Cerro Gordo County

S/Sgt. John W. Carroll




[Decker’s Ad] John Carroll spent practically his entire life in Mason City prior to his induction into the U. S. army. He was employed in 1936 by the hog department of Jacob E. Decker and Sons as an assistant. He was given a leave of absence in February, 1942, to join the army and is now a sergeant in the U. S. infantry stationed somewhere in the southwest Pacific.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday, October 12, 1943, Page 15 (photo included)

Your Neighbors in the
What They Are Doing

Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Woldmoe, 816 Monroe N. E., have received word from their son somewhere in the Pacific that he has been promoted from private 1st class to the rank of corporal. With him is John Carroll, son of Mrs. Mary Carroll, 221 West State. Corporal Woldmoe had asked his mother to call Mrs. Carroll to tell her that both were well but very busy. He said that the weather was hot and expressed the wish that they might have some of the cool weather here.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, November 23, 1943, Page 14


Johnny Carroll’s Death

I was shocked and pained this week when I learned that Staff Sgt. John W. Carroll had been killed in action at Bougainville in the southwest Pacific.

My memories of Johnny took me back to the days when he was an athlete – a great little athlete – at Holy Family high school and later for Mason City’s junior college.

Johnny wasn’t very big. Usually his opponent towered over him as far as physical size was concerned. But he never asked nor gave quarter.

What a fighting heart he possessed! What a competitor he was! What a co-ordination between mind and muscle he brought to his assignment!

Always his play was such as to command the respect of those on the other team. It goes without saying that he had the affection of those who played with him.

In his death, our community has given up one of its finest young souls. There’s a widespread sense of personal loss.

In extending to his mother, Mrs. Mary Carroll, to his widow and to his other close of kin this department’s deepest and most sincere sympathy. I know that I am speaking for the hundreds who knew and loved this finest flower of our community’s young manhood.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, April 06, 1944, Page 4


Memorial Services Held at Holy Family

Memorial services for Staff Sgt. John W. Carroll, killed in action at Bougainville in the southwest Pacific on March 15, were held in the Holy Family Catholic church Wednesday morning with Father R. P. Murphy, pastor of the church, celebrant at sleumn requiem high mass.

“John Carroll loved his home town and Mason City will never consider him gone,” said Father Murphy to the packed congregation who came to pay a “last tribute of respect to a devoted son of the church.”

“Ultimate victory in this war will come but he will not be here to hear the gong sound,” said the pastor. “We are placed here by the Almighty to serve Him and hence are given the priceless thing called time. We have not here a lasting city. This is not our home. The heart craves after something higher and the soul rests only when it rests in God.”

“John Carroll knew how to play the game,” said Father Murphy, referring to Sgt. Carroll’s athletic career in Mason City. “He never played a game he didn’t win and he was superior to anyone in the game. He learned endurance and respect for the other fellow. I never knew him to enter into a game without coming early in the morning to the altar of God. And he did not come alone. John Carroll was a leader and brought the other boys with him.”

Serving the mass was Father William Keifer, assistant priest at the Holy Family church, who was master of ceremonies. Father R. S. Bohrer, pastor at Rockford, was deacon and Father James Hamill, Dougherty, sub-deacon. Other priests in sanctuary were the Very Rev. P. S. Behan, pastor of St. Joseph’s and dean of this district; Father Francis Cross, Hampton, and Father Francis Churchill, Mason City.

Music by the church choir was directed by Father Joseph Kleiner, assistant at the Holy Family parish. Usher were J. B. Welsh, Merle Peters, John Macklin and William Taylor.

Groups attending the service were the entire student boy of the Holy Family school, a group of Decker employes (sic) and a group of Standard Oil employes (sic). Patriotic organizations participating were the Navy Mothers, the D. A. R., the V. F. W., American Legion and the Spanish war veterans with auxiliaries.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, April 12, 1944, Page 6

Mason Cityan in Division
That Helped in “Mop-up”

Pvt. W. J. Hayes Sends Order Lauding Division;
Mentions Sgt. Carroll

Pvt. William J. Hayes, former Decker employe (sic), Mason City, writing from the southwest Pacific, was a member of the 37th infantry division, referred to in the ‘mop-up’ as was Staff Sgt. John W. Carroll, Mason City, who lost his life in the operation. Pvt. Hayes sends a letter in which he states that he has located the cemetery where Sgt. Carroll is buried. He also incloses (sic) an order written by the commanding general of the division lauding the officers and men who participated in the attack.

“I received a letter telling me that John W. Carroll, whom I knew very well, inasmuch as we had gone to school at St. Joseph’s together and also had worked together for J. E. Decker & Sons,” wrote Pvt. Hayes. “I made a check today and found out the cemetery where his grave is and shall visit it this afternoon.

“I am inclosing an order from our commanding general which might help things in that for John’s life it cost Tojo 30 men, as that was the ratio of Japanese dead to ours.”

The letter from the commanding general reads as follows:

“To the officers and men of the 37th infantry division:

“The Japanese forces on Bougainville island have just suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of the Japanese army. You are the ones responsible. You inflicted staggering losses on them wherever they attacked. You fought one of the crack divisions of the Japanese army, the infamous 6th division that participated in the ‘Rape of Nanking’ in 1938, and you virtually annihilated it.

“You cost the enemy not less than 30 lives for every American who died in this operation, one of the highest ratios in our favor yet to occur in this war. You proved again, as you did at Munda, that the 37th division is in the first league, ready and able to accept anything the enemy can bring against it. You proved on every count that you could out-scout, out-fight, and, above all, out-live the best the Japanese empire had to throw against you.

“You officers and men of the 37th division have done more than smash an enemy army. You have proved that American soldiers are more than a match for the much-touted Nipponese on any battlefield of the enemy’s choosing. You have proved that the American soldier in spite of his background of peaceful pursuits and comfortable living, can, when he must, out-fight the cruelest and most ruthless people in the world.

“All of our people at home have always expected us to win. Americans are not the kind of people who quit easily. Yet, in spite of that, I think your victory has thrilled our whole country. It has been so complete that even we have not yet appreciated its full significance. But we know that the Japanese are through in the Solomons, and we may find satisfaction in knowing that we delivered the knock-out punch. Someday, the world, which was horror struck by what the 6th division did in Nanking to Chinese women and children, will comprehend what a tremendous revenge we have taken on it in the name of all humanity and decency and honor in the world.

“I am humble in my realization of your achievements, and I want you to know how deeply proud I am of every one of you. No greater privilege will ever be mine than the one I enjoy leading this magnificent division.”

Major General, U. S. A.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, May 04, 1944, Page 18

Sgt. Carroll Gets Purple Heart Award

A letter from the secretary of war, Henry L. Stimson, to Mrs. Mary O. Carroll, 221 West State, informed her that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to her son, Staff Sgt. John W. Carroll, killed in action at Bougainville on March 15.

“The president has requested me to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your son, Staff Sgt. John W. Carroll, infantry, who sacrificed his life in the defense of his country,” stated the letter.

“The medal, which you will receive shortly, is of slight intrinsic value, but rich with the tradition for which Americans are so gallantly giving their lives. The father of our country, whose profile and coat of arms adorn the medal, speaks from it across the centuries to the men who fight today and for the proud freedom he founded.

“Nothing the war department can do or say will in any sense repair the loss of your loved one. He is gone, however, in honor and the goodly company of patriots. Let me, in communicating to you, the country’s deep sympathy, also express to you its gratitude for his valor and devotion.”

Recent word in connection with the death of Staff Sgt. Carroll was received in a letter from Pvt. William J. Hayes, Mason City, who stated that he had located the cemetery where the soldier was buried [American Cemetery, Bougainville, Solomon Islands].

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Monday, May 08, 1944, Page 1

NOTE: Sgt. Carroll’s friend, Sgt. Cecil T. Woldmoe, also from Mason City, was killed in action at Bougainville on March 25, 1944.