Woodbury County

Lt. John H. Leafstone




Sioux Cityan in U.S. After Two Years Overseas

Lieut. Leafstone Wins Honors in Battle—Is Wounded

Lieut. John H. Leafstone, who served overseas for two years and won a field commission, a citation and the Purple Heart award, and who was one of the first soldiers to leave Sioux City has returned to the United States.

His uncle, John Leafstone, 1016 S. Cecelia Street, has received the news of his arrival in this country at a hospital in Charleston, S.C.

Lieut. Leafstone was a member of the National Guard unit that left Sioux City for training at Camp Claiborne, La. in February, 1941. He served in Ireland before being a member of one of the first units to land in Africa.

While in Africa he took part in the battles of the Tunisian campaign, including Fondouk Pass and Hill 609. It was at Fondouk Pass that Lieut. Leafstone received a citation for exceptionally meritorious conduct.

The citation reads: “When his platoon sergeant became a casualty. Sergeant Leafstone led the platoon forward in such a manner as to give them all encouragement and aided materially in gaining the objective. His initiative, aggressiveness and leadership are exemplary and a credit to the armed forces of the United States.”

He later served in the Italian campaign; landing at Salerno shortly after the first beachhead was made. November 29, while in actual contact with the enemy, Lieut. Leafstone received a severe thigh injury for which he has received the Purple Heart. While in Italy he was also recommended for a field commission and was granted a lieutenant’s rating. He was hospitalized in North Africa for several months before returning to the United States.

Lieut. Leafstone is a native Sioux Cityan and a former Journal carrier. He graduated from East High School in 1940. At the time of his call to service, he was an employee of Perkins Bros. Co. stationary store.

Source: Sioux City Journal, March 12, 1944 (photo included)

Young Officer, Wounded in Italy, Had Thrilling Experiences on War Front

Lieut. Leafstone, Here from Hospital, Still on Crutches

Although seriously wounded in an engagement, November 29, five miles south of Cassino, Italy, Second Lieut. John (Johnny) H. Leafstone, 22, was able to flash a smile when he chatted with former business associates and co-workers Thursday morning in The Journal building.

Well on the road to recovery from his war wounds, the young officer, walking with the aid of crutches, said he had had a thrilling experience and he isn’t so “bad off after he had looked around him.”

Johnny said that in the engagement his division had been on and off the line for about 62 days. From time to time soldiers were pulled into the reserve but not out of the range of artillery fire.

“They were laying them all around,” said Lieut. Leafstone, once employed in the stationary department of Perkins Bros, “And I was hit by shrapnel from a mortar shell. The terrain was rough, the visibility poor and it rained continuously. We were advancing.”

He said he had his right leg broken and also suffered a chest injury. He left here with the Iowa National Guard, spent 10 months in Ireland, a few weeks in England, thence to Africa and later to Italy. “I missed the Tunisian campaign,” said the lieutenant.

Returning to the States March 7, he was hospitalized in a Charleston, S.C. hospital. More recently he has been taking treatments at the Schick hospital in Clinton.

“The wounded,” he said, “are beginning to arrive there in considerable numbers.”

While in The Journal building, Lieut. Leafstone indicated a reticence to discuss his war experiences.

He was called here to attend the funeral of an uncle, Charles W. Leafstone.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, September 15, 1944