Plymouth County

S/Sgt. Cyril J. Groetken





Staff Sergeant Cyril Groetken with the American forces in Italy writes his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Groetken, that he was recently wounded the third time, in this case in the right arm. Since he has been in the hospital he has learned to write with this left hand and reports that he hopes soon to be completely recovered. His father, Henry Groetken, long an employee of oil stations in LeMars, is now fireman at St. Vincent’s hospital in Sioux City.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, August 4, 1944


Had One Once But Lost It When “He Took Vacation”

S. Sgt. Cy Groetken, who was wounded three times in this war and who also froze his feet while fighting in Italy, arrived home Thursday afternoon to spend a 21-day furlough in the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Groetken, 500 Second Ave, SE.

Known as the “most wounded man” in K company, S. Sgt. Groetken has a war record that places him in the hero’s class. He wants to forget all about his past experiences on the battlefields and doesn’t even want to talk about them.

His war citations include about every kind of medal except the good conduct one, but he had one of them, too, at one time. He wears the Purple Heart with two clusters; the Silver Star citation for extraordinary heroism on the field of battle; infantry man’s badge and other war citations. The lapel of his coat covers the Silver Star decoration completely.

In regard to the good conduct medal, he lost it this way. After a battle in Africa, he wanted a short leave to get a little rest. This was denied him, but he took it anyway and when he reported back to the front lines, he was demoted and also had the good conduct medal removed from his chest. However, he has regained his rating as staff sergeant, and as far as the good conduct bar is concerned, he’s going to forget it.

The Silver Star was awarded the young man following the battle at Cassino. He was wounded in this fight. He also received wounds in Africa, and another wound at Leghorn, Italy.

He was wounded by the same shell that killed Jack Kempker and Robert Vanderwal in Italy. He said that he was off to the side of these two boys when the shell landed and said that he believed that Jack Kempker died from concussion.
He still carried fragments of shrapnel in his body. There are pieces still embedded in his legs which the doctors told him would gradually work out. While at home Friday, he felt a stinging pain in his right arm. He rolled up his sleeve and picked at the elbow. It was a small piece of shrapnel which had worked to the surface of the skin, and he removed it himself.

After completing his furlough he will report to an Army base in this country, where he will be reassigned to duty in the United States.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post
December 25, 1944
Source: The Alton Democrat, Thursday, January 4, 1945 (this same article appeared in the Democrat under the headline that read: Veteran With Many Medals Back From Italian Front)

Press dispatches last week carried a story of S. Sgt. Geo. P. Dorr of Marcus being rescued by a PT boat after being shot down in combat. The same day notice was printed of Silver Stars being awarded to S. Sgt. Philip J. Dominick and S. Sgt. Cyril J. Groetken of LeMars.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
 December 26, 1944

Fought Their Way Up the Italian Coast Until Wounded

A recent story in The Globe-Post brought together Tuesday night three Purple Heart veterans of the African and Italian war campaigns. The young men are Sgt. John Kindig of Kingsley, T/Sgt. John Trobaugh and S/Sgt. Cyril Groetken, both of LeMars.

T/Sgt. Trobaugh and S/Sgt. Cyril Groetken have been home on furloughs to recover from severe war wounds received in the line of action. Both boys have been decorated for bravery and have been enjoying each other’s company recently, talking over former combat scenes.

Sgt. Kindig was honorably discharged from the Army in December, after being wounded twice, and was visiting some relatives in his home town of Kingsley. Tuesday while en route to Kimball, S.D., to visit his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Burt Kindig, he picked up a Globe-Post in a Sioux City home. He saw a writeup about S/Sgt. Groetken and another item about T/Sgt. Trobaugh. The first thing he thought of was a telephone, and he called his two war companions. He informed them that he would be up on the 11:20 train Tuesday night and wanted them to meet him.

When the train pulled in a happy reunion took place. The three boys embraced each other and exchanged compliments.

Sgt. Kindig was wounded twice, both times in the leg, which left him unfit for heavy combat duty. T/Sgt. Trobaugh was also wounded twice and S/Sgt. Groetken was shot three times.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post
 January 4, 1945

S/Sgt. Cyril Groetken left Wednesday to resume their duties with the U.S. Army, following furloughs in LeMars. Both boys have seen action in Italy and were wounded several times.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post
 January 11, 1945

S/Sgt. Cyril Groetken has notified his mother, Mrs. Henry Groetken that he has arrived at the Arlington hotel, Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, where he is being given a medical checkup. He states that he will be kept in the United States for six months before being sent overseas again.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post
 January 22, 1945