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, June 2, 1945
Cpl. Jim Wise, who is serving in the Pacific with the Engineers Special Shop Battalion, writes that he sure could go for a mess of trout as well as some fishing for the speckled beauties and some hunting for deer.
His brother, Pat, is in the Navy in the Pacific, and another brother is in France.
Jim has been overseas 15 months. He is now in the Philippines, having served in New Guinea. He says:
“I sure am sorry to read about my buddies that are not making out so good. But there is one thing I can say and that is that they will never be forgotten for the good job they are doing. I know a lot of them that I read about and I know that their families all can be proud of them.”
Jim has been on the lookout for “Spike” Hennessey with whom he worked for four or five years at the Paper Mill. He has not seen any of his friends.
Jim sends addresses of himself and Pat but censorship does not permit reprinting them here. I have them for any of their friends who wish to write to them.
To the former students of TC and the follows of sports at the college, I say that I have heard from Sgt. George Barnes, one of the best boxers ever to don the Maroon trunks, and Lt. Paul Renne, a fine football player.
George not only won the Purple Heart but also got an Oak Leaf Cluster, indicating that he was wounded twice. He writes:
“I got winged through the left arm.” The bullet was from a sniper’s gun. George headed a platoon which was part of the reconnaissance unit spearheading the breakthrough to the Danube River directly toward Munich.
“We had just reached the bridge across the Danube,” says the former Williamsport boy, “when we got into a little resistance and while we were waiting for one of the companies of tanks to come up and clear it out completely, my platoon was attempting to save the bridge from being blown. It was shortly after that time that I believe a sniper shot me. The bullet went into my upper arm and smashed the grip of my German luger (pistol) that I had under my left arm pit. Had it not been for that, it would have passed through my chest.
“Was I lucky? It went through my jacket and cracked the fountain pen in my left pocket.”
“On top of that, while the medic was dressing my wound, a sniper was still trying to get us, so we had to crawl under a culvert for safety. That’s the kind of guys the Germans are.”
Renne must have seen plenty of action for he writes that he is back at a camp where he is doing some training “as we had a hell of a lot of replacements join us here.”
He is coach of the battalion boxers. Renne was left guard on the TC football team and a boxer in the 165-pound class.
He has another year of eligibility. Barnes has two years, having boxed at 135.
Renne is sold on the fistie game. Boxing is popular with his outfit and his commander is giving it a big hand. Renne says: “When this show is over, I would like to enroll the whole platoon at TC. What a ‘ball club’ you could make of it!”
Pfc. Jack Reeder, 21, Loganton, in Germany, April 16.
Marine PFC. Paul Redos, Renovo, wounded for the second time.
Lt. Eugene Shultz, in New York, enroute home after being prisoner of Germans. Major Hall Achenbach, after duty in Africa.
S/Sgt. Anthony Ripoli, for 30-day convalescent leave. Capt. Dean Bennett, leave, after duty in Newfoundland.
Richard Heltman, S1/c, Flemington, 24-day leave, after nine months in Pacific. Sgt. Lester Heller, for 28-day furlough, after over 25 months in Southwest Pacific. Jack Keller, Coxswain 3/c, Flemington, for 30 days after 12 months in South Pacific.
Lt. William Greiner, Jr., captured last July. T/Sgt. Lawrence Karchner, Loganton R.D. 2, captured March 22. S/Sgt. John Treon, Renovo, taken prisoner Oct. 6, 1943. Pvt. Robert Jones, missing in Germany since Nov. 14, has returned. Pvt. Frederick Simcox, Tylersville, missing in action in Germany since Nov. 29. Pvt. Louis Pisano, prisoner of Germans.
Sgt. Henry Zerby, Lamar, May 26, after 27 months overseas.
Francis Cerwonka to 2nd Lt., Camp Gordon. John Eminhizer, 22, to 2nd Lt., at Enid, Okla. J Bartley Cook to capt.; husband of Christine Thomas. Carl Brungard to s/sgt.; also awarded a third Oak Left Cluster to Air Medal. Nelson Wolfe, Loganton, to 2nd Lt.
Charles Lange, Combat Infantry Badge. Pfc. Frederick Vance, Tylersville, Distinguished Service Cross, posthumously; killed in Italy March 1.
Mary Potts to S/Sgt. Robert Miller, Renovo, May 26, at Renovo.
Sgt. Harold Bartholomew and brother, Melvin, near Manila on Mother’s Day. Pfc. Charles Desmond and brother, Pfc. Forest, at Fort Dix, after two and four years overseas; both waiting honorable discharge.
LHHS Band has annual banquet. Randecker Brothers, LH, low on bid to tear down Junior High School (Clock Tower) building at TC at $18,557. D.B. Lytle, Mill Hall principal, and son, Glenn, Beech Creek High principal, resign to join Perkiomen Prep faculty. Pfc. Jesse Lyon, of Woolrich, and Pfc. William Hickey talk to Exchange Club. 26 members of TC class of 1900 have reunion. 18 get degrees at TC. Firemen have annual memorial servues; only one dead in past year; 104 since organization of three companies. Mary Jane Earon one of 130 grads at West Chester TC. 22 Mexicans brought here temporarily to do PRR track work. Mr. and Mrs. Ferd Lucas married 60 years. May war drive for waste paper hits 11.52 tons, well above average. Hodes junk yard office robbed of 150 gallons in gas stamps and some money on Friday night and visited by small fire on following Thursday; bankroll only slightly damaged. Only five of you guys and gals in the service have asked for military ballots for the June 19 election; request deadline June 14. Scranton has snow flurries; temperature here down to 35 June 1; 20 years ago high was 101. Henri Barbet, Lyon, France, well known silk manufacturer and one-armed veteran of World War I, to visit local silk mill. VFW dedicates three flagpoles at Cedar Hill, Dunnstown and Swissdale Cemeteries. Today is circus day with showers forecast.
Bud Fredericks, Charley Donahue and Marsh Berkimer tops in Country Club goft tournament. Don Welch and Zimmerman Brothers horses win Memorial Day races at Clinton Park, Mill Hall.