Whitey! Why, I'll bet he had to argue with you for
all of three seconds). We needed "Doc" Youngreen the other night.
Somebody brought in a cat and the next morning we had five brand new kittens
adorning the barracks. (Whitey, m'boy, you'd better start scramming for
the nearest cyclone-cellar. When the good doctor reads your subtle insinuation
that he, a man of lofty professional standing, should descend to the lowly
level of obstetrician for felines--Well, the next time he meets you, Whitey,
I'm afraid something is gonna break and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if
it'll be your neck) Now if we could have Carl Babler to attend the
kittens because, if you'll remember, Babs always had a cat, dog, or something-write
your own ticket-to (indecipherable word). I wonder how much of a struggle
King Kong Kissling is having with the fair femmes of England-struggle
to get away from them, naturally. I'll bet when they chase him he isn't
so fast-afoot!" . . From Lt. Wallie Barlow, U.S.N. Air Station,
Patuxent, Md." "Had an enjoyable flight to California. Actually on duty,
but to me, duty in Los Angeles seems to be practically the same as being
on leave. Naturally its chamber of commerce is paying me, but I must say
that L. A. is for my money the nicest city in the country, by far the neatest
and prettiest. I looked up your friend, Dr. Hammerly in Hollywood
and had dinner with him one evening. Also saw his sister, Ann, too. He's
an honestly busy man. I'd call one office, he'd be at another, and then
I'd finally catch him at the hospital. I met several of the lesser known
Hollywoodites, but somehow failed to get any thrill from it. I sincerely
believe some of our local talent has more personality than most of them
have. "Whitey" (The Man Beautiful) would be a sensation out there. (Gosh,
Wallie, you've started something now. See that "streak" over there? Well,
that's Whitey streaking for the nearest telephone to get the quickest train
and plane connections to Hollywood). Also there should be a spot as a gag-writer
for our local-leading overseas humorist, Bobbie Blumer. Come to
think of it, "The Sage" should have more than enough points to return
home now. I'd really get a kick out of seeing him again. You should see
the new luxury liner we just brought back from San Diego, Ros. It's another
C-54, but a later model-bigger, better, and faster. It's beautiful inside
and makes our old one look pretty cheap. Only trouble it can fly for close
to 90 hours at a stretch which can mean some pretty rough and long trips.
Well, Ros, that's about it for now. Did get a promotion this month. (Congratulations,
Wallie). That doesn't amount to much, however, except a little extra money."
. . From Sgt. Erv Spring, Anti-Tank Co., 159th Inf.,
Somewhere in Germany: "I think it's about time I was paying my dues to
the now famous Drizzle. We spent some time in France and saw quite a bit
of it. Had a glimpse of Paris and was in Reims several times. Some of these
French girls look so sad I decided they must be mourning over the departure
of some of our 'Romeos' for other parts of Europe. Give my regards to all
of the old gang and thanks for the good old Drizzle." . . From Lt. (jg)
Ed Klassy, aboard the U.S.S. Williamson in the Pacific: "Talking of
pressure, the Nippers are really beginning to know what it means. Boy,
but these last few months out here have been active ones. During these
last few job's, we have as much as said: "Here I am! Come and get me if
you can!" Moving right up to the enemy coast line certainly indicates the
enormous strength of our navy. Pretty soon the Nippers won't even dare
to sneak out the back door without meeting disaster. The news of FDR's
death must have been a great shock to the nation. We got the (indecipherable
text)(our time). It produced a hushed, speculating atmosphere aboard
ship. From reading the Drizzle, it is easy to see Monticello is well represented
on all fronts. Howie Steinmann sure had some experience. These Japs
are mean looking boys. I don't like them! . . From Sgt. W. James Murphy,
Camp Crowder, Mo. : "Have just four days left of the 3-week training period
and then can expect to be shipped overseas any time. Went over to Springfield
Sunday and had a nice visit with "Whitey" Hill. He treated me to
a nice chicken dinner. (I don't suppose Whitey told you where he caught
it, did he, W. J.?) Have been having cold weather and lots of rain here."
CLEAR THE DECKS, FOLKS, HERE'S THE DOCTOR!-
Yes, that's right! It's that versatile literary gentleman, Capt. "Doc" Youngreen, still in the Philippines. And so, without further ado, let's listen to what he has to say: "I was in on the initial landing on Luzon at Lingayen. The naval bombardment preceding our landing was a terrific spectacle. The whole beach seemed to be blowing up like a gigantic volcano. When the ramp on our landing barge dropped (a hundred feet from the high water mark) and I started wading ashore, I was hardly the most calm and collected individual you have ever seen. I was trying to figure out how I ever got myself into such a spot. Everything turned out fine, however, for the Japs had been driven back by the barrage. We raced southward, took Clark field, and then turned west to dig the Japs out of the mountains. And that is not as easy as digging spuds. When we finished that job, we immediately got another. In a period of ten days, we made two more amphibious landings and secured two more islands which I cannot name. We are still engaged in mopping up the latter. I'm almost developing webbed feet from so many landing operations.
"I could go on at great length about the Philippines and their people. They are the most hospitable, generous people I have met, and curiously enough, the most musical. They keep us well supplied with eggs, chickens, bananas, and water melons.
"Say, Roz, I'd like to get the inside on the story concerning Erv (Mainspring, alias the "Camp Callan Casanova!") I must be missing something here. Has he been understudying Whitey or has he developed a new secret weapon? (That's right, Doc, but it's a military secret. You might get a little "dope" out of Capt. "Hoppe" Babler over at Wilmington, Dela., tho. You see, Hoppe is handling all of Erv's movie contracts while he's abroad. Understand he gets a handsome commission for doing it, too. I guess the captain's pretty touchy about divulging the size of his "cut", however, for fear of getting shoved way up into the higher income tax brackets.)
"Best wishes to all Drizzlites for an early reunion in the old home
HITTING THE HIGH SPOTS-
After three years and two months of service in the army, Cpl. Paulus
Roth has been given an honorable discharge. For the past few months,
P. A. had been serving as interpreter at Camp Blanding, Fla., where captured
German soldiers are imprisoned. . . Lt. Otto S. Blum, from whom
we last heard when he was headed for the Philippines a few months ago,
is now reported back in the states and on the staff of a naval hospital
not far from Miami. How about a letter high-lighting your experiences in
the Pacific, Doc? . . Capt. Norman Steussy, veteran of the Italian
campaign, is slated for a leave at home, may even now be aboard ship headed
this way. . . Pvt. Morgan Phillips, hospitalized with a slight shrapnel
wound in the back sustained April 18 in action in Germany, must be back
with his old outfit by this time.
LIEUT. "BOB" AMANS FALLS IN BATTLE-
From out of the far reaches of the Pacific war theatre has come sad news since the April Drizzle, news that told briefly of the death of Lieut. "Bob" Amans, aged 26, on the field of battle. He was killed on the little island of Jolo April 12. "Bob", originally a member of Co. K, Monroe, had been in the Pacific fighting almost from the very first. He was a native of Superior, and although he was not a Monticello boy, he had made many friends locally during the few years he had worked on farms in this vicinity.
I never knew "Bob" personally. My only contact with him was through letters he had written to me in appreciation of the Drizzle. But from what I have learned about him indirectly, I know that he must have been a superb soldier. "Bob" rose from the ranks to become a first lieutenant. Soldiers who served under him when he was a sergeant leading a platoon are unstinted in their praise of his brilliant leadership and rare courage.
Yes, "Bob" Amans was a soldier of rare courage. There wasn't anything he was afraid of. He was one of those breed. "The Hell you say!" sort of fellows who eagerly accepted any challenge and would wade right into the thick of battle where less courageous souls might waver and hold back. He was a soldier's soldier.
In the April Drizzle, I told of "Bob" and a lieutenant pal of his spending $2,800 during a 26-day "holiday" in Sydney, Australia. It seemed to me then that "Bob", who had narrowly eluded death many times in the past, must have felt that his good luck couldn't continue much longer-that some of these days death was going to catch up with him. And so he was making the most of what might be his last, final fling at fun. And, tragically, it was.
"All I want out of this war is my life," Bob once wrote to me. Surely for a soldier who had risked his life so bravely so many times-whose brilliant war record included seemingly endless months of battle against a savage foe in the frightful heat and torrential rains of the tropics and in dense and dangerous jungles-surely this was not asking too much.
But this, his only wish, was to be denied him.
There is something about "Bob" Amans himself that cannot be denied, however. Not even in death.
And that is that he was a great soldier-a young man of tremendous
courage, who was unselfish in his devotion to his country.
COURAGE, PATIENCE TRIUMPHING OVER SEVERE INJURY-
Harold ("Lucks") Luchsinger, M.H.S. '25. Now of Redwood City, Calif., who had his right leg just above the knee crushed into 22 pieces when he was caught between the rear bumper of his own truck and the front bumper of another vehicle while checking his load on a government project in the Aleutian islands, April 24, 1944, is now looking forward hopefully to a speedier recovery since surgeons recently completed a rare piece of surgery on the injured leg.
The surgeons removed a 5-inch slab of bone from "Luck's" left shin and inserted it into the shattered area above the right knee, held in place with metal plates on each side which are fastened tight by 13 screws which are screwed right into the leg bone.
Sent back to the states from the Aleutians a year ago this month "Lucks" had been a patient in a government hospital near Redwood City until Christmas and off and on since then. It has been a long pull, but his courage and patience seem at last to be triumphing over the injury. Since the operation, his leg feels much different now-as if it were "whole" again.
"Lucks" is married to the former Norma Tansi, a California girl,
and they have two children, Sandra, 5, and Harold, 1. Before going
to the Aleutians, the former local boy spent seven months in the merchant
marines, making three trips to the Pacific area.
SAVED BY A MIRACLE-
Only a miracle saved Tommy Brusveen from serious injury or possible
death when a large German 180 m.m. railroad gun planted a shell directly
on the apartment house in the city of Nieuss, Germany, where the former
local barber and his outfit were sleeping on the night of April 2. There
was a terrific explosion, the walls of the apartment house seemed to shake
to their very foundations, and brick and plaster flew in every direction.
Two soldiers were killed, an army colonel lost a leg, and 14 other doughboys
were hospitalized for treatment of injuries. Although Tommy's room was
badly wrecked and he was partly buried under bricks and other debris, he
escaped with only a bump over one eye. The Monticelloan took numerous snapshots
of the wrecked apartment house which clearly show the severe damage and
how very lucky he was to escape with just a minor injury.
HERE'S THE SAGE OF THE SIEGFRIED LINE AGAIN!-
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, it's none other than S/Sgt. "Bob" Blumer, who's standing at the Drizzle's microphone rarin' to go, so take it away, Robert:
"How's "Friskie Frankie" Clark, the farmer, these days? Still on the beam? And "Chip" Babler? Still living west of town, I suppose, where he can gaze across Lake Staedtler and watch every time one of "Dude" Elmer's hens shapes another 7¢ egg. Suppose Jack Zweifel's still around there. Tell him I said hello. Imagine Harry Walters about ready to open the swimming pool. I'll never forget the day I dedicated that 'baby'. It was plenty chilly. Is Barney Karlen still down at the lumber yards? Say, he ought to be over here. This German super-highway is really a lulu, Ros. Barney could lay a sandbag on the throttle and just let 'er roll. Too bad Whitey" Hill couldn't have stuck around a while longer. He didn't get to see much and he should have been here for the big wind-up. But Whitey's young yet and he'll probably get into the next one. See where "Boobie" Kissling stopped some lead, too. That should make us fraternity brothers.
"I'm sending some fancy German medals to Wendell Barlow for him
to keep for me. Took the one with the blue ribbon and iron cross off a
Nazi battalion commander. He was sore as hell about it, but I couldn't
help that any. After all he still had his life so what the hell was he
"I KNOW THEY ARE TRUE." SAYS DEBBIE-
Sgt. "Debbie" Moritz, a radioman with Hdq. Co., 230th F.A. Bn., is a quiet sort of a lad, who takes things calmly and never has very much to say. In other words, it takes a good deal to get him excited or mad. But the stories which American and British soldiers have told "Debbie" of the awful tortures and indignities they were made to suffer as prisoners of the Germans have been more than he could stand.
"All of the articles you read in the newspapers about German atrocities may sound unbelievable," writes Debbie, "But I know they are true.
"These Germans have been listening to Nazi propaganda so long they actually
believe it. They don't seem to think there is anything wrong in torturing
or killing people so long as Hitler says so. I've talked to some British
soldiers that were held by these Nazi bastards for five years and you can
well imagine the horrible stories they have to tell. I've also talked to
American boys, too, and words cannot describe how happy they are to be
freed from these inhuman German devils.
MONTICELLO MARINES IN NATIONAL NEWSLIGHT-
Two Monticello marines have received national publicity within the past few weeks via Associated Press dispatches hot from the blazing battle areas on flaming Okinawa. They are Pfc. Don Pearson and Pfc. Alvin Schmid, both members of the 1st Marine Division but serving with different battalions.
Don moved into the national newslight first, along with Sgt. Don Williams of Monroe as members of a "Lost Battalion"-34 survivors who fought their way back to their lines after running a gamut of terrifying experiences which saw them pounded mercilessly by Jap mortar bombs, grenades, and machine gun fire, and even bombed in error by their own planes.
"Schmitty" made many of the nation's front pages as a member of the first Marine patrol to go into the battered Okinawa capital city of Naha, roaming it for hours without discovering a single Jap. As they were leaving the city, however, a Nip soldier leaped from nowhere, seemingly, threw a hand grenade at them and wounded two of the five-Marine patrol.
"Nearly every building in Naha is leveled," declared Schmitty, who was
unharmed by the grenade. "In doorways lay charred bodies of Jap soldiers.
Once we had to crawl around a mound of debris and stinking corpses."
MY SINCERE THANKS-
To these Drizzle donators: Jake Wittenwyler, Rudy Ammon, Jr.,
Henry Zentner, Waldo Zimmerman, H. C. Elmer, Ernie
Robert, J. Burgy, C. M. Stauffer, A. Kistler,
F. Stauffer, F. Deppeler, Mrs. F. K. Hefty, Mrs.
James Hancock, Mrs. John Wittenwyler, Sr., J. Kubly,
F. Gempeler, M. Schmid, I. B. Pierce, J. Fahrney,
F. C. Karlen, A. Staedtler, Dr. Baebler, Sylvia
Breylinger, Mrs. W. Christen, Fred Werner Blum, H.
Feenje, J. H. Disch, Freder. Disch, Dr. Horne,
Dr. Clarke, Sam Pierce, Mr.Mrs. Gilman Schmid, B.
Legler, Harry Klassy. Mr.Mrs Freder. Strahm, E. Sarbacker,
Gus Hefty, Mrs. Jack Zweifel, John Wittwer, Roscoe
Smith, Monroe; Mrs. Florence Babler, Madison; Jake Stauffer,
Mr.Mrs. U. J. Elmer, Mrs. Jack Steinmann, Rev. Warren
Prisk, Seventh Grade Pupils, Jake Schultz, H. Krueger,
Mrs. W. Zeller, Jake Koller.
THE LAST ROUND-UP-
"Thanks a million for the Drizzle," writes Charlie Gollickson
from the European sector. "Just been relieved of guard and it's darker
than a stack of black cats." . "Hal" Schultz is in Austria. . Lt.
Ray Burns, veteran of 62 air raids over Europe, now back in this country,
popped in and out of town so fast the other night and day I didn't get
to see him. Reports soon to Miami for reassignment. . . Frederick Voegeli,
USN, recently arrived in the Philippines. . . Whitey Hill's here
sporting a 3-months' leave. He'll attend 'U' summer school. No, Vince
Gerry, Whitey hasn't got a rabbit's foot or a horseshoe. He merely
sleeps on a "bed" of four-leaf clovers! . . I'll be back in June . So,
so long until then and write right away!