Pottawattamie County


Lt. Robert Oshlo



IDPA Writer Travels Road Under Fire
By FRANK MILES (Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy—(IDPA)—[excerpt]

My jeep driver and I were lost, looking for a division headquarters in North Italy.

Around a clump of trees on a bend in the mountain road we came upon a group of halted American infantrymen, eating K rations.

“Any one from Iowa here?” I inquired of 2 soldiers apart from the others, feeling that one from my own state might be more kindly disposed toward a scribe in distress.

“Don’t think any of this gang is from there,” was the reply in a pleasant drawl.  “Most of us come from the south.”

Spotting the Major, who was in command, I told him my troubles. He was more than considerate and sympathetic, then firm.

“The Jerries are shelling that road you just came over with small arms and mortars,” he informed.  “You should not be here, but I’ll tell you how to get back over a safer route.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said warmly. “What is your name and where are you from?”

He was Major Richard Oshlo, 23, Council Bluffs, who soon after graduation from Thomas Jefferson high school there went with an Iowa National Guard outfit for training at Camp Ripley in August of 1940 and answered call to active duty early in 1941. He had been overseas since April of this year and had seen a lot of action.

The Major has a brother, 2nd Lt. Robert Oshlo of the 168th Infantry, wsho was captured at Kaserine Pass in Africa and whom he believed is a prisoner in Germany, and another brother, Sgt. William Oshlo with a railroad battalion in England.

I promised to be more careful in the future, but the picture changes so swiftly in a battle area that it is difficult for anyone to give directions accurately and for anyone to fully understand those he gets.

Source: The Mason City Globe-Gazette, October 28, 1944

Oshlo Boys Met, Paid Visit to Old Division

Two Council Bluffs brothers, one of whom escaped from the Germans after two years as a prisoner, visited their original unit, the 168th infantry of the 5th army's 34th division, in Italy recently.

They were Lt Col. Richard Oshlo and 2nd Lt. Robert E. Oshlo. Col. Oshlo, 24, is now commanding a battalion in the 91st division also in Italy.

Both former national guardsmen, they were members of the 168th. Richard, formerly a staff sergeant in supply, went to officer candidate school, Fort Benning, Ga., two days before the regiment shipped overseas, in February 1942. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 91st.

Robert came overseas as a transportation sergeant. In Ireland, he became a warrant officer and, after landings at Algiers, received a battlefield commission and became a supply officer. He was captured at Faid Pass and was a prisoner until he and other officers escaped.

They made their getaway while being marched from Poland to Germany. The prisoners were bivouacked overnight in a barn and when the rest moved out next morning, Oshlo and his friends hid. They were picked up by a Russian patrol and brought to Italy by boat from Odessa.

While in the prison camp, Oshlo participated in a track meet and won the discus throwing competition with prisoner-athletes from many nations.

The prisoners were given little food by their captors, the main diet being black bread, water and soup. However, they received food in packages sent by the Red Cross.

The Oshlo brothers attended Thomas Jefferson high school and were outstanding athletes, Richard starring in football , basketball, boxing and track while Robert played football and was a member of the track team. Robert later played football at the University of Iowa.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, June 25, 1945