Letters to our boys

(Editor’s Note: This is another installment of The Express’ “Letter to Our Boys,” written during World War II to let “our boys” know what was happening back in their home towns. The Express will bring the letters to you occasionally, thanks to the efforts of Fred and Anna Snyder, who compiled the letters over several years of research and donated a full copy of them to the Clinton County Historical Society.)

Saturday, January 27, 1945


Col. O’Corn has heard a lot of rumors during this war. I disregard virtually all of them – such as the reported drafting of one-legged men, the allegation that one of the members of a medical examining board went crazy, necessitating calling back all those who had previously been labeled 4-F, the stinker that a soldier wrote home and said that if people would quit buying War Bonds the war could not last, the one about the government giving advance information on coming rationing of certain article is done only to help the merchants get rid of some junk so that they can acquire new merchandise.

None, however, brought me to a boil so quickly as the one I heard Wednesday. A mother was incensed – as she should be – that there was a story going the rounds in a local manufacturing plant that her son was “mixed up in that black marketing of the Army cigarettes in France,” referring, I suppose, to the wholesale larceny over there.

The man whose character was blackened by some of our Home Front Heroes while he was saving their necks is not in France and never has been. He is in action in Burma.

I have always been of the opinion that one of the worst things that is wrong with the world is that there are laws of all kinds to punish the murderer, the blackmailer, the swindler, the petty thief; there are no laws to disciple the promiscuous gossip who, either intentionally or otherwise, may ruin a person’s character.

The military insignia collection of Col. O’Corn, started at the suggestion of Charley Shultz, honorably discharged veteran, and given its first strong impetus by Lt. Joe Hamilton, has been attracting during the past week a great number of people in the front window of The Express.

There are about 50 patches. Contributors to the collection, in additions to Charley and Joe, are Pvt. John Keller, Pfc. Sam Carchetti, S. Sgt. Robert Baker, Sgt. Jack Shadle, Cpl. Francis Decker, Cpl. Bud Weaver, Cpl. Edward Growcowski, Pvt. George Miller, Pfc. John Baird, Pvt. John Long of Flemington, Pvt. Kenneth Hahn, Pvt. Bill Swope. Sid Sanders, who has been honorably discharged after having been wounded on the Anzio beachhead. Lt. Rebecca Gross, PhM1/c Charles (Buck) Shea, S2/c Jimmy Dennehy and an unknown who sent the China-Burma-India Theater Insignia, the only hand-made one I have seen. Sgt. Bob Seitzer presented ten and only one was a duplicate.

I have only two from the Marines and two from the Navy. All the others are Army.

The latest addition was that of the Third Infantry Division, one which I prize highly because it came from Pfc. Tommy Geyer, who is back in the US after being wounded in Italy. Tommy may be discharged. He is stationed at Camp Lee, Va. The Geyers never had to be told “there’s a war on.” Tommy’s brother, Miles, was killed July 31 in Italy. Bill, a veteran of the Italian campaign, is missing having been last reported in Belgium, two days before Christmas. That’s a lot of war for one family.

Killed — Lt. Albert Mack (previously wounded twice) in Belgium Jan. 9. Sgt. Roy Simcox, Farrandsville, in France Jan. 7.

Wounded — Pfc. Albert Seyler, seriously, in Belgium, Dec. 23. Pvt. Calvin Ammerman, slightly, in Germany, Jan. 4. Pfc. Donald Allen, slightly, in France, this month. Pvt. Ralph Peck, RD 1, slightly, in Luxembourg, Dec. 26.

Missing — Pvt. Louis Pisano in Luxembourg, Dec. 20. Pvt. Russell Shoemaker. RD 1. in Luxembourg, Dec. 20.

III — Pvt. Clair Lindsey in MacDill Field, Tampa, Fla., hospital for operation to old knee injury.

Promoted — Tommy Greninger to MOMM3/c from P1/c after year and half in Pacific. Myron Guisewite, Avis, to first lieutenant as transport pilot. Weber Newman to Pfc. in Burma. Robert Baker to S. Sgt. in France.

Decorated — Purple Heart, posthumously, to Pvt. Harry (Bud) Ream, South Avis, who died of wounds in France, Aug. 2. Purple Heart, posthumously, to Sgt. Claude Lucas, killed in France Oct. 26.

Back — Pfc. Ward Klinefelter, Tylersville, home for 30 days after suffering serious wounds June 12 in France. Pfc. Edward Chaplain, Orviston, reported missing in Germany, is back with his outfit. Pvt. Dean Herr at Halioran Hospital, Staten Island; back from overseas with recurring back injury. F2/c Sterling Sorgen home after year in Pacific. SOM2/c Francis Hartzell at Key West, Fla., after five days here; will take refresher course after 17 months in South Pacific. Pfc. Don Flanigan, Marine, Mill Hall, after wounds on Guadalcanal. Lt. Roy Hanna, only local DSC winner, for 30 days after part in invasion of France following wounds at Anzio.

Wed — Pvt. Donald Frederick, Castanea, an M.P. at Fort Robinson, Neb., to Betty Jean Clark here Jan. 24. Cpl. Walter Kelley, Flemington, back after 32 months in Panama with Marines, to Martha Runner, Jersey Shore, at Jersey Shore, Jan. 19. PhM1/c Frank Antonelli, Kane, (former TC student) en route to South Pacific after two years in Brazil, to Helen Mondell, Avis, in Phila. Jan. 6.

Tough Break — Seaman Howdy Yufer arrived for three week leave in early hours of morning to find he had a telegram ordering him back immediately; he had about a dozen hours at home.

Short Takes — President’s Birthday Ball cancelled; infantile paralysis driuve concentrated in tag dag, and theatre and coin box collections. Alvin Barnard asks for pair-of-boots at ration board office and wrecks joint when he gets a “No” answer. Ten below here yesterday. Lions Club celebrates third anniversary at ladies’ night. Two-story frame home of Mrs. Olive Brown, 359 E. Park St., destroyed by fire. Elks plan dinner dance Feb. 7 and stag banquet Feb. 22. Window lights and street signs go out next Thursday as part of coal-saving drive among electricity producers. John Frey begins tenth term as Chamber of Commerce president. Lawrence Probst heads Clark Printing and Manufacturing Co.; E. C. Tobias, Woolrich Woolen Mills. Pennwoven raises wages. Tony Torsell heads Inter-Service Club Council. Dr. W. J. Shoemaker, 92; Berritt Haag, 43, and William Knecht, 85, all present or former public officials, die this week. St. Agnes’ parish prays at special services city may be spared of flood. Piper Aircraft seeks to re-employ workers who were released since November as Army and Navy order more Cubs. Bill Cook, honorably discharged veteran, buys Irvin Hotel. Frank (Pap) Henry dies at 79.

Sports — LHHS 5 beats Renovo 66-23. LH Catholic loses 21-14 to Snow Shoe. Clinton County Sportsmen’s Federation seeks better game-feeding and shift from Central to North Central District at state federation in 20 resolutions presented to district meeting at Williamsport. County Club wins Women’s Bowling League crown in first half.