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Cherokee County WWII War Stories

BERT RITZEL GUSTAFSON

HUMOR OUT OF THE WAR - There is nothing funny about war; but even in the worst of times, humor is necessary to human existence.  Without humor, the stress, strain and tragedy of war would be unendurable.  Out of the great cauldron of World War II humor emerged, because such a relief was necessary.

The term "Snafu" was the result of GI humor.  Snafu has entered the language and means "a real mess".  It came from the first letters for the words "situation normal all fouled up", or perhaps something a little stronger.

The following is a humorous incident that came out of World War II.  A Cherokee countian relates this tale.

Bert Ritzel Gustafson served in the South Pacific with the 5th Amphibious Track Batallion.  He participated in the campaigns against the Japanese in the invasions of the Mariana Islands, Saipan, Guam, and Iwo Jima.

During the invasion of Iwo Jima, the following occurred as related in his own words.

"On Iwo Jima I drove my tank over the Infantry Colonel's jeep, pressing the front end into the ground.  He jumped out, shaking his fist at me, but my tank was bigger than his rank.  He thought he had the right-of-way; but I couldn't stop in time, so I kept right on going over the hill.  I didn't dare stop to pick up my court martial."

 Source: Cherokee County Historical Society Newsletter, Vol 15, Num 2, Feb 1980, Sec VI, Pg 8

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