Polk County

C. M. "Speed" Leaming



'All Over Pacific’
Leaming In Battles.

C. M. (Speed) Leaming, who got his nickname turning out “quick ones” as a Des Moines bartender, has re-earned the name the last year as a quartermaster, third class, on a big United States Navy ship.

This time he’s chased the Jap from one end of the Pacific to the other. Furthermore, he’s managed to catch up with the enemy in three places—the Coral Sea, Midway and the Aleutian Islands.

In Des Moines for a short leave, Speed admitted the Jap caught up with him once—when he wasn’t looking. That was on Dec. 7. On that day, Speed was at Pearl Harbor.

Special Duty.
From Des Moines, Speed will go to Philadelphia, Penn., to report for a “special detail” assignment.

“That same detail business has me all fouled up,” he said. “I want to ask for duty on a submarine chaser—like to look over the Atlantic ocean a little bit now.”

But wherever he’s sent, its all right with Speed — he things he’s had pretty good “luck” to have seen action in most of the Pacific battles of this war so far. But he does like those subchasers . . .
“They’re the darnedest little things,” he beams, his blue eyes lighting up and his smile revealing even white teeth. “The scouting planes tell them where they subs are, then they go scooting out over the water with depth bombs and get ‘em.”

Of his experiences in the Pacific battles, Speed has little to say. He’d rather “let the navy do the talking.” But at Pearl Harbor, he kept banging away at the planes swooping his ship with a .45 caliber pistol—his only weapon.

At Midway he saw shipmates die at his side, himself miraculously escaping flying machine gun slugs, tearing the air all around him. There too he saw a Jap plane dive at his ship.

“They’ll do it every time they are caught without fuel or ammunition, or maybe there’s no place to return if their carrier has been sunk, so I suppose they figure they might as well die that way as any,” he said.

To Speed, Midway was the “greatest battle of them all.”

“Your first battle action is the worst,” he said. “After that you adopt a fatalistic attitude toward things and it’s not so bad.”

He laughed boyishly. “Of course you never do get used to it. You’re always scared!”

Mother Here.
Speed is the son of Mrs. Della Leaming, 2333 E. Thirty-third st. He formerly lived here with his brother, Phil Leaming, 1065 Twenty-second st. Another brother, Mac, is in the Coast Guard, and a third will go into the Army Oct. 1.

Speed is engaged to a girl in Minneapolis, Minn. “Or I was, rather, when I left. I’m going to telephone her in just a little bit,” he said, “and see just where I stand.”

Source: Des Moines Tribune (Supplement, pg. 8) Saturday, August 22, 1942 (photo included)