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

Background of news –
War bonds and the inflation gap

By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports

Editorial: Post-war hate

Women sworn to keep secrets on Army trips

AWVS swears in corps to relieve men of driving duty

Jap bullets fail to deter Yank and Aussie work crew

Men building supply base within striking distance of Law defy enemy dive-bombers
By Harold Guard, United Press staff writer

Millett: Wives equal to war test

Learn to handle own affairs carefully
By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

Ernie Pyle has returned to the United States for a much-needed rest after 14 months in Europe and Africa. This column was written before his departure from Sicily.

Somewhere in Sicily, Italy – (by wireless)
The backbone of any Army company is the first sergeant. I know one who is a beaut.

His name is, of all things, Adelard Levesque. It’s pronounced “Levek” but the soldiers call him “Pop.” He’s 42 years old, but doesn’t look it.

Of all the thousands of men I’ve met in the Army, he comes the nearest to being the fictional version of the tough, competent, old-line first sergeant. Levesque was in the last war as a mere boy. He fought in France and stayed on with the Army of Occupation in Germany until 1921.

He isn’t a Regular Army man. He spent 20 years out in the big world between war, raising a family, making a living, and seeing and doing things. He has been a West Coast iron worker and practically anything else you can mention. He has four sons in the Army and, if I remember correctly, one daughter in the Navy.

Ruggedly handsome fellow

He calls Marysville, California, his home. He is a ruggedly handsome fellow with a black mustache, and clothes that are always neat even when dirty. His energy never runs down. He talks loud and continuously. He cusses fluently and orders everybody around, including officers.

At first my mouth hung open in amazement until gradually I began to catch the spirit of Levesque. He isn’t smart-alecky nor fresh. It’s just that he’s a natural-born center of any stage. He’s a leader, and he’s one of these gifted, practical men who can do anything under the sun, and usually do it better than the next fellow.

To top it all off, he speaks perfect French and is picking up Italian like a snowball. One of his commanders told me:

He talks too much and too big, but he can back up every word he says. I sure hope we never lose him.

I asked one enlisted man about him, since they are the ones his tongue falls on most heavily. The man said:

Hell, I don’t know what this company would do without him. Sure, he talks all the time, but we don’t pay any attention. Listen at him beatin’ his gums now. He musta got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Uses excellent grammar

Actually, the sergeant isn’t so ferocious. He is widely informed, and his grammar is excellent. He can discuss politics as well as bulldozers. He is alert to your own conversation and to every little thing that goes on.

One day on a mountain road, he stopped our jeep and asked the driver some questions. As he walked back to his own jeep, he turned and ordered my driver:

Go get those maps. Send a bulldozer back up here. Bring five gallons of gas, and get your spare tire fixed. Goddammit, why don’t you take care of your vehicle?

“Spare tire?” the driver asked.

The sergeant roared:

Yes, goddammit. It’s flat.

He had discovered it merely by the slight pressure of his hand as he leaned against it while talking to us. Everything he does is like that.

If you could have been on hand during the last half-hour of work on the Point Calava bridge I’ve written about recently, you would have seen as fine a drama as ever you paid $8.80 a seat for in New York.

The bridge is almost finished. The climax of 24 hours of frenzied work has come. Everybody is through. Only one man can do the final touches of bracing and balancing. That man is sitting on the end of a beam way out there over the chasm, a hammer in his hand, his legs wrapped around the beam as though he were riding a bronco.

Puts on one-man show

The squirrel out there on the beam is, of course, Sgt. Levesque. He wears his steel helmet and his pack harness. He never takes it off, even though the day is sweltering.

His face is dirty and grave and sweating. He is in complete charge of all he surveys. On the opposite banks of the crater, two huge soldier audiences stand watching this noisily profane craftsman play out his role.

Their preoccupation is a tribute to his skill. I’ve never seen a more intent audience. It includes all ranks, from privates to generals.

The sergeant yells to the winch man on the bank:

Gimme some slack. Gimme some slack, goddammit. That’s enough – hold it. Throw me a sledge. Where the hell’s a spike, goddammit? Hasn’t anybody got a spike?

How does that look from the bank now, colonel? She about level? Okay, slack away. Watch that air hose. Let her clear down. Hey, you under there, watch yourself, goddammit.

Sgt. Levesque drives the final spike deeply with his sledge. He looks around at his work and finds it finished.

With an air of completion, he clambers to his feet and walks the narrow beam back to safety. You could almost sense the curtain going down, and I know everybody in the crowd had to stifle an impulse to cheer.

If somebody writes another What Price Glory? after this war I know who should play the leading role. Who? Why, Sgt. Levesque, goddammit, who do you suppose?

U.S. planes down 6 Japs, sink five riverboats

People of Sicily elated over AMG form of justice

Legal system brought by Allies is fairest island has had in generations
By Thomas R. Henry, North American Newspaper Alliance

U.S. ‘spiritual arsenal’ envisioned by President

Peace depends on undismayed faith, letter says, lauding Religious Education Week

Poll: People ready to dig down

Many think they have escaped real sacrifice
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion

New problem faced by WLB

Tangled Allis-Chalmers case submitted

Patterson: Allied forces well supplied

Under Secretary of State says Japs fought on even terms

Touring U.S. Senators see New Guinea bases

U.S. State Department (September 11, 1943)

Hull-Churchill dinner meeting, 8 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
Secretary of State Hull Prime Minister Churchill
Secretary of the Interior Ickes Lieutenant General Ismay
Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau
Speaker Rayburn
Admiral Leahy
Mr. Douglas
Mr. Harriman

From Leahy’s Diary:

The general conversation at dinner was about the war and post-war prospects.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 12, 1943)

King, Badoglio escape from Rome, call upon people to fight Nazis

Germans, meeting strong resistance, rush in reinforcements

All territory surrendered by Italians in armistice

Agree to 13 conditions; Allies get use of bases and ports to carry on war

Japs in flight at Salamaua

Allies crack inner defenses; fall imminent

Proposes 7 new ‘freedoms’ –
‘International monopolists’ assailed by the President

Wallace hits at ‘secret world business combines,’ says people must safeguard freedom

Lt. Benson Ford testifies at colonel’s court-martial

Auto magnate’s kin describes transfer to airfield; captain tells of drinking party

New Miss America –
California girl victor

Boston girl is runner-up in Atlantic City pageant

New inquiry of manpower will be made

Congress also faces tax, foreign relations and food problems