Co. E., 133rd Infantry, Webster City, Iowa --

Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Feb. 27, 1945 (see below the 1945 caption which appeared below the same photo that was published of 'Farewell' of 1941.)

(Picture included in newspaper of 1941 ‘Farewell')

ING Unit Left 4 Years Ago


Webster City Company Has Been Hard Hit by World War II.

For an infantry company which originally was not expected to leave the borders of the U. S., the Webster City unit of the Iowa National Guard has seen plenty of the world since the company of approximately 90 men left for training at Camp Claiborne, La., just four years ago today—Feb. 27, 1941.

Today, that group of happy-go-lucky men and boys, sent speeding on their way by a crowd of more than a thousand well-wishers four years ago, has been split up by death, injuries, capture and assignments to other tasks. But their deeds in World War II will live long in the annals of Webster City history.

On that cold, wintry day in February, 1941–-9 months before Pearl Harbor—few realized that many of those boys would fight and die on foreign battlefields, few persons gave any thought that some of these young men might bear serious war injuries the rest of their lives or that some would come back to their homes some day and tell harrowing tales of months spent in German prison camps.

Erroneous Belief

The Freeman-Journal in telling of the company’s departure said “World War II is a battle of planes and naval units. No one expects U. S. infantry to leave the borders of the nation, even if this country should get into the war. And so, while relatives and friends regretted to see the boys leave for their far-off camp in the south, there was not the tension and display of emotion that accompanied entraining of men in the first world war.”

Some of the ING boys didn’t get overseas, it is true, but they were in the minority, and a glimpse at the World War II honor roll’s list of gold stars will give a striking example of the valiant part these National Guardsmen have played in the gigantic world conflict.

Since Pfc. Emmett J. Harris, 21-year old Guard from near Clarion died June 24, 1941, following an emergency operation in Louisiana, eight other members of the infantry unit have given their lives for their country.

8 Other Gold Stars

These men, all of them heroes, include:

Capt. Kenneth O Nichols, 34, killed July 1, 1944 in Italy.

First Sgt. Charles Meyers, 26, killed the same day in Italy.

Staff Sgt. Don Shelton, killed Sept. 15 in Italy.

Sgt. Kenneth Cornett, 24, killed May 30, at Anzio, Italy.

Pfc. Robert Patterson, 25, killed Sept. 19 in Italy.

Pfc. Truman Sharkey, 25, killed Sept. 13 in Italy.

Pvt. Charles H. Harris, 21, reported killed Dec. 6, 1942, while taking part in a Ranger raid on Bizerte, Tunisia.

Pvt. Roland J. Silvers, 22, who died Sept. 22, 1942, in England.

But to go back to the story of the 133rd infantry unit which made name for itself with the famed 34th “Red Bull” division, the Webster City outfit trained at Camp Claiborne for nearly a year before being transferred overseas in January, 1942, and landing in Ireland—one of the first infantry units to go overseas.

Of the four commissioned officers who left this city with the company, only two sent overseas with the outfit—Second Lt. Kenneth O. Nichols and Second Lt. Donald M. Andrew, who were both slated to become captains of the company. Capt. Eugene E. Meller and First Lt. Mathias J. House were both transferred to the army air corps and didn’t accompany the National Guardsmen although Meller, now a major stationed at Patterson field, Dayton, Ohio, was stationed overseas in England for 18 months. House, now a captain, is currently located at the army air base, Sioux Falls, S. D.

After extensive training in the British Isles, the unit entered Africa with invasion forces late in 1942. Assigned mainly to guard details in Africa, the Guardsmen received their baptism of fire in the Italian campaign where a large percentage of the men learned the bitter cost of war.

Only after World War Ii is over and all the men, who survived what many military experts agree has been one of the toughest campaigns in history, have returned, then and then only, will the full story of their heroic exploits in Italy be known. One of their bitterest drives took them from the famed Anzio beachhead to the Arno river and one of their bloodiest battles was at Cecina, Italian west coast town which fell July 2 after days of fanatical resistance by nazi defenders.

Preserve List

Those bloody campaigns not only took their toll of lives but also resulted in the loss of many soldiers through capture by the enemy. Among those currently held by the Germans are: Staff Sgt.’s John F. Baker, Raymond C. Christenson, Roger Groves, Alvin Fisher and Robert Simpson, T. Sgt. Arthur Philbrook; Sgt. Orville Jondal, the Ranger veteran of Dieppe; Pfc. Myrl Ray and Pvt. Fred Wilson.

In addition to those casualties many were the men who were wounded in action, some of them several times. Among those were: Captain Andrew, who took over command of the company after the death of Captain Nichols only to be seriously wounded two days later; First Sgt. Eugene D. Wilson; T. Sgt. Eugene R. Gordon; Staff Sgt. Karl Waggoner; Sgt’s. Edward C. Peterson, Albert McCollough and Eugene C. Bashford, Privates First Class Larkin Woodie, Lawrence Crouch, Paul E. Cooper, Robert Read and James S. Fye and Pvt. Delmer Bole.

Many Returned

The majority of the original members of the infantry company have returned to this country either on furlough or for medical treatment. Some have been discharged and there are few left in Italy with the unit now made up largely of replacements from outside the Hawkeye state. Among those men still in Italy are Pfc Edwin J. Lemke, distinguished service cross winner, whose exploits against the Germans have earned him the nickname of “Sergeant York of the Fifth army.”

Some of the enlisted men who left here four years ago have returned to this country and taken officer’s training with the result that they are now in command of enlisted men at scattered camps both in the U. S. and abroad.

Some day some one may write a book about the exploits of Webster City’s ING company in World War II. Their heroic deeds and sacrifices would fill a volume which would testify to their striving to uphold the banner of democracy.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA – Thursday, Feb. 27, 1945 (photo included)