America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Patton probe demanded by Senate group

Military committee votes for full report by Stimson

Washington (UP) –
The Senate Military Affairs Committee today voted to ask Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson for a “full report” on the slapping of a shell-shocked American soldier by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in Sicily last August.

One committee member, Senator Edwin C. Johnson (D-CO), said the committee itself would make a full investigation unless the War Department “cleaned up the mess.”

The committee’s request to Mr. Stimson was the first positive Congressional action on the long-hushed incident. Gen. Patton’s recent nomination by President Roosevelt for promotion from the permanent rank of colonel to major general is pending before the Senate group.

Wants all facts

Asked if the action called for a committee investigation at this time, spokesmen said it did not.

They added:

But if Secretary Stimson is to present all the facts in a report to the committee, he undoubtedly will have to make some sort of investigation. The committee merely wants all the facts.

Earlier, Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH), a member of the committee, had proposed that the committee inquire whether generals, too, might not fall victim to “battle fatigue.” He suggested that Gen. Patton might have been so suffering when he struck the soldier.

Demands House probe

In the House, Rep. Charles B. Hoeven (R-IA) demanded that the House Military Affairs Committee investigate the incident. Chairman Andrew J. May (D-KY) of the House group had indicated, however, that his committee would probably not conduct an inquiry.

Mr. Hoeven told the House:

The fathers and mothers of America having boys in the service are already weighed down by concern for the welfare of their sons. Now they will have the added anxiety of wondering whether or not their sons are being abused by hardboiled officers.

Perhaps we have too much “blood and guts” now. I feel that the entire matter should be investigated by our Committee on Military Affairs. Apparently, Gen. Patton is getting off with an apology. If the soldier had struck the general, it would have been a different story.

Gets Legion post letter

Mr. Hoeven told reporters later that a Veterans’ Preference Committee of an American Legion post in his district had sent him a message which read:

Respectfully request that you demand a full investigation of the Gen. Patton incident with AEF. These are American soldiers and not Germans. If our boys are to be mistreated, let’s import Hitler and do it up right.

Inclined to drop case

War Department spokesmen said military authorities were inclined to do nothing more about the incident “unless there should develop a great public clamor,” pointing out that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, had rebuked Gen. Patton “mercilessly” and that Gen. Patton himself had apologized to the soldier and others involved.

Senator Bridges said:

It occurs to me that a general himself, long and frequently exhausted due to the rigors of actual battle as he personally leads his troops into combat, might be a victim of battle fatigue without realizing it. After all, the condition is a human affliction and is not visited according to rank; a general as well as a private can be its victims for our generals “don’t die in bed.”

To ask probe

If this is true, a more serious case is presented. Are our line-fighting generals themselves kept under fire too long, so that, suffering battle fatigue, their ability as leaders of the men – our boys – is impaired? I shall ask the Military Affairs Committee, of which I am a member, to make inquiry into this phase of the Patton incident.

Mr. Johnson said that America was “terribly shocked by the Patton brutality story,” and that as a disciplinary measure, “a slap on the wrist will not suffice.”

Senator Claude Pepper (D-FL) declared Gen. Patton should have been court-martialed. Official reports from North Africa said the general had been called down severely by Gen. Eisenhower, but had received no official reprimand or punishment because of his record.

Identity withheld

The soldier in the case was not officially identified, but it was revealed that Pvt. Charles Herman Kuhl of Mishawaka, Indiana, wrote to his family from Sicily last August saying he had been slapped and kicked by Gen. Patton. The letter, dated Aug. 4, said:

Gen. Patton slapped my face yesterday and kicked me in the pants and cussed me. This probably won’t go through…

It did.

The Army has revealed that the soldier in its official case – possibly Pvt. Kuhl – twice refused to leave the battlefront and was finally hospitalized under orders. A week after the incident with Gen. Patton, he was back at the front.

Relatives uncertain Kuhl was victim

Pvt. Kuhl

Mishawaka, Indiana (UP) –
The father of Pvt. Herman Kuhl, 27, said today that if his son was the soldier abused by Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr., the general’s attack may have been justified by Pvt. Kuhl’s “quick temper.”

Relatives of the soldiers were not so certain today that Pvt. Kuhl was the private who became the cause célèbre of Sicily after he was attacked by Gen. Patton.

The father, Herman F. Kuhl, a casket maker, said when he first read published accounts of the incident, he was certain that his son was the soldier involved, but could now see certain discrepancies between newspaper stories and a letter which he received from his son.

He had received a letter from Pvt. Kuhl on Sicily last August, he said, disclosing that the soldier had been slapped and kicked by Gen. Patton at a hospital on the island.

Reports differ

He said the general descriptions of the incident were the same, but that the published reports said Gen. Patton slapped the soldier in his bed at the hospital, while Pvt. Kuhl’s letter said he was in the superintendent’s office when the incident occurred.

The letter was dated Aug. 4, the father said, and while reports have not been clear about the date of the incident, it is believed to have taken place a few days later.

The soldier’s wife, Loretta Kuhl, said she was angered on receiving the letter but did not mention it because she was afraid her husband, through his “quick temper,” might get in further trouble.

‘Good mixer’

The father added:

Charles was a good mixer, but he was quick to temper, although he got over it quickly, too.

In his letter, Mrs. Kuhl said, the soldier said he was shell-shocked and sent to a hospital after the initial landing on Sicily. Kuhl said hospital attendants apparently did not believe he was seriously injured and ordered him to appear at the superintendent’s office for examination. He was slapped by Gen. Patton while he was at the office, Pvt. Kuhl said.

The letter said:

Gen. Patton slapped my face yesterday and kicked me in the pants and cussed me.

New tax bill is due today

Rejection of administration measure defended

House rejects subsidies plan by 2–1 vote

Foes of measure confident it will suffer same fate in Senate

Give them time!

By Florence Fisher Parry

Chips are down in state’s trial of Bioff gang

Extortion defense expected to last weeks; one man freed

9 die as snows hit Northeast

Upper New York covered; food and fuel short
By the United Press

Yank-British invasion plans in last stages

‘Big Three’ meeting will deal with peace terms, say London observers
By Ned Russell

London, England –
Competent observers said today that Anglo-American plans for an invasion of Western Europe were in the final stages with little prospect that any Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conference will alter or speed them.

The date for the opening of a second front was fixed long ago and at that time Premier Stalin accepted it was the earliest possible moment at which the Allies can move across the English Channel or North Sea, these sources said.

Meanwhile, troops, arms, food and other supplies are pouring across the Atlantic in a steady stream for the “zero hour,” they said.

Military informants believed that the prospective conference – which Axis broadcasts have said may take place this week – of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Stalin will concentrate on peace terms for the Axis and post-war collaborator.

Allied fliers blast Japs on Rabaul route

Waves of planes attack southern New Britain for third day
By Brydon C. Taves, United Press staff writer

How long will enemy last?
Far East peoples remain Jap foes despite promises

Bullying tactics of conquerors and dire economic straits of territories keep Asiatics pro-Allied
By A. T. Steele

U.S., British air leaders aim at victory by spring

Bomb tonnage this winter will ‘Hamburgize’ one Nazi production center after another
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer

Atolls of Gilbert Islands make sinister battlefields

Complicated land structure is like nothing our forces have tackled, war reporter says
By George Weller

Editorial: The Patton incident

There are two things about the Patton incident which could create even more harm than the incident itself.

Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, a picturesque military leader of obvious ability who had been built up to heroic proportions, struck a shell-shocked soldier twice.

When the story leaked, Allied headquarters in Africa first gave out what is now admitted to have been a “half-truth.” There is a tendency among Army, Navy and other government officials to follow this practice too often and it has frequently gotten them into trouble and undermined public confidence.

A second auxiliary angle is the threat in Congress to launch a Congressional investigation. Congress can do a lot of good by formal, well-directed inquiries. But this is a military matter. Gen. Eisenhower, who is in possession of the full facts, has taken the action he deemed wisest.

Gen. Patton’s conduct was inexcusable, but it is not a matter for civilian interference.

Editorial: A different Thanksgiving

Last year, as we prepared to observe Thanksgiving Day, we had little to feel cheerful about, little even to be thankful for–

Except that our skins were still whole, that we had great resources and great manpower on which to draw for a desperate war, and that we had started.

Things have come a long way in a year.

And while it cannot be said too often that the war is far from won, the tide has turned. Everywhere, the United Nations are on the offensive. Africa has been freed of Nazis, the Mediterranean is under our control, the submarine menace has been greatly diminished, the continent of Europe has been invaded, the Russians have gained their greatest victories and air raids on Germany are taking a tremendous toll of the enemy.

We can see daylight ahead.

So, we can be thankful, tomorrow, that, despite all our shortcomings and our home front fumblings, we have a people who have the stuff it takes.

We can be thankful for the production capacity, the resources, the ingenuity and the loyal workers to turn out the needs of war for ourselves and our allies.

We can be thankful for the great skill and courage of the Armed Forces and their leaders.

And we can be thankful that the good fortune of geography and the fortitude of our allies have saved us from Axis horrors which have been inflicted on other reports.

But tomorrow will not be a day of rejoicing and feasting in all American homes. To thousands have come those fateful, official messages, “We regret to inform you–.” In thousands of others there is grave apprehension of the day when those messages will yet be delivered.

So let those of us who are lucky enough to be at home, some perhaps in harassed civilian pursuits, some in tedious but good-paying war jobs, some feeling helpless because age or physical handicap keeps them here – let those of us give a thought to others.

Let us not forget those who died at Pearl Harbor, and on Guam and Wake, on Bataan and at Corregidor, those who died on Guadalcanal or in New Guinea, those who were mowed down at Kasserine Pass, or on the Salerno beaches, those who lost their lives over Berlin, or Ploești or Regensburg. And thousands of others.

Let us give thanks. But let us make the next year a greater year, a year of greater production and sacrifice. There are Americans in Jap and German prison camps to be rescued. There are Americans in uniform marked for dying whose lives we can save if we so our job at home.

May no American at home – war worker, civilian worker, government official – ever forget that.

Editorial: Hitler’s Jewish victims

Ferguson: Army nurses

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Background of news –
Will Roosevelt tip his hand?

By Jay G. Hayden, North American Newspaper Alliance

In Washington –
Morgenthau asks reconstruction bank for world

Treasury Secretary urges $10-billion setup to promote prosperity in the post-war era

Do your share!

By Maxine Garrison

Leather pool squeezes U.S., attorney says

Justice Department asks investigation of British-dominated monopoly

FCC bans hold on 2 air bands

Dual radio ownership to end June 1

Thanksgiving Day! (1943)

By Fred S. Wertenbach, Press staff writer

We thank Thee, Lord!

For little homes that nestle back
A short ways from the beaten track.

For windows where a warming light
Guides our step when comes the night.

For baby folk, whose soft arms make
Bonds of love we would not break.

For women who, with arms flung wide,
Wait to heal our hurts – and pride.

For this, our land, whose brave sons fight
On distant shores, for truth and right.

For peace to come, that fires may glow
On every hearthstone here below

For these Thy gifts; for work and play
Humbly on this Thanksgiving Day.

We thank Thee, Lord!

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

Ernie Pyle is on his way overseas again. His column will be resumed shortly after he arrives at an unannounced point somewhere in the Mediterranean Theater.

Washington –
When I came east from New Mexico, I thought it might be nice to ride the train for a change, since I’d traveled only by auto, air and water for the past six years.

When I went to the depot, I found that getting on a train these days is about as hard as getting on a plane. They had orders not to make any reservations out of Albuquerque for two months. But the agent did have one lone space which he’d been hoarding – it was for a bedroom on the Santa Fe Chief. I decided to take it.

In the first place, I’d never had anything so flossy on a train as a bedroom. That’s really getting classy, and I enjoy a shot of class once in a while to break the monotony. Further, I thought a private bedroom would be just the thing for me to do some writing during the 27-hour journey to Chicago.

The train was fine and the bedroom was fine. Nothing was the railroad’s fault. But the next time I take a trip, I’m going to ride the rods. I’m apparently just not the train-bedroom type. For at night, I couldn’t sleep because of the air-conditioning, and in the daytime, I got so lonesome, all shut in there by myself, that I sat in the club car all the time. On my next splurge of railroad class, I guess I’d better hire a whole car and ask a few friends to come along.

Barber’s last haircut is silent

I had one experience on the train I hadn’t counted on. I got a haircut. Yep, right on the train, while crossing Illinois at 70 miles an hour. The Chief has practically everything.

The barber was a sleight, grayish man of upper middle age. He never said a word during the whole operation. And then just as he finished, he said:

You’ve had the distinction, slight as it is, of getting my last haircut in 55 years of barbering!

Now that is a distinction, so I asked for the details. It seems he was retiring from the railroad forever when we hit Chicago a few minutes later. He was going to give away all his barber tools, keeping only one razor, a hone and a strop for himself.

The barber’s name is William F. Obermeyer, and his home is in Los Angeles. He is 69 and therefore has been barbering since he was 14. He has spent 41 of those 55 years on the railroad, 30 of them with the Santa Fe.

He didn’t seem excited about the impending end of such a long career, but I guess he was, for several other passengers said he told them about it, too.

Oregon man shows appreciation

This next item falls under the “virtue is its own reward” department.

Do you remember last fall in Sicily when I was writing about the 3rd Division’s engineers repairing the Point Calava demolition, and how two soldiers especially worked on and one with more fervor and sincerity than anybody need expect of them?

Well, now comes a letter from a man in Hillsboro, Oregon, wanting to know how he could get in touch with them so he could send them $100 apiece, just out of gratitude.

His letter says:

Such men are not common, and I want to show them that I appreciate such actions and perseverance.

I’m not giving the man’s name, because I haven’t time to write and fine out whether he would object to being named. Then the two boys were Cpls. Gordon Uttach of Merrill, Wisconsin, and Alvin Tolliver of Alamosa, Colorado. I hope the Samaritan finds them, and that they enjoy their $100.

Ernie expresses his thanks

We’ve had some amusing instances of how sketchily people read these days.

While I was on vacation, some of the papers reprinted old columns starting back as far as eight years ago. In one month, those reprint columns roamed all the way from Alaska to Argentina. Each one carried an editor’s note above it, and told what year the column was written.

Yet we’ve had dozens of remarks indicating that readers hadn’t read the editor’s noted at all, and thought I was literally jumping from Dutch Harbor to Pearl Harbor to French Guiana overnight. There was even one advertising agency man in New York who, after reading the reprint of a 1938 Guatemala column, called up Washington and wanted to know how soon I’d be back from Central America.

That’s all for now. There will be a pause in the columns while I get to where I’m going. Take care of yourselves here in America, and thanks for being so nice to me during my two-month respite from war.