America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

ODT threatens truck seizure if pleas fail

State association told it hasn’t tried to do share

Editorial: Bonds of unity

Bob Benchley bemoans his former sins

Actors he once panned now get back at him in Hollywood
By Ernest Foster

Banker urges slash in war damage rates

Return of surplus funds to policyholders after war advocated

Millett: ‘No children’ ban remains

Heroic death of dad helps get a home
By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

Allied HQ, North Africa – (by wireless)
During the Tunisian campaign I had a chance to visit the 9th Division only once. I didn’t know a soul in this division, and I drove into their shrub-hidden command post with the same feeling of lonely uneasiness one gets in approaching a strange big city for the first time.

But as we piled out of our jeep, one of the MPs came over and pulled one of these columns out of his pocket – one written way back last winter about the about the Military Police. He laughed and said he’d been waiting a long time for me to show up. He said he knew the Military Police were good, but he didn’t think they were quite as good as I made them out.

This particular soldier was Pvt. Walter Wolfson, of 714 W 181st St., New York. He is a coffee merchant by profession, a radio actor by avocation, and a soldier by the trend of events. Wolfson’s family owns a coffee-importing business – the Empire Coffee Mills, at 323 W 42nd St. He had some newspaper pictures of crowds queueing up at their door to buy coffee after rationing started. His mother and brother run the business while he is away. Wolfson’s sergeant says of him:

If he can sell coffee like he can stop autos, he must have had a good business.

Before he went into the Army, Wolfson was on the “Rainbow House” program. He knows a lot of poetry and opera by heart and is always reciting and singing around camp.

Sergeant digs round foxholes

Wolfson’s sergeant is Charles Harrington, a former mill worker from Gary, Indiana. He is another one with pistol grips made from the windshield of a Messerschmitt, and he carries a picture of his wife in each side of his gun handle.

Sgt. Harrington is the only soldier I’ve ever seen who digs round foxholes instead of rectangular ones. He says that’s literally so it will be harder for strafing bullets to get at him, but figuratively so the Devil can’t get him cornered. He says he’s convinced the adage is true that “there are no atheists in foxholes.”

Running onto those two was a pretty good start in breaking into new territory. So, then we went up to the tent where correspondents always check in and find out what’s going on, and who should be there but Maj. Bob Robb, a old friend of mine from the San Francisco Exposition I met him when he was publicizing the big fair. Then on another trap he and I went out together to visit Jack London’s old home, the Valley of the Moon. And on a later visit to San Francisco, he went with me through the wine country while I was writing some columns about the vineyards. And the last time I had seen him was at the Golden Gate a year and a half ago. He was a lieutenant then, in Army Public Relations at the Presidio – and rapidly going nuts, I might add, from the chaos. To escape that treadmill, he asked for overseas duty, and, boy, did he get it! He was right in the thick of things in the latter phase of the Tunisian campaign, and having the time of his life.

Pvt. Wolfson, Sgt. Harrington, and Maj. Robb have one thing in common with every soldier in the Army – they think their division is the best one extant. Being myself a man without a division, I just agree with them all.

A man without an anecdote

Pfc. Joseph Lorenze is one of my infantry friends out of the 1st Division. His home is at 963 Holly St., Inglewood, California. He’s a nice, quiet, friendly fellow who worked in a furniture factory before the war.

We were together during that unforgettable period when our infantry was fighting day and night for the hills west of Mateur. I wanted to put Lorenze’s name in one of my dispatches, but I told him I didn’t like to use names without having some little anecdote to go with them that would be interesting to everybody. So, while the shells commuted incessantly back and forth overhead, Pvt. Lorenze and I sat in our foxholes and thought and thought, and damned if we could think of a thing to say about him, even though he had been through four big battles. So, finally I said:

Well, I’ll put it in anyhow. You live only half a mile from my friend Cavanaugh, so I’ll hook it up with him some way.

You may remember my friend Cavanaugh. He was in France in the last war when he was 16 years old. This time, he is serving his country by writing me funny letters about the home front, to keep up my morale. In the latest one, he says:

This is just getting around to being a fit country to live in. No gas, no tires, no salesmen, no gadgets, and plenty of whisky to last the duration. Money ain’t worth a damn and I’m glad I’ve lived to see the day. Everybody you talk to has a military secret. I have completed my plans for the postwar world, and I find no place in it for you. Good luck with your frail body, my friend, and try to bring it back to Inglewood sometime. And a can of salmon would be nice too.

So someday Pvt. Lorenze and I will take off our shoes and lie in the grass in Cavanaugh’s backyard and tell him all about our narrow escapes on Hill 428, and not even listen when he tries to get in a word about how it was around Verdun and Vimy Ridge.

U.S. Navy Department (May 30, 1943)

Communiqué No. 395

North Pacific (on Attu Island).
On May 28, U.S. Army troops cleared the Japanese from the easterly and northerly faces of Fish‑Hook Ridge.

On May 29:

  1. At dawn the enemy counterattacked the right flank of the U.S. Army forces on the Chichagof Valley floor. Except for snipers, this enemy force was annihilated. Preliminary reports indicate that the Japanese casualties were high.

  2. Unfavorable weather conditions prevented air operations.

The Pittsburgh Press (May 30, 1943)

U.S. planes blast bases in France

RAF makes big day raids; jittery Axis prepares for Allied invasion

Yanks storm ridge; foe in two pockets

Strongpoint cleared of enemy despite heavy gunfire

Oil City flier pays ‘freight’ for girls’ party

And $150-a-night chaperon calls his wife ‘very understanding’

One of Byrnes’ tasks: Salve ration foes

Practical politicians selected to smooth out war program
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Butter price cut effective June 10

Corporations buy 27% of war bonds

Milk drivers in New York refuse to double loads

Union calls ODT order ‘smokescreen’ to ease in less frequent deliveries

Meat, potatoes and poultry lead shortage

Gas situation most serious in East; weekend travel curbed
By the United Press

Yanks smash at big Italian naval harbor

Fortresses hit Leghorn; Liberators hit Foggia Airfield in south
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

UMW evades final decision on coal truce

Policy committee meets to hear reports on negotiation

Stork may need U.S. pass to get into housing unit

New contract forbids additions to family circle without government permission

Air attacks point to Allied invasion of Italian islands

Russians may strike at same time; fascist divisions reported called home from Balkans; big thrust on main land unlikely
By Carroll Binder, foreign editor of The Chicago Daily News

Yanks bomb Pantelleria by new ‘skip-dive’ method

Green-terraced Mediterranean fortress held by Italian suicide garrison
By Thomas R. Henry, North American Newspaper Alliance

Russians laud U.S. Airacobra

Equal of best Nazi fliers, Red fliers say

Liberty ship No. 1,000 sent into service

Vessels of all types being delivered at rate of 5 daily