Sioux County

Sgt. Gary H. Verrips





Gary Verrips writes that he is now in Italy where the entire base has been moved from Africa. He finds Italy quite refreshing after having spent more than a year in Africa. He got all his Christmas packages and thanks all who sent him cards, letters and packages and says he will write each one personally when he gets time.

Source: Sioux Center News, Thursday, January 20, 1944


15th AAF in Italy—Sgt. Gary H. Verrips, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Verrips, reside at Sioux Center, has recently been awarded the Distinguised unit citation ribbon, to be displayed on the right breast.

Sgt. Gary H. Verrips is a Supply Sergeant of 23 months experience overseas in the hardest hitting P-38 Lightning Squadron of a Fighter Group in the 15th Air Force, cited for its outstanding performance in aerial combat over Steyr, Austria, April 20, 1944.

The Lightnings, on that date, added a brilliant aerial victory to their aggressive record, by beating off numerically superior enemy aircraft which attempted to attack the bomber formation.

“It is unquestioned,” reads the citation, “that the success of the mission was due to the superior combat efficiency of the pilots, together with the professional skill and devotion to duty of the ground personnel of the Group.” Twenty of the seventy Kraut planes were destroyed without loss of a single P-38.

The Sergeant is a veteran member of the second P-38 Group to go overseas, and which is now commanded by Col. D. S. Campbell of San Antonio, Texas. After flying its first combat missions from England, this Group pioneered in proving the Lightning now famous combat power when covering the North African invasion of November, 1942.

Source: Sioux Center News, August 17, 1944 (photo included)

Gary Verrips, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Verrips of Sioux Center, and Two Iowa Buddies in "House Verrips Built."


15th AAF in Italy—What the American G. I. will do if given half a chance to make himself comfortable in any corner of the world is demonstrated in the belly tank crate house, Sgt. Gary Verrips, 26-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Verrips of Sioux Center, Iowa, has built and lives in with two other Iowa friends at a P-38 Fighter field in Italy.

Verrips is a supply sergeant in a P-38 Lightning Squadron leading its Group in a number of victories against the Luftwaffe.

Now entering their third year overseas, Verrips and his two buddies, T/Sgt. Carl Jensen and T/Sgt. Ross Swinford, of Hamburg and Fort Madison respectively, joined forces a couple of months ago to build what their admiring friends have titled the “Iowa Castle.” Constructed mainly from belly tank crates, this spot of Iowa in old Italy, as the three Sergeants like to consider it, is rated one of the best examples of G.I. Italian architecture at their camp by the Squadron’s officers.

Features of the Iowa Castle are an Italian brick floor, recessed lighting fixtures, a kitchenette equipped with cupboards and a gas stove, a ceiling built under the roof with sufficient space between for air circulation to keep the interior cool under the present hot Italian sun, besides great quantities of yellow and red paint with various Varga pin-up girls for decoration.

“After the foxholes, pup tents and dugouts we’ve lived in,” says the Sergeant, “our house by contrast is a little bit of heaven.” The only objection the Sergeant’s voice is the attraction of their home results in their playing involuntary host frequently to half the Squadron membership.

An open admiration for England and its people marks Verrips’ war experiences. He left good friends there when he joined some of the first American troops to enter Africa during the invasion of that continent.

According to the Sergeant, those first months in Africa were the roughest of his war service. Debarking at Oran when enemy snipers were still firing from the surrounding hills, his Squadron was soon moved up to an advanced fighter base only a few miles from Jerry’s front lines in Tunisia, where they daily sent their Lightnings aloft against a numerically superior enemy. Life at this base, he recalls, was an endless round of rain, wind, mud, wet blankets, Crations, foxholes and German bombers.

Among his most vivid war memories is the afternoon at that base when P-39 replacements were flown into their field, and practically everybody at the camp mistook them for Nazi fighter planes making an attack.

“I remember declaring as I ran for my foxhole,” he says with a grin now, “this is the end; and was I grateful when we recognized them as P-38s—the most lovely sight in the world those early days in Africa.” Before leaving that field they had grown used to German bombings, Verrips remembers.

After the defeat of the Germans in Africa, Verrips’ Squadron has operated from Libya, Sicily, Sardinia and now based in Italy, they recently provided part of the aerial spearhead for the invasion of Southern France. His group citation for outstanding performance against the enemy.

His brother Arie, is a Petty Officer and veteran of combat service in both Atlantic and Pacific, with Naval LST boats.

Source: The Sioux Center News, September 28, 1944 (photo included)

Gary H. Verrips, whose wife lives at 515 Eighth Street, has been promoted to staff sergeant. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Verrips, live in Sioux Center, Ia., where he was graduated from High School. Prior to entering service in 1941 he was employed by the Wandscheer Manufacturing Company in Sioux Center. He went overseas in August, 1942, and has had 31 months of Foreign Service. He wears the blue and gold distinguished unit badge, the good conduct medal, the American defense ribbon and the European-African-Middle East campaign ribbon with seven battle stars.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, unknown date of publication

Abma-Verrips Nuptials Held At Sioux Center
Quiet Home Wedding Performed at 6:30 o’clock Friday evening at Peter Verrips Home.

In a quiet home wedding, which took place at 6:30 o’clock Friday evening, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Verrips, Miss Gladys Jane Abma, daughter of Mrs. Hannah Abma, became the bride of Mr. Gary Henry Verrips, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Verrips. Rev. Raymond Meengs officiated at the double ring ceremony in the presence of the immediate family of the bride and groom.

The bride wore a black crepe dress with lace trim and white accessories and she also wore a cameo, a gift from the groom, which he brought back with him on his recent return from Italy. The groom wore a brown business suit.

After the ceremony the bridal party enjoyed a two course wedding dinner with Mrs. Jake Boeyink and Mrs. Harold Boeyink as kitchen hostesses. The tables were beautifully decorated with lighted candles and a large bowl of roses. Special guest at the wedding dinner was the grandmother of the groom, Mrs. C. A. Bomgaars, of Middleburg, who is 85 years old and the only grandmother of the couple. Chief Mo.M.M. Arie Verrips, brother of the groom was unable to be present as he is serving in the South Pacific.

The groom returned home the past week after 35 months of overseas service, and was in the service more than four years. He has 12 battle stars and more than a hundred points so has been granted an honorable discharge from the Army. The newly weds have no definite plans for their immediate future.

Source: Sioux County Index, July 5, 1945