Woodbury County

Cpl. Leonard "Bud" Coughlin




Sioux City Veteran of 3 Campaigns Tells of Life Overseas

By Rubye Hintgen

On the ground, in the air, on the sea, under the sea, the burden of the unsung melody in the minds and hearts of our men in service is: “It would be so nice to come home to the same good old United States we left behind us.”

This is the sentiment brought back from soldiers in the front line of battle by Corporal Leonard R. (“Bud”) Coughlin, who traveled more than 4,000 miles by ambulance, train, ship and plane, to be treated for a strange, tropical illness in the Ashford General hospital at White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

Corporal Coughlin spent nine months overseas and wears the service ribbon showing he took part in the African, European and middles eastern campaigns. He served overseas with Company C., 16th infantry regiment, Fifth division, which was in the thick of the fight.  Many of the young men who were in these hand-to-hand engagements now have graying hair, and the corporal is among that number.

Enjoy Cigarets
One of the bright spots in the grueling life of the regiment was the entertainment given by the movie star, Francis Langford, when she visited the camp.  It was the first time in seven months the men had seen and heard a white woman who spoke English.

“Tell the folks that the boys at the front are getting the free cigarets they send us, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the smokes, and appreciate the kind heartedness of those who send them,” said Corporal Coughlin.  “Tell them to keep right on sending the cigarets.  They have cheered many a man during a respite between battles, as he sat and smoked while he thought of home and wondered what the morning would bring.”

Asked for a cross section of opinions of present day problems in the United States as expressed by men at the front, Corporal Coughlin said: “First, they want to win the war. They don’t have much time to study political questions, but they want to vote if it’s made possible, and they are interested in a good job after the war.  Most of all they want to come home some day to the same old United States they knew, and to peace and the routine of their former normal lives.”

Dreams of Home
“I believe that deep inside of all who are fighting at the war fronts is the constant thought of home, sweet home; and they picture that home exactly as they left it, with mother and dad, wife and kids, or sweetheart, as the case may be, intact and waiting for their return.  That is our dream. We want the same old personal freedom, the automobile for Sunday rides, food of the same old kind, the same old friends and neighbors, and a good job. That’s what we’re fighting for.”

Before he was stricken with the tropical illness which caused him to be returned, Corporal Coughlin was in the Tunisian assault wave.  After his outfit hit Sicily, he was with the front line troops for 28 days of the 38-day campaign.  He reports that it was rough fighting and that they took many German and Italian prisoners, including some Polish prisoners, where were fighting with the Germans because, they said, they were forced to do so.

Corporal Coughlin spent a 30-day convalescent furlough here with his wife at their home, 1017 Grandview boulevard, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Coughlin, 1019 Grandview boulevard.  He returned to Ashford General hospital for a final physical checkup before rejoining his regiment.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, February 14, 1944 (photo included)

Corporal Leonard (“Bud”) Coughlin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Coughlin, 1019 Grandview boulevard, has received his medical discharge from the Army, and has resumed his former work with the city park department.  Corporal Coughlin took part in many of the land engagements in the war areas until stricken by a tropical illness, after which he spent many months in Army hospitals.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, April 22, 1944