Woodbury County

Sgt. Gene Wilson




Turns Down Chance to Come Home

Sgt. Gene Wilson, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Wilson, 2208 S. Patterson street, has served 40 months overseas, taken part in four major battles and has been wounded three times, but he isn’t ready to come home.

When he recently was offered a transfer to the United States he turned it down, explaining tersely that he wanted “one more blitz.”  He wrote his parents last week telling them that his four-year enlistment had been served and he had re-enlisted. He has not been home at all during these four years.

Sgt. Wilson enlisted March 6, 1941, and was aboard a cruiser at Pearl Harbor on December 7.  Before the cruiser had pulled out of the wreckage-filled harbor, he said he had seen plenty of action but was uninjured.  He joined the First marine division as a machinegunner when the final drive was being made against the Japs at Guadalcanal.

Quick Job on Japs
In the campaign at Cape Gloucester he saw a Jap jump into his squad leader’s foxhole. Before he or any other marine could move, the squad leader had broken the Jap’s neck and tossed the body out of the hole.  That night Sgt. Wilson took over the machine gun and helped repulse several charges in which Japs armed with hand grenades and bayonets reached positions within 20 yards of the marine lines before being cut down.

He went ashore at Peleliu as a private and when the battle was over he was a sergeant.  He said he had killed “a lot” of Japs.  Sgt. Wilson started going in at Peleliu in the afternoon of D-day but cruised offshore all night when a heavy concentration of Jap mortar and artillery fire made the intended landing spot untenable.

The unit landed the following morning and was immediately pinned down.  A mortar shell fragment took a chunk of flesh from his back.  He applied a battle dressing and stayed with his machine gun.  Moving in to relieve the marines fighting for the northern section of Bloody Nose ridge, his unit topped a hill and looked down upon a squad of Japs. Sgt. Wilson accounted for four with a pistol before setting up the machine gun to wipe most of the others. “It was like shooting clay pigeons,” he said.

Wounded Three Times
One of the Japs managed to make his way within grenade distance of Wilson’s position. Just as he threw, Sgt. Wilson saw him and jumped clear of the major part of the fragments.  One piece clipped his head. Again he patched himself up and returned to his machine gun.  A Jap grenade also was responsible for this third wound. Late in the campaign a Jap sneaked through the lines at night and tossed a grenade which hit Sgt. Wilson in the hand. For the third time he applied a battle dressing and went back to work.

He has been awarded the silver star for “conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy while serving on Peleliu” and will be awarded the purple heart for wounds received in action.

Sgt. Wilson was graduated in 1940 from East high school where he was a member of the basketball team.

Two Brothers Serving
He has two brothers in service. Pfc. Donald Wilson entered service in April, 1942, and is serving with the Ninth army. He is a member of the 104th infantry which was one of the first groups to cross the Rhine. While serving in another part of Europe, Pfc. Wilson drove a jeep for Jack Belden, Life reporter whose story appeared in Life magazine, December 4, 1944.

Richard Wilson, who entered service in July, 1944, is an apprentice seaman finishing his third term at the University of Dubuque under the V-5 Navy air corps program.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, Monday, March 12, 1945 (photo included)

Sgt. E. N. Wilson, United States marine corps was wounded on the left forearm while on Okinawa April 12.  He has written his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Wilson, 2208 S. Patterson street, that he was flown to a hospital on the Marianas where he is receiving the best of care.  Sgt. Wilson wrote that he expected to be home before many months.  It will be his first furlough at home in four years.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, April 27, 1945