Woodbury County

Pfc. Harry P. BeVer




Sioux City Soldier’s Intuition Saves Self and Companions from Jap Trick

BeVer on Bougainville Eliminates Dynamite Packing Enemy

With the 37th Army Division on Bougainville Island--Special; The intuition of a former Sioux City bowling Alley employee causing him to turn around and spot a possum-playing Jap saved the lives or prevented serious injury of eight of his buddies here recently.

“Something just told me to turn around.” Private First Class Harry P. BeVer, 27, said in telling of the incident later.

BeVer and seven other men were behind a log, firing down into a draw and systematically picking off a group of about 60 Japs. They were engrossed in their work, they temporarily forgot about their rear. When BeVer turned around five yards away he saw the Jap- they previously thought was dead- move so he disposed of him. Shortly after he saw another Jap crawling to a position about the same distance away and likewise shot him.

Each of the two Japs was carrying dynamite, evidently being part of a demolition crew sent to knock out army manned pillboxes. If either had been able to plant the dynamite near the eight United States soldiers it probably would have killed all of them. BeVer said “if the dynamite had been set off, eight of us probably would not have come back.”

Killed 250 Japs

The action occurred during a counterattack to dislodge a serious infiltration of Nips around an important defensive sector on this army manned northern Solomons stronghold. BeVer platoon is believed to have killed more than 250 Japs in the midst of our positions during the 8 hour counterattack.

BeVer also disappointed one Jap. The Nips seeing that he was in a tough spot stuck a grenade to his chest to commit hari-kari. The grenade did not go off so BeVer had the pleasure of pumping three shots into the bewildered enemy before he could get another grenade.

BeVer’s wife, the former Margaret Theiman, Sioux City, is a hospital apprentice second class in the Waves stationed at Mare Island, California. She has been in the Waves since October.

What does he think of her joining the Waves?

“There is only one thing I can say-I’m for it. She is relieving some man for combat duty and in that fracas the other day we realized we need all the men we can get,” he remarked.

Holds Two Medals

Son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. BeVer, 2629 Isabella Street, Sioux City, he was inducted February 18, 1942 and trained at Camp Forrest, Tenn. Overseas nearly 19 months, he has served in Fiji, New Hebrides, Guadalcanal and now on Bougainville.

A platoon runner in a rifle company, he is qualified with an expert’s rating with the MI (Garand) and Browning automatic rifles. He has been awarded the soldiers’ good conduct medal for “loyal and efficient service” and the coveted new infantry recognition, the combat infantryman badge for combat in a major operation.

The recent counterattack was not BeVer’s first meeting with the Jap. He has been on numerous patrols ahead of front line pill-boxes, only barely escaping when a Jap ambush of a machine gun and three rifles opened up on him.

Source: Sioux City Journal, April 19, 1944