Former New Albin Girl in
Service in Australia
Austin, Minn., Daily Herald -- Leota Kelly,
Austin girl who has been active in recreation work
for the states of Minnesota and Iowa, is among 16
young American women active in the American Red Cross
service club which serves the troops in the area of
General Douglas Mac Arthur's headquarters in
Australia according to an Associated Press dispatch
from Australia. Miss Kelly, who has two sisters,
Marie Kelly Gerahty and Bernadette Kelley, living
here at the present time, at one time headed WPA
recreation work for the city of Austin. Then she was
given the position of WPA recreation supervisor for
the Southern Minnesota district with the headquarters
in New Ulm, and was soon promoted to the position of
assistant director of WPA recreation for Minnesota,
and later served in the same capacity for Iowa.
Another sister of Miss Kelly, Margaret, expects to
leave in the near future for overseas duty with the
Red Cross, and her sister, Katherine, expects to
enter overseas duty as a nurse in government service.
her brother, Walter is in the army and another
brother Alfred is an aircraft inspector at Briggs
Aircraft Co., in Detroit, Mich. Leota Kelly was born
and educated in New Albin, and was a daughter of the
late Mr. and Mrs. Frank L. Kelly. Miss Kelly has many
friends in New Albin also a grandmother.
~clipping is from a New Albin newspaper, undated
~contributed by Errin Wilker
More Young Men To Be Called To Camp By July 1st
With the national defense effort steadily gaining
momentum, and more training camps constructed and
enlarged, quotas for young men to take military
training under the selective service program are
expected to be increased. According to word received
by the Allamakee draft board, this county will be
called upon to provide 53 additional men by the first
of July, most of whom are expected to be drafted.
An order for five more registrants to take a
years military training at Ft. Des Moines was
received by a the local selective service board last
week and is not included in the proposed quota of 53
The men will leave on April 15 and those drafted to
fill the order are Leo Robinson of
Harpers Ferry whose local order number is 177; Walter
Burt of Waukon, 181; Ervin Bockhause
of near Dorchester, 221; Duwayne Bulman
of Postville, 262; and Arthur Nierling
of Union Prairie, 268.
Leaving today by bus for Ft. Des Moines were two
young men as replacements for trainees who were
rejected in a previous order. They are Eugene
Lee of West Ridge, a volunteer; and Albert
Britt of near Dorchester, a draftee.
Joe Freeman of Postville, who left
Wednesday of last week with another group of men, was
rejected at camp because of a slight physical
shortcoming but as yet an order for a replacement in
his case has not been received.
Leaves for Honolulu
Lawrence Bud Anderson,
ensign in the U. S. Navy, and son of Mr. and Mrs. A.
R. Anderson of Waukon, has been called to duty aboard
a transport ship, The Anders, to sail
from San Pedro, Calif., for Honolulu where he joins
the officers of the battleship Arizona
which is stationed in Pearl Harbor.
Ensign Anderson visited here recently after
completing a reserve officers course at Northwestern
University, ad then departed for the west coast, with
his classmate, Ensign Donald Steele.
~Allamakee Journal and Lansing Mirror, April
~transcribed by Ann Krumme
H.J. Uglum left by bus last Thursday for the
Pacific Coast, from where he expects to be
transferred shortly. He had enjoyed a furlough with
his father, Hafter Uglum and other relatives.
-Francis Rooney of the U. S. Navy
arrived home Thursday after having completed his
basic training at the Great Lakes Training Station
and is spending his leave with home folks and other
-According to word received by home folks of Donald
Hegeman who was inducted into service last
week, he passed the examination for entrance into the
U. S. Navy and will take his boot
training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.
~clipping from unknown Allamakee county newspaper,
~transcribed by Errin Wilker
Ewing and Hanson at
Among the most recent arrivals at the U.S. naval
training station here are two former Waukon men who
reported for duty last week and are now undergoing
recruit training. First getting instructions in
military drill, seamanship, and naval procedure,
these men are also being groomed for fighting through
the navys vigorous physical hardening program.
Upon completion of the recruit training period, the
men will be granted a nine-day leave, at which time
they will probably return home. The new Bluejackets
from Waukon are: Melvin John Ewing,
17, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin C. Ewing, and Earl
Myron Hanson, 21, son of Mrs. Alvina Hanson,
Lansing News - In scanning the names
of enlistments in the Des Moines paper, last week,
the name of Marc Wilder was among
those enlisting in the navy.
~Waukon Democrat, September 24, 1942
~transcribed by Errin Wilker
War Veteran Enlists in Present Conflict
Edward L. Burdick of this city
became the first World War I veteran of this
community to volunteer for duty in the present war
this morning when word reached him from the 7th Army
Corps office in Omaha, Nebr., that he had passed his
physical and mental tests taken at Des Moines a few
weeks ago with flying colors.
Mr. Burdick was a volunteer in the first World War,
serving at that time in the infantry of the Students
Army Training Corps. He is a charter member of the
American Legion Post at Ames. Now awaiting his call
to service, Mr. Burdick has been accepted for the
Volunteer Officer Candidate service in the infantry
branch. At present he is at his home in this city.
~Postville Herald, Wednesday, October 7, 1942
~transcribed by S. Ferrall
Following is a list of Allamakee young men who
answered the August call for military service, as
furnished by the Selective Service Board:
William L. McCormick, Waukon
Robert E. Imhoff, New Albin
Donald H. Stone, Waukon
George W. Thornton, Marquette
Lawrence N. Colsch, Waukon
John R. Schulze, Lansing
James C. Marston, Postville
Roger H. McMillan, Waukon
James L. Faegre, Waukon
Gerald E. Guthneck, Harpers
Alan J. Beucher, Postville
Dean A. Meyer, Postville
LaMont F. Gericke, Postville
Leo S. Severson, Waukon
Cleon D. Sires, New Albin
Vincent T. Riley, Waukon
Gerald K. Palmer, Waukon
Roland W. Madorin, Postville
James F. Dougherty, Waukon
Those enlisting are:
Charles L. Beucher, Postville
Arnold J. Styir, Lansing
Melvin S. Bell, Waukon
~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, Iowa, 1943
~transcribed by Errin Wilker
Breeser Writes From Italy
It is really hot here these days. I sure do a lot of
sweating but one thing it cools off at night, and boy
do I sleep. Tomorrow I am going swimming in the sea;
you know salt water is good for a person. Some of the
boys went today, but I did not gowas too busy.
You wrote that you did not hear from me for a long
time; I am sorry but I couldn't write, but now I have
time so I am going to make up for it. I really didn't
mind it so much this time when I was up
"there" a long time but got along fine;
seen a lot of the country and lots of towns. Of
course the Germans were always trying to get in a
lucky shot but we always beat them to the draw. My
gun section was the first one in town and I tell you
I never heard the Italians holler so much as they
did. Before I could get out of my jeep they were all
around us throwing flowers, and before I got four
steps away I had some of the best "Dago
Red" wine in Italy. The first thing we did was
to go looking for a place to sleep for the night, so
the boys and I went into one big house where the
people had run away while the fighting was going on
so we took over. I got myself a single sleeper with
nice clean sheets on it, a clean pillow and found an
alarm clock which I put on the dresser, and I really
did sleep. I never heard Jerry throw in any shells
all tht night, but I am getting so used to it now
that sometimes I don't even hear at all, and I know
when to duck and not to and when Jerry starts
shooting I can always tell what kind of gun it is.
You know I am getting pretty wise at this war, but I
had enough and am ready to quit.
Well, from that place we moved out and came to a town
where the people treated us like kings. They didn't
know who we were at first. My buddies and I were
walking down the street and the people were looking
out the doors and windows with such big eyes and they
asked: Americana, aye-see vin-aquae malta-bona; that
means American come here very good. We went into one
house and a lady thought we were some movie stars;
got all the wine we could drink there. We walked down
the street and a well dressed Italian came up to us
and asked if we wouldn't come to his house so we
went, and boy did they treat us good. First thing
they do is bring out the drinks and fruit, peaches,
pears, plums, applesthe dining room wasn't good
enough for us and they took us into the parlor and
their two daughters went out and got us each a big
red rose and some other flowers, I don;t know the
name, and they pinned them on our shirts. Wish you
could have seen us. Where I am now they are all
fascists and boy do I hate them. I saw the
"Leaning Tower of Pisa," and no doubt you
have heard of it before. It is one of the seven
wonders of the world; made of all marble and I don't
see how it stands. I don't know if it will stay
standingdepends on the Germans, if they get out
O.K., if not we'll blow them out. I tell you I have
seen so many dead bodies lying around, some all torn
to pieces, that now I don't mind it so much; a person
gets used to it. I am on the front lines and have
seen so much and gone through so much that I can tell
things that will make anybody's head swim.
Cpl. Fred Breeser
~clipping, ca1943 ~contributed by Errin Wilker
Men and a Girl - Sara Smerud, Red Cross Worker
Sara Smerud, of New
Albin, Iowa, American Red Cross girl now
in Egypt, spent a day away from her
duties as a recreational worker with
American troops, viewing the ancient
Temple of Carmac at Luxor on the Nile. A
graduate of the University of Minnesota,
with Cum Laude in the class of 1942, Sara
Smerud was affiliated with the East
Minneapolis Recreational Association
prior to her overseas assignment with the
The Chaplain invited me to go along on a
bush trip into the hinterland of Central
Africa, but warned be that it might be a bit rugged. He
mentioned casually that 41 GIs were also coming on the
same tripbut being a Red Cross girl, the latter
didnt scare me. In our work in the Red Cross, we
have grown accustomed to the unbalanced proportion of men
and women. I was rather new at this station, and aside
from a bit of natural curiosity about the
bush, I decided that this would be a
wonderful opportunity to meet a lot of soldiers, and get
acquainted with my boys.
Sunday morning was bright and hot, as I gaily chose my
seat in a ten-wheeler loaded with cameras, mess kits,
canteens and soldiers. We sped through the camp gate with
laughter and song, delighted to be on our way to the
beckoning hills and jungle swamps. The words that one
might use to describe a jungle are beyond meall I
can say is that it is not reproducible in
moviesregardless of Hedy La Marr. This was a
special trip, carefully arranged because we were going
further inland than on regularly scheduled affairs. We
arrived at our destination, a truly lovely native
village, bedecked in brilliant color and filled with
native laughter. The good priest in the village welcomes
us, and his faithful servants set before us the
mysterious repast known as fu-fu. I say
mysterious for I never did taste it; yes, I ate it, but
my taste buds did not function from the first mouthful
on. The concoction that was our main dish consisted
mainly of red pepper. A chicken was fed on red pepper,
then cooked in red pepper. Tomatoes and red pepper were
cooked together in tin pansthen the tomatoes were
thrown out, and the remaining red pepper sauce added to
the already hot chicken. Needless to say, the meal was
not enjoyed by any of the soldiers or myself. The
Chaplain, however, had been a missionary in this area for
many years, and had doubtless grown a new lining for his
throat, mouth and stomach of a super strength stiple-X
variety. He alone seemed to enjoy his meal.
During the afternoon we played soccer with the
nativeswho must have been capable of doing
embroidery work with their toes. We dutifully patted
little pickaninnies on their curly black heads, were
presented to the big chief, and listened to a
youths band which had a trumpeter that positively
swung us off our tired feet. The afternoon passed
quickly, and the time had arrived for us to start back to
camp. We piled into trucks. The first truck started off,
and disappeared around the bend. Our truck didnt
budge an inch. We looked at each otherand climbed
out to give the driver unprofessional advice. Then back
into the truck, and the natives pushed, the engine
coughed, and that was all. One of the soldiers cleaned
the gas line, and to our complete disgust we found spring
water flowing through the gas-hardened veins of our
ten-wheeler. The five gallon can of water we had brought
along for drinking purposes had been poured into the gas
tank by some mischievous native. The other truck came
back, wondering what had become of us. They were thirsty,
too, and we all suffered together. Beautiful jungle
streams all around uspolluted water infected with
every imaginable animal, vegetable and human filth.
Being enterprising Americansand impatientwe
couldnt linger any longer, so we hitched our truck
to the other, and began our retreat to camp. The first
ten miles we sat blindly in the back of the truck, and
watched our rear wheels skim across culverts with
one-sixteenth of an inch to spare. We felt the gently
crumble of the earth beneath the wheels as we skimmed
lightly along the edges of precipices. At least the first
30 miles we were favored by daylight. Then suddenly we
entered the rain belt, the deep forest, and really dense
jungle. The sun was setting, but it was black in there.
The drivers put on their lights and searched out the
meandering highway. The road was bound on both sides by
high jungle walls. By the miles we were getting more
thirsty; it seemed as though the red pepper had sprouted
roots, and was draining every drop of moisture from our
This Red Cross worker is fairly well-padded, and should
have been more comfortable than my truckload of
GIsbut I became so weary of my seat, months later I
could have gone to the Motor Pool, and selected that very
same portion of the bench that I had sat on during those
long bumpy miles. We sangold American songs, war
songs, and everything that we could think of to pass the
time away. That didnt last very long, and croaks
and whispers ascended from our throats. Occasionally some
soldier would light a cigarette, then disgustingly put it
out. Tastes like red pepper, he would mutter
in the darkness. Everything aggravated our thirst.
Being the only girl, and wearing the Red Cross uniform, I
felt that I should keep a conversation going, at least. I
talked and listened to 19 soldiers about everything
imaginable the soldiers children, golf
scores, Sloppy Joes, Main Street, malted milks, and
double-talk. On we tore through the black night, slipping
like an unsteady skater over greasy roads, painfully
creeping up each little hill behind the first truck.
Then, poised on the top, theyd shift and swerve
down a steep grade. Brakes would squeal, and wed
squealwith relief as the back wheels would miss a
ditch. One mile from camp MPs passed us, satisfied that
we would make it. We did, but what a disillusioned group,
tired, thirsty, black and blue and hungry. But the GIs
thanked the Chaplain for a lovely trip. Americans are
funny peopleand Im glad Im one of
~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, Iowa, Abt. 1943
~contributed by Errin Wilker
Red Cross Worker Home from
Miss Sarah Smerud, eldest daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Smerud, is home on a visit after
nineteen months as a Red Cross worker. She volunteered in
April, 1943, and after three weeks training in
Washington, D.C., was sent overseas, arriving back in the
states on Dec. 5, 1944. Following is an interesting
sketch prepared by her for Journal readers:
To be home again after nineteen months overseas is the
most wonderful feeling in the world. Not only do the
familiar faces, topography and miscellaneous scenes renew
pleasant memories, but they also renew the realization
that this section of the country is particularly blessed
with all the good things in life. I do not mean to infer
that other countries and peoples are not interesting, for
they certainly are.
I had the pleasure of visiting and working in nearly
every section of Africa, except South Africa. From the
Gold Coast, through the Belgian Congo to Kenya, from the
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan to Egypt and French Morocco, over
jungle trails, desert and mountains. I have seen much of
the comparatively unknown country of Africa. Down there
they still practice ju ju and have their primitive dances
under the palm trees in the moonlight. In Egypt I visited
the pyramids, sphinx and temples at Luxor which were
parts of the great civilization that existed thousands of
years before the birth of Christianity. Yes, I drove
across the desert to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and there
saw the historical spots dear to all of us, the places
that are especially recalled to our minds at this time of
the year. It is not hard to reconcile history with fact
when you see the people now living at the birthplace of
Christ, when you see how they live, dress and act.
Tel-a-Viss, the youngest modern city in the world, is but
a few hours drive from Jerusalem, and the vast vineyards
and fertile fields under modern cultivation contrast
sharply with the wandering Shylock or pleasant tilling
his plot of ground with a forked stick.
Into Persia, the country which breathes of the oriental,
the ragged peasants dying on the streets in the winter
time and the more fortunate living in unimaginable
luxury. I saw them make the famous Persian rugs. Little
girls, 8-14 years old, tie each strand of yarn by hand
and work the richest designs in the world. There the
diesel engine competes with the donkey and the airplane
with the camel. The stark simplicity of the rugged
mountains matches the serenity of the bluest blue sky I
have ever seen.
In some of these places I worked and in some I just
visited, but nearly everywhere some of our American
soldiers were stationed, or like me, just visiting. They
are seeing the same people and places I saw and they,
too, will have new ideas when they come home. Most of
them are taking their isolation from the states in a good
way but all of them want to come home. You asked me what
I am going to do now that I am here. I am going to work
as soon as possible in a vital defense industry unless it
is necessary to help my dad on the farm. I want to work
as hard and fast as I can so our boys over there can have
the weapons and essentials necessary to successfully stop
the present conflict so that the war may be over even
just one minute sooner; then our boys can come home.
~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, Iowa, Dec. 1944
~contributed by Errin Wilker
~Read more about Sara Smerud in the School Records
section of this website.
We have all read and heard of the
soggy mud our fighters encounter in the isles of the
Southwest Pacific area. This condition has led Private
Dick Hale to compose the following poem
which we pass along to our readers:
NEW GUINEA'S GOT IT
Are you looking
for bugs or flies,
Any color, shape or size?
Anything that crawls or flies?
New Guinea's got it !
Want some heat that'll make you sweat
Sweat until you're soaking wet,
Heat that makes you over-het?
New Guinea's got it !
Could I interest you in a spider
A big one to keep you awake at night
And make you mad enough to fight?
New Guinea's got it !
Looking for mud, the gooie kind,
Searched everywhere but no can find
Fellow, you can rest your mind --
New Guinea's got it !
Could be there's something else you
Well, drop in sometime and spend a
New Guinea's got it !
~Postville Herald newspaper
clipping hand dated 1944, from her mother's scrapbook
~transcribed by Mary Durr
Rahistoric Wild West Rodeo Held
Ramgarh Training Center - Under a burning Indian
sun and in clouds of dust from a timeless continent,
the U.S. Army last week scored another interesting if
not historic premiere for this part of the world when
it presented the first Wild West Rodeo ever staged in
It was a case of East meets West with a vengeance,
out here in the wide open spaces of Bihar Province,
as a motley audience of 2,000 American G.I.'s, Indian
sepoys, Chinese "bingpos," British Tommies
and a miscellany of civilians watched a fast-moving,
hell-for-leather two hours of dramatic action which,
despite the difficulties of staging the performance
12,000 miles from its rightful habitat, in many
respects equaled and in some comedy aspects surpassed
the same article at home.
Dreamed up by a Quartermaster Remount outfit
stationed at this camp, the performance was a
brilliant surprise to the sophisticates of the
audience who had drifted out in anticipation of a
typically bungling amateur performance. From the
opening Grand Entry to the final event, proceedings
moved with a professional finesse which attested more
powerfully than the printed programs to the fact that
more than a dozen of the remount soldiers were
professional rodeo entertainers in peacetime at home.
Led by Lt. Howard (King) Mayfield, professional rodeo
rider of Estes Park, Colo., who supervised the
production and emceed at the public address
microphone during the performance, and the amiable
clowning throughout the entire show of S/Sgt.
Arnold A. (Hatless Snafu) Hexom, of Wakon, Ia.*
, the show had everything from bareback mule riding,
bronco busting, steer roping and bulldogging to
special trick riders, rope artists and a jumping mule
which, with Sgt. Walter L. Greery of Richmond, Va.,
up, leaped spectacularly over a flaming barrier.
The Roundup is a weekly
newspaper of the United States Forces, published
by and for the men in Burma and India, from news
and pictures supplied by staff members, soldier
correspondents, Army News Service and United
Press. The Roundup is published Thursday of each
week and is printed by The Statesman in New Delhi
and Calcutta, India. Editorial matter should be
sent directly to Major Floyd Walter, Hq., U.S.F.,
I.B.T., APO 885, New York, N.Y., and should
arrive not later than Saturday in order to be
included in that week's issue. Pictures must
arrive by Friday and must be negatives or
enlargements. Stories should contain full name
and organization of sender. Complaints about
circulation should be sent directly to Capt.
Drexel Nixon, Base Section APO 465, New York,
N.Y. Units on the mailing list should make
notification of any major change in personnel
strength or any change of APO.
*S/Sgt Arnold H. Hexom of Waukon, IA
~source: C.B.I. Newspaper Roundup Vol III,
No.9, Reg. No. L5015, Delhi, India, Thursday November 9,
~transcribed by Arthur Hagemeier
Years' Service Without a Furlough
T-Sgt. Theodore Hoerer, son of
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hoerer of Lansing, has been in
the Air Corps three years next spring and never had a
furlough since leaving home and the past 22 months he
has been overseas advancing with the Air Corps
through Africa, Pantelleria, Sicily and for many
months now stationed in Italy. He is a member of a
hard fighting squadron that have been bombarding
Germany regularly and of interest to Allamakee
relatives and friends is the following letter
received last week:
Italy, Dec. 7th, 1944
Just a line to let you know that I am fine and hope
you are all the same. Today is the start of the
fourth year of the war but it hardly seems that long
ago. I can distinctly remember hearing the radio
blaring out the sneak attack of Pearl Harbor and the
tables seem very much turned today.
I have not received the Journal in a long
time so I guess they must be slipping up on our mail
as there couldn't be that many lost. Have received
two Christmas packages from you and thanks a million.
You asked me what I need; well I could use some
gloves very handy, a pair of pig-skin or horse-hide
work gloves (tight fitting) and also a pair of dress
gloves would be much appreciated.
Imagine old man winter has really set in earnest back
home now although we haven't had much cold weather
Say is Jack Hurm still stationed here in Italy? He
owes me a letter for a long time now and it has set
me to wondering where he is.
Our outfit is getting quite classy after a fashion.
We now have china on the mess table, a squadron
shower, group theater, group band and a club house so
you can see we are quite independent as far as
entertainment and facilities are concerned.
I sent you a small package with 3 scarfs home. Give
one to Sadie and Ethel. The other gadget is an
Italian flag which I had in my locker so threw it in
the package for home. It is a sort of souvenir if you
will keep it for me. It had quite a story which I
can't explain now but will long remember.
Well, I guess I am about out of wind so will close
for this time. Wishing you all the best of luck and
health, with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As ever, your son,
~Allamakee Journal, Lansing, IA, Dec. 1944
~contributed by Errin Wilker
From Crew of Old Chicago Sign With New Cruiser
Chicago Tribune, March 29: At Sea Aboard
the New U.S. Cruiser Chicago (Delayed)
When Capt. Richard R. Hartung was assigned the
command of this cruiser he announced that he wanted a
fighting ship and a fighting crew. He has both. One
look at the Chicagos powerful guns, at
her slim lines that virtually show her potential
speed, and you know that heres a fighting ship
second to none for her class. One look at her crew
and you know equally well that heres a tough,
rough, and ready group of men that will match up with
any other fighting men, anywhere at any time. At
least 60 per cent of them are battle seasoned. Name
any naval engagement, and you will find a veteran.
Most of them saw service in the Pacific fighting, but
some took part in both Pacific and Atlantic battles.
As a group, they sport all the battle service ribbons
the navy offers, and Purple Heart men are plentiful.
One group among them, however, stands out. They are
survivors from the old Chicago, which was
sunk in combat with Japanese torpedo planes near
Guadalcanal Jan. 29-30, 1943. There are 19 of them,
every one aching for a chance to get back at
Hirohitos boys. Every one requested transfer to
the new Chicago. They voiced two reasons:
one, sentiment, and two, vengeance. The old Chicago
was like home to us, and we felt pretty badly when
she went down, explained Orville Somermeyer of
New Albin, Iowa, quartermaster, 2nd class.
Besides, we want to get even, and this new Chicago
looks like the baby that can help us do it.
Somermeyer well remembers the two day aerial attack
that sank the old Chicago. His story is
typical of that of other survivors. The Japs came at
dusktheir favorite timefor the first
attack, Jan. 29. A destroyer off starboard first
sighted them, and sent up strong flak and warning
signals. One or two of the Japs dropped red
illuminating flares which lighted up the sea and
their target with a strange, fearful glow.The Chicagos
guns were blazing by now, but the Japs got through
with one torpedo, then another. One damaged enemy
plane crashed off port, splashing fuel flames all
around, and burning many men, including Seaman Wm. F.
Dunn of Cleveland, O., who now is aboard this ship.
The Chicago took in water, more than the books said
she could hold, and all night all hands, including
officers, worked on the bucket brigade to bail her
out. For a time the cruiser Louisville towed the
damaged warship, but later turned the job over to the
Navajo, a seagoing tug.
At 4:15 p.m. the next day the Japs attacked again.
The tug cut loose and the stricken Chicago
stood still in the water, a dead duck for the
Japs to shoot at.
And the Japs did but the Chicago's men
fought back and downed several enemy planes. Without
maneuverability and actually without motion, the Chicago
was doomed. Four torpedoes struck. Nineteen minutes
later the Chicago rolled over and settled
gently beneath the surface. Sixty-two officers and
men of a company of 1,100 perished.
Thats the ship and those are the men that the Chicago
veterans aboard this new Chicago hope to
avenge. Its just natural, said D.E. Smith of
Newton, Ia., a gunners mate 1st class.
Storekeeper 2-c Orville Somermeyer of New Albin, who
is serving with the U.S. Navy aboard the new heavy
cruiser USS Chicago, recently met WLS News
Editor and War Correspondent Julian Bentley, on board
the Chicago for its major trial run. Bentley
made a recording of their meeting and interview, and
rushed it to WLS for broadcast. It has been scheduled
for broadcast on Friday, April 6, between 6:00 and
6:15 p.m. on WLS, 890 on the radio dial.
~undated clipping ca1945, contributed by Errin Wilker
~note: the contract for the new U.S. Cruiser Chicago
(CA136) was let to the Fore Rover plant, Bethlehem Steel
Co., Quincy, Mass. in April 1943, and commissioned in
1945 (source: Wikipedia)
~a photo of the Somermeyer brothers, Orville & Robert
was with this article & has been placed with their
entries on the WWII Honor
Soldier on Leave
Corporal Lyle Schroeder of the U.
S. Marine Corps arrived here Friday to spend a
thirty-day leave in the home of his parents, Mr. and
Mrs. Ed F. Schroeder. He had arrived at San Diego,
Calif., Marine Base the week before and telephoned
his parents to be on the look out for his arrival
here. Lyle enlisted in the Marine Corps'
"Avengers of Wake Island" group when that
unit was formed several years ago.
~Postville Herald clipping dated May 2, 1945
~transcribed by Mary Durr
According to figures released this week Allamakee
County has lost 34 men in the world struggle to date.
Men who called Postville their home and who have
given their lives in this war include the following:
Henry Barnholtz, returned flyer from Italy, killed in
railroad wreck while enroute back to camp after
furlough; Charles Bloxham, army, killed in action in
New Guinea; Roland Erickson, navy, killed aboard the
battleship California in Lingayen Bay, Philippine
Islands; Wayne Green, air corps, killed in England;
Howard Humphrey, air corps, killed in flight over
Germany; Russell Johnson, army, killed in action in
New Guinea; Carleton Kenney, navy, killed in sinking
of his ship in the Atlantic area; Robert Kneeland,
navy air corps, killed in action at Biak Island in
southwest Pacific; Donald Koth, army, killed in
action in Italy; Donald Lawson, army, killed in
action in New Guinea; Andrew Oelberg, army, killed in
action in Italy; Lyle Poesch, navy died in hospital
~newspaper clipping, hand-dated 1945, from the
scrapbook of Nina Swenson
~transcribed by S. Ferrall
The total list of Allamakee county's known World
War II dead as of February 15, is 37, according to
information received from the war records division of
the Iowa Department of History and Archives, Des
Moines. The casualty list for all of Iowa is 7,268.
Seventy-one names have been added since January 1,
most of them being men previously reported as missing
in action, with accidental death accounting for the
~newspaper clipping, hand-dated 1945 transcribed by M.
Durr, from her mother's collection.
Stewart Mate 2/c Harry Wheat
called home folks, Dr. & Mrs. R.H. Wheat Tuesday
morning of this week to inform his parents that he
was ready to embark for the Pacific within a short
while. Harry, with Boyd Woodmansee,
son of Mrs. Fody Woodmansee, will leave together on
the Eli Whitney Liberty Ship.
In a recent letter recieved by Miss Bernadine
Larkin of Waterville from her brother, Cpl.
Michael L. Larkin, Ser. Co. 327, Engr Bn.,
sent from Germany, dated April 23, 1945, he writes as
Dear Bernadette: Your letter of April 10th arrived
yesterday. Glad to know that everyone is well. I am
well also and am taking life kind of easy now. There
isn't much work to be done as there was a month or
two ago, but my name still appears on the Guard
Roster as much as ever. I sent a box home today
containing a couple of rigles and some bayonets and
swords. Also a pair of German boots. I hope the box
gets home O.K. It sure has a long way to travel. I
would like to pick up a shot gun, so I would have one
when i get home. You have probably read in the papers
about the slave workers that were burned to death
near Gard Delagen. I saw it when some of the bodies
were still smoking. It is unbelievable until you
actually see it, and then almost too horrible to look
at. I guess the Germans GS and the Luftwaffe troops
are being held responsible for the atrocity. Two
Americans were among the 1,100 that were cremated.
Well, I guess this will be all for tonight, so
good-bye until the next time.
Following are excerpts from a letter received by
Mrs. Dale Goltz from her brother, Pfc. W. C.
Campbell, stationed somewhere in Germany,
written on the 5th of May:
Hello Sis, well, I finally received some mail from
you, it had been over three weeks since I heard from
You needn't worry about Dale he won't see combat with
one eye; anyway he won't be able to write and tell
where he is for at least two weeks or maybe more,
depends on where he lands. Yes, I have finally
received all of my Christmas packages and they were
in good shape too. I got the picture Mother sent and
Pat and Bud look pretty good in uniform. Iused to be
with the 4th Armored Division, and it is one of the
best outfits in the Third Army. They were the second
division to be awarded the Presidential citation in
history and that ain't hay!
I am going to send my combat infantry badge home so I
hope you get it all right. Send me some candy and, if
you can get it, send me a couple of rolls of some
baby Brownie film, I have a small camera but no film.
How is the weather at home? I suppose it is pretty
nice by now, at least I hope so.
~Waukon Republican Standard, Wed. May 23,
~transcribed by Jeanie Hegeman
OUR BOYS with the COLORS
Corporal Gates Williams is now
stationed in Innsbruck, Austria, and tells of his
interesting experiences in the following letter under
date of June 6:
Dear Bill I have thought of you and the folks
back home many,many times since I arrived overseas. I
doubt if many of the home town folks have any idea
where I have been, and what I have seen. I know I
have written very few letters, for which I am not
proud. But because of one thing and another, I just
didn't do it.
I have seen a lot of country that I wish everyone
could have seen, only under different circumstances.
Much of it is beautiful, and some that was beautiful
has been destroyed beyond repair. Our Division has
been the big spear-head for many of the 7th Army
drives, and I have seen the towns burning brightly as
we passed through them. Those are some of the things
that weren't so beautiful.
I could go on for hours about the things I have seen
but I would rather tell of one or two things that
stand out above the rest. One thing I might mention
is the concentration camp which I saw. It was by far
the worst thing I have ever seen or dreamed about in
my life. I rather doubted some of the stories about
them while I was in the States, but I have had to
change my mind after seeing some of these things we
all heard about. I am enclosing two snapshots taken
of some of the bodies there.
(Pictures Gates sent show one body severed in twain,
while in the other picture a group of guards watch
Germans digging graves in which to bury the victims.
The other outstanding thing was being present at the
signing of the surrender papers for all German troops
fighting on the French First and U.S. Seventh Army
fronts. It was a big night for us! The whole city of
Innsbruck lifted the black-out for the first time in
years, and I must say it was really something to see
a light in a window again, after not seeing any since
we entered combat in southern France.
Since we have been here in Innsbruck we are living in
swell apartments. They are all the latest modern
design and it's just like one you'd find in a big
city back home. The only worry we have is what they
are going to do with us. So far, we are just sitting
around here and doing the same things we did in camps
back home. I doubt it if will last much longer
though. They seem to be moving things plenty fast
from over here. I had almost given up getting the
good old home town paper but yesterday
about ten copies of the Herald caught up
with me here. I haven't quite had time enough to read
them all, but I will. Since my folks have moved, the
Herald is about my only source of news from the home
front. Thanks a million for sending it, Bill, and
that goes for all the rest who have done their bit.
It is really appreciated.
By the way, Bill, I hope you received the box I
mailed quite some time ago. It had things taken from
a German Q.M several hours after it was captured. As
(Yes, Gates, the box of souvenirs arrived and in the
copies of the Herald still to reach you,
you'll find our acknowledging receipt of same. Thanks
again. We'll be seeing you. Bill)
Private Leo Kruse, son of Mr. and
Mrs. LeRoy Kruse of near Hardin, writes us as follows
from Camp Livingston, Louisiana, under date of June
Dear Bill Well, here it is my 10th week of
training and I haven't written you a letter. I have
been receiving the Herald regularly and
appreciate it very much. I want to thank you, and all
those folks back there who make it possible for all
of us boys in service to read the news from home.
I am in my tenth week of training, as I said, and
have six more years to go. Then I'll be all set for
the Japs or for the army of occupation. This infantry
training is tough! When they say you really get
worked in the army, they are right! However, the more
we get and the harder we work, the sooner this nasty
thing will be over. And then all of the boys will be
able to come home again. I have had a few weeks
training in heavy weapons company and transferred
from there into infantry division. So far I have had
training or just what is expected of an infantryman,
rifle training, automatic rifle, machine gun and
mortar. We are being trained to use these weapons in
what is called our specialized training cycle.
In four weeks we brown, when we get into
that, we know that our training here is about over
and we are about to ship out. Louisiana is quite some
country! Hot and raining most of the time! So far, as
long as I've been here, it hasn't rained too awfully
much. But now our hot and rainy season begins.
Well, Bill, I hope you and all the folks around
Postville are well, and thanks again for the Herald.
As ever, sincerely, LEO.
Private Gerald D. Schroeder, son
of Mr. and Mrs. Ed F. Schroeder, is now stationed at
Fort Knox, Kentucky and writes to us as follows:
Dear Bill Time permits me tonight to write you
a few lines about Fort Knox and what I am doing here.
This week starts my ninth week of training, the first
seven of which were spent in infantry training. I
didn't like that too much. It consisted of road
marches, night problems, the shooting of the MI
Rifle, the 30-caliber machine gun, and the U.S.
Carbine. We also had a little practice firing the
bazooka, rifle grenades, and also the
hand grenades. The eighth week started out work in D
& M (driving and maintenance). Our first week in
D & M consisted of driving jeeps and trucks.
There is one thing I'd like to get after this war,
and that's a jeep. Those little puddle jumpers will
go over and through any kind of terrain.
This week we are going to learn to drive the
half-truck and light tank. Some of the fellows have
driven the light tanks already and eveyone of them
says they're really nice riding. They have two
Cadillac motors in them. They weigh between 23 and 24
tons and use the hydromatic shift. (And what more
could you ask for). Next week we are to drive medium
tank, which weighs about 34 tons. This tank I quite a
bit different from the light tank, in as much as it
is really tough to shift. The shift is practically
the same as on a heavy truck. Yes, we are really
learning things here! They really throw it at you
fast. Some of it goes in one ear and out the other,
but most of it takes (that is, you hope
As to the weather down here I can think of
better places I'd rather be. Really, though, all
kidding aside, the weather down here is the most
uncertain I have ever come in contact with. If it
isn't hot and dusty, its raining, and if it isn't
raining, it's colder than heck. I can advise you that
if you ever want a nice summer vacation, don't come
to Kentucky, because you'll be disappointed! Enough
about the weather.
The food down here is exceptionally good except for
the beans we get every Thursday. As I said, the food
is good, but we don't get enough of it. We have one
man in our Company who can really stow the food away!
He's the first person in the mess hall and the last
one out. They finally put him in Section VIII.
Well, Bill, I guess I could ramble on all evening
telling you of my experiences, but what I really
wrote you for was to thank you for the copy of the Postville
Herald which faithfully reaches me every Friday
afternoon. It seems so good to hear news from the old
home town. Again, I thank you and all who make it
possible for us to receive the Herald. Love,
From Great Lakes, Illinois, where he is now in
boot training, comes the following letter from Robert
Pearson of this city:
Dear Bill I presume the folks have given you
my address but I had better play safe and send it to
you myself. After all, I'm just as anxious to hear
all of the home town news as anyone in the service.
This is my second week here and we are well under way
with our training. They are really shoving us along.
We have done a lot of things in our short time here
that most companies don't do until around their fifth
week. I just hope we can keep moving this fast, so we
can quit wearing these boots. They are really a
This Navy life isn't so bad. The chow is plenty good.
The only thing I don't like is washing my own clothes
and getting up at 5:30. Sundays they are good to us
and let us sleep until 6. I was fortunate in being
able to see Leon Letchford every day last week. His
barracks were very close to mine. It is really great
to see a guy from home when you are in a place like
this. He went home on last Saturday, so our visits
were cut sort of short.
Well, Bill, I had better close for now, and get in a
little work before lights out. I will
appreciate the Herald very much if you will send it
here to me. As ever, BOB.
S-Sgt. Charles E. Anderson, whose
wife is living with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George
C. Sebastian at Postville, Iowa, has been awarded the
Certificate of Merit as a recognition of
conspicuously meritorious and outstanding performance
of military duty, says the Waukon Democrat.
The citation, which is for duty in the European
theater of war, was signed by Major General W.M.
Miley and reads as follows:
During the period 2 January 1945 to 8 May 1945 S-Sgt.
Charles E. Anderson assumed command of his platoon in
the absence of the platoon leader and platoon
sergeant. He led his platoon through the most
difficult periods with outstanding success. His
excellent performance of duty was in keeping with the
proudest traditions of the armed forces. (Signed)
W.M. Miley, Major General, U.S. A., commanding.
S-Sgt. Charles E. Anderson is the son of Mr. and Mrs.
Ole C. Anderson of Waukon, Iowa.
~Postville Herald, ca July 2, 1945
~transcribed by Connie Ellis
1. 'Our Boys with the Colors' was a weekly column that
appeared in the Postville Herald during World
War II. William J. Klingbell was the editor of the
newspaper and he is the Bill that each of the
letterwriters wrote to.
2. I believe Gates Williams was the son of Victor and
Frances (Gates) Williams and his full name was Frank
Sighted in Alps, Says RAF Crew
Wives of 3 generals & an 11 year
old girl among the passengers. Five passengers were
injured seriously as reported by a radio transmission
from the plane.
Temperature at crash site was about 20 degrees,
bitter weather & fresh snowstorm where the
transport went down were imperiling the survivors
Pilot Capt. Ralph H. Tate, JR
Crew members aboard: 2nd Lt Irving Matthews,
Richmond, Va., co-pilot; Sgt. Souis Hill, Portales,
N.M. and Staff Sgt. Wayne G. Folsom,
All were stationed at Tullin Field, Austria.
Passengers: Brig. Gen. Loyal Haynes; Mrs. Haynes;
Col. William C. McMahon, recent chief of staff in
Austria; Mrs. McMahon and their 11 year old daughter
Alice Mary; Mrs. Ralph H. Tate, wife of Brig. Gen
Ralph H. Tate; and Mrs. Alberta Snavely, wife of
Brig. Gen. Ralph Snavely, head of the American Air
Force in Austria.
Plane was on "administrative" flight from
Vienna to Italy, via Munich and Istres Field at
Edwardsville, ILL; November 20, 1946
~lengthly article was abstracted by S. Ferrall
Our Men Who Fought on
Foreign Shores Are Returning Home
Corporal Vernon (Ted) Seybert
arrived home Sunday after being discharged from the
army at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., last week. Ted
served in Africa and Italy with an Engineers unit
that built airstrips for our planes. He told an
amusing story of how after many days without fresh
meat while in North Africa a group of his buddies
went out and brought in a bullock weighing 800
pounds. The Arab owing the animal followed them into
camp and insisted on getting his property back. The
Yankee lads, seeing their juicy steaks slipping away,
told him they had bought the animal for $40, so the
Arab gave them that amount and carted his bullock
away with him. Later the boys discovered half of the
money was counterfeit. "You can't beat an
Arab." Ted says.
Pvt. Harold Christofferson, who saw
considerable service in France and Germany with the
Army, arrived home last Thursday, his wife going to
Prairie du Chien, Wis., to bring him home.
Sgt. Howard Bulman arrived at an
eastern port of debarkation last week end after
serving overseas. He is one of the first local men to
be inducted and saw service on the Alaska highway
with an engineer unit before going to Europe. A son
of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Bulman, he is expected home this
Sergeant Winfield Masonhall expected
to leave Europe for home Monday, according to word
received here by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L.J.
Masonhall. "Windy" has been serving with an
engineers' treadway bridge company in the Army since
going overseas two years ago.
Another Postville boy now stationed in Europe who
expects to be headed for home soon is Sergeant
Leslie Poesch, who writes his parents, Mr.
and Ms. Ed Poesch, to look for him about November 1.
He recently spent several days sightseeing in
Switzerland and says the only thing that would induce
him to remain overseas now would be opportunity to
spend two weeks more in the Alps of Switzerland.
Corporal Roland (Tiny) Madorin
arrived here last week from the European war theater
where he had been serving with the 348th Engineers
Battalion. Tiny was hospitalized for some time with a
fractured leg while in Belgium. He has a 30-day
furlough before he has to report back for assignment
to duty, presumably in this country, since he has
enough accumulated points to keep him from going to
the Pacific theater.
Among the men from this community to be given
discharges from the army recently were Cpl.
DuWayne Bulman and Cpl. Harlan
Wegner, both overseas veterans of the 34th
Division. DuWayne spent three years as a prisoner of
the Germans after being captured in North Africa,
while Harlan, who was taken ill when the division
left England for the African invasion, was left in
the British Isles and later got to the European
continent after the Normandy invasion. He is now
living in Cedar Rapids. DuWayne has been in veterans'
hospitals at Clinton, Iowa, and Wood, Wis., since
being returned to this country.
~Postville Herald, Wednesday, September 19,
~transcribed by S. Ferrall