WWII Letters from the Men & Women In Service


Gauthier, Lt. Paul S., letters dated later part of 1944 & January 1945


Several more letters from Lt. Paul S. Gauthier, Free Press Sports Editor who is with the 12th Army Group on the Western Front, attached to Gen. Bradley’s Headquarters, have been received. Some were written just before the German counter-offensive opened and others written as late as January 10. In one of the later letters Lt. Gauthier stated he would have a temporary change of address as he and two other officers of the outfit had been transferred to another group for what he called some “trouble shooting” in the Press Section set-up.

While the earlier letters were more or less personal, there was one item which might interest the home folks – the reaction the men at the front had to the “visiting Congressmen.” Paul wrote;

“As you probably know, Clare Booth Luce and several congressmen have been touring our area this week, finding out what’s wrong, I suppose. To give you a side-light of their visit, I want to send along what red Mueller of NBS said in one of his broadcasts back to the states. He’s on three nights a week, about 7 P. M., New York time, and it would be well worth while listening for him. He always starts his broadcast with ‘With General Bradley’s Headquarters.’ His stuff is darned good and he really knows the situation. Anyhow, here is what Red said:

“‘Meanwhile, American soldiers and generals are getting a glimpse of 17 congressmen who are some of the Military Affairs committee. Their record is none too good. One doubted General Eisenhower’s word; one chattered continuously through an important session; one had the gall to sleep during the speech by General Bradley; one asked an officer where the Siegfried line was located. These are your military experts. A G.I. summed it up beautifully when he said – Gosh, and they got $10,000 a year!’”


Omitting some of the more personal references, here is a letter from Paul, written early in January, from the Western Front:

Dear Dad:
First, my best wishes for the new year to you all. Meant to write to you before this but have been so completely absorbed in the present situation that it was virtually impossible. Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were all busy times as you might gather from the happenings over here at present.

Have been trying for several weeks to get ff a decent personal letter to you, Dad, and this afternoon finally have some time. Just wish that I could ell you even half of the situation over here for [I] know you would be greatly interested in it. [illegible] the stuff, then a 30-hour lag and now comes only a 12-hour delay. Well, it has kept us humping to keep up with all the changes and has required constant check and double check of all the items to make sure nothing got out before the embargo time. I imagine all the newspapers in the states were hollering for this stuff. It was quite a feeling to be sitting on top of all this news and know that you couldn’t let go of it for so many hours. Anyhow, it is quite an experience but a bit of a nerve racking one at times. Will be darned glad when it is all over. Sometimes things get as complex as they used to about the time of the first run on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning in the old days. Remember? No doubt you do.

For the most part, correspondents were able to get their color stories out in pretty good time but the straight news had to be held up for a time for obviously good reasons. The stand made by our troops in Bastogne was one of the feats of history, as you no doubt have read, for the taking of that spot by the Germans would have given them [a] vital road network center in Belgium. And that wouldn’t have been good. Suppose the feat of General Taylor of the 101st flying from Washington to join his troops in Bastogne received quite a spread in the papers in the States. There were a lot of heroes in that deal – including a lot of real eschelon (sic), headquarters personnel, cooks, regimental commanders, etc. What a great job they did. Am afraid the just praise to everyone will not come out for it’s almost a physical impossibility to include all of them. You know how it is, once you start publicizing an outfit for a good job, then out come other events of other units doing the same thing if not just a bit more heroic. So it goes.

A case in point on the above paragraph. After all the hubbub, etc., about what outfits were in the Bastonge stand, it turned out that a combat command of the 10th Armored Division and also elements of the 9th Armored Division played a very important part in that area. Yet the 101 Airborne Division got the first publicity. You can imagine the reaction of the other units and rightly so. And, too, there were so many other units that did nobly during that phase of the operation – they certainly were more than a credit to American soldiering.

The news of the Germans hitting back was quite a blow to the American public. I can imagine, but is proof that the Krauts aren’t licked yet. It’s hard to say of our response to the German offensive being a good operation when people are being killed, wounded, or are missing in action or are prisoners. It’s pretty difficult for the fellows at the front to comprehend that the overall situation looks better when they’re out there getting shot at and are cold and miserable and hungry and tired and Krauts are all around. Our guys certainly proved their mettle and the country should be theirs when they get back.

Almost simultaneous with the German offensive, we had a fortunate break in the weather and for nearly two weeks our air power has been dealing [Page 6] out its blows on the Germans. They have socked oil refineries, marshalling yards, air fields, etc., while the fast moving fighters have strafed and strafed and raised hell in general with the Krauts in the immediate battle area. German armored columns, vehicles, railroad cars, railways and transportation in general have taken a real lacing. Which is good. The Germans have sent quite a bit of air against us in what you might call suicidal defense.

Well, enough of that for the present. Will try to go more in detail later. Hope this finds thing going ok for you all at home, Dad. I know you are busy as the devil but keep up the good work. If everyone appreciates getting the paper as much as I do, you know it’s being well received. I’m still in good health and getting along ok. Mail has been rather irregular. Today got the Nov. 23 issue of the paper plus four letters from Marcia, and a Christmas card from Joe and Teresa. Also yesterday received a nice package from Aunt Alice. Also Aunt Mayme sent me a nice Christmas card.

Afraid I must close for the present. Regards to all the office gang and keep up the good work back there.


Source: Adams County Free Press, Corning, Iowa, Thursday, January 25, 1945, Pages 1 & 6 [Adams County]

Transcriber’s Note: The article above was transcribed as it was written, although by today’s standards it is not politically correct. However the terminology contained is a reflection of a period of time when America was fiercely engaged in war. On the same front page of this particular issue of the Adams County Free Press were announcements of two county soldiers taken as POWs (Lt. Keith Foster, Paul Leo Devers), one county soldier reported MIA (SSgt. Edwin A. Burkhalter), two county soldiers reported wounded in action (Pfc. James C. Kennedy and Pvt. Glen Stargell), and three county soldiers killed in action (Pfc. Emil Eugene “Gene” Bauer, Lt. George Fred McElroy and Cpl. Roy E. Odell). Those articles may be found on their individual webpages which have been transcribed for Iowa In WWII’s site.


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