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The Bluffton news. [volume] (Bluffton, Ohio) 1875-current, January 06, 1944, Image 8

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Intimate Glimpses Of
Life Of Men In 37th
(Continued from page 1)
Garand rifles, their submachine guns.
It was a tense moment. If the ene
rgy were to make an air attack to
resist a landing, now was the time.
"I wonder how Ellie and the kids
are doing now, said a young soldier
who had never seen the twins his
wife had borne while he was over
seas. Men talked of home, of steaks
and ice cream and pie and cake.
Some of them speculated on the
chance of being sent to New Zealand
or Australia after the Bougainville
campaign. Some of them had been
fortunate enough to spend time in
New Zealand, and liked it and had
told their buddies.
The men were restless. Trained
in land fighting, they hated being
cooped up in a ship and without a
chance to fight back if an attack
should come.
Lower Landing Boats
The soldiers began to hear the
]oud speaker issuing commands for
the lowering of land,ng boats, clear
ing the decks and manning battle
stations. Then came the order to
debark. An audible murmer, blend
ed from sighs of relief, ran around
the hold.
Quickly the men moved to the
rail. swung over ar climbed down
the Sanding nets, vvhich, woven of
one-inch rope and strong enough to
SUPPort several
men led them to the
landing boats. Althcmgh fully armed
and carrying their full field packs,
they made quick, ex pert work of it.
The unloading procc?ss was efficient
and speedy. As quickly as one
barge started for the shore, an
y one took its rdace. The land
i n v
was made safely. The dreaded
enerr v air attack id not material
The troops took their positions.
Life in the jungk s and hills of
Roug ainville began Warfare is
grim. Once the men were pipe fit
ters and lawyers, plumbers and ac
contc stants, or occupied at scores of
civil i an jobs, but now they had been
Rrllfll ers for what seemed a long
time. What with Japanese snipers
and bombers, the discomforts of
i angle life and the need for constant
work, days and nights are fully oc
cupied. Yet their is plenty of hu-
That Fox Hole
Take, for instance, this incident.
Some of the troops were changing
their positions, digging in deeper
and setting up a perimeter defense
a sound their headquarters. Barbed
wire was strung around all the em
placements, guns were mounted se
curely, and foxholes were deepened
and covered with logs and sandbags.
One soldier made a particularly good
job with his foxhole. He then an
nounced to all within hearing that
“even a bomb couldn’t get into it.”
Unfortunately, neither could he. He
had forgotten to leave a place for
an entrance.
Sleeping arrangements—when the
bombs aren’t falling and no other
immediate peril attends—are com
paratively simple. A soldier looks
around for two trees sturdy enough
to support his weight, and slings
One lady said recently that her
stomach used to be like a “gas
factory!” That is, when she ate a
meal it seemed to turn right into
gas. She was always bloated, had
awful stomach gas pains, daily head
aches and constant irregular bowel
action. Now, however, this lady
says she is FREE of STOMACH
GAS and she says the change is due
to taking ERB-HELP. Her meals
agree with her. No gas or bloat
after eating. Headaches and consti
pation are gone. “Oh! what re
lief!” states this lady. “Why don't
other gas and constipation sufferers
get ERB-HELP?"
ERB-HELP contains 12 Great
Herbs they cleanse bowels, clear
gas from stomach, act on sluggish
liver and kidneys. Miserable people
soon feel different all over. So
don’t go on suffering! Get ERB
HELP. Hauenstein’s Drug Store.
Fresh Drugs
Quality Drug Store
of All Kinds
Prescriptions Care
fully Compounded
Sidney's Drug Shop
Phone 170-W
his jungie naniniuv*. ucinccu «uu«
Back in 1941, during maneuvers in
Louisiana, some troops, conscious of
insects and snakes, used their shelt
er halves as hammocks. Now the
Army issues jungle hammocks, com
plete with mosquito bars.
Along about 7 P. M., any day, a
soldier is pretty apt to crawl into
his hammock if he has no particular
duties. He settles down as comfort
ably as possible and maybe begins
to wonder how the wife and young
sters are getting along, if he has
them, or his sweetheart, or the girl
next door at home, or about that
last furlough he had.
Air Raid Warning
Likely as not, it begins to rain
and his wonderings turn to his fox
hole and how much water there’s go
ing to be in it. Then about this
time, to add to his troubles, there is
an ear-splitting wail from the warn
ing siren. The reaction is apt to be
tenseness and a wild hope that it is
a fhlse alarm, with practically a
simultaneous realization that there
are no false alarms on Bougainx ille.
So the soldier opens the zipper of
his moquito netting, hunts for his
shoes and runs and slides into the
foxhole which, unhappily, is about
half full of water by this time.
About now “Washing Machine
Charley” drones over on one of his
frequent nightly visits. “Charley” is
a Japanese two-engined bomber so
named from the fact that its motors
seem to run more slowly than the
American variety. Anyhow, it
makes its dummy run, circles back,
and the bombs begin to drop. Be
fore a bomb is released a peculiar
noise like three clicks is heard,
and the missle is on its way. The
explosion sounds like it does in the
movies, say the soldiers but it is
much closer, and the ground shakes
for several thousand yards around
the point of impact. Then the frag
ments whistle through the trees.
Wet from the water in his fox
hole, the soldier crawls back into his
hammock. Commonly, there aren
any very picturesque remarks. Prob
ably, the conversation will consist of
such observations as: “1 wonder
where they dropped,” “Did you hear
the antiaircraft give 'em hell?,”
“Did we have any night fighters
up?” and “I didn’t hear any clicks.”
Count Bombs Dropped
Another interesting speculation
concerns the probable number of
bombers up there. It's guesswork,
of course, since they cannot be seen
at night. A further diversion is
counting the number of bombs drop
ped. There are those who are cer
tain they counted each and every
one of them, but usually it is a con
fusing game.
Of course, the early bombing is
ordinarily only the first of a nightly
series. Maybe there will be another
around midnight, and :iga: i after
another couple of hours sleep and so
I on during the darkness. The same
process must be gone through each
Naturally, there are other perils.
Japanese like to infiltrate back into
1 the American lines. Depending up
on how close to the Japanese the
American soldier is, he sticks to his
foxhole or sleeps in his hammock.
In foxholes, snoring isn’t safe. It
is too good a direction finder for
Japanese on the prowl for sleeping
victims. A snorer is speedily awak
ened. Alertness is necessary to con
tinued living.
But soldiers can grin at them
selves when alarms have turned out
to be merely night sounds which
fooled them. Staff Sergeant James
G. Smith herein describes what hap
pened to him, Captain Reginald S.
Jackson of Kenton, and Master Ser
geant Henry Brandt of Lakewood,
as follows:
“Just as we were dozing off, r.
rattle in the underbrush aloi the
trail startled us into wakefulness. I
whispered across the intervening
darkness to the captain, “Did you
hear anything?’
“The captain replied that he, too,
had heard the sound, and Brandt
announced from his hammock that
he had aUo. All of us crept from
our hammocks and got as close to
the ground as possible. Arming our
selves, we crawled out into the trail
and listened intently for a repeti
tion of the noise. It came again—a
stealthy rustling in the underbrush
off to our left. Moving forward, I
bumped into a figure crouched in the
‘It’s me,’ whispered Brandt, and
I sat back on my haunches and
strained my eyes peering into the
darkness. There we sat, the three
of us, in the middle of a jungle trail
on Bougainville, searching for we
knew not what. Testing the old
proverb, I placed my hand in front
of my face. I couldn’t see it. We
sat quietly for five or ten minutes,
but the noisemaker wouldn’t do his
“Finally I rose to my feet. ‘To
hell with him,’ 1 said. ‘As dark as
it is, he’s having just as much
trouble finding us as we are finding
him. I’m going back to bed.’
False Alarm
“Which we did—and slept peace
fully until morning. This morning we
decided the noise must have been a
monkey or a wombat (an oppossum
like creature) crawling through the
brush. But we grinned a little
sheepishly as we thought of our
selves crouched on the jungle trail,
for all the world like the three
monkeys of ‘hear-no-evil, see-no-evil,
speak-no-evil’ fame.”
But night on Bougainville is no
fun. Let Captain Jackson tell about
this command post. The night pre
vious, one of the kitchen personnel
reported discovery of a lone Jap in
the act of plunging a knife into a
soldier sleeping in a hammock.
“An Army cook said he was awak
ened by a rustling noise. He slith
ered around in his jungle hammock
and saw a shadowy figure wearing a
close fitting hat and with a square
pack and rifle hung on his back.
Silently the figure raised his right
arm and the cook saw what ap
peared to be a knife held in the
Jap Flees
“Fearing to hit one of the two
men who were sleeping in front of
the Jap, the cook yelled, ‘Stand still,
you I’ve got you covered.’ He
pushed his rifle through the mos
quito netting. The figure froze for
a moment, and then crashed off
through the jungle.
“The word was passed around the
command post, and all troops were
advised to keep their weapons, in
cluding their knives, close by and
to maintain silence after dark.
There wasn’t much sleep in the fox
holes that night.
“Every land crab’s or other jun
gle creature’s movements—even the
water which drips interminably
from the foliage—sounded like a
Jap stealing through the under
growth. Those who had positions on
the trails were particularly jittery
because the Jap after dark follows
trails to minimize the noise of his
advance. Those who slept fitfully
awoke suddenly many times, visual
izing a Jap poised a couple of feet
away, ready to stick his knife into
their bofp.es.
“Everyone wished fervently that
‘Washing Machine Charley’ would
appear fAr his nightly bombing to
break the electric atmosphere. But
this time he was late. He came in
at 4 A. M. Still, it was a relief.
The penetrating Jap has been for
gotten, and some doubt that an
enemy soldier did get into the head
quarters. But the cook swears he
Troops Up Early
“Charley’s” last nightly visitation
usually finds it too late for the sol
diers to get back to sleep. So they
shave, if they have the water, and
then have breakfast. No one seems
to be scared, comes the report, even
though the Ixmbs and the strafing
of the fr nt line American troops
do wound and kill aw fi,l i^rs.
But the troops ere too rusy with
their combat duties and the multi
tude of other duties necessary to
war on the Jap. Men in the anti
aircra ft batteries arc? kept busy as
the Ju flags pamte?d on Ine gun
barrels indiv.ite. 1•or ft ch flag
means an enemy !..m eptroyed.
Even a few of the 2'2 ton trucks,
which are armed with .50 caliber
antiaircraft guns, have Jap flags
painted on their hoods. Just about
everybody shouts at the enemy.
Everyone works. Especially the
versatile combat engineers. Start
ing from scratch in apparently im
penetrable, marsh land, they’ve
carved out, for example, a perman
ent highway which will accommodate
six lanes 'f traffic.
Good Roads
Much cf th* success of the Army
in jungle fighting in the Solomons
has been attributed tc the fact that
the Engineers hi »e built pood roads
right up to the co.-nuind ports, gen
erally •ocated jusc to the rear of
the front lines. Staff officers, vet
erans of campaigns in the Solomons,
say that this method of supply has
given ire Americans a tremendous
advantage over the Japanese because
the enemv has no means or appar
ently lacks the ingenuity to solve
the problem of getting food, am
munition and water to their fight
ing men. The roads also have meant
quick evacuation of the wounded to
the rear for treatment. This factor
has saved many lives.
Landing with the first wave of
Army troops at Bougainville, the
Engineers came equipped, ready for
anything. They brought bull dozers,
graders, drag lines, power shovels,
pile drivers, air compressors, and
carryall scrapers, in addition to the
thousands of shovels, picks, axes
and saw?. And they found plenty
of ways to use them.
Supply roads, hewed through the
jungle, reduced to a matter of hours
the time necessary to get supplies
from the beaches to the front lines.
And there were bridges to be built,
ground to be cleared for ammuni
tion d'”r.Ds and supplies, arrange
ments for the purifying of water
and many ether jobs to be done.
Water Purified
Often, for instance, the engineers
have plugged into what looked like
mudholes and out came water which,
I when purified, was safe for humans
to drink. A division Engineer unit
has three water purifiers with can
vas tanks holding 3,000 gallons each.
Water is pumped through several
inches of sand and treated with a
chlorine solution to make it potable.
Ingenuity is a characteristic of
the Engineers. In jungle country
they sometimes can get gravel for
roadbuilding from the beds of
streams. Sometimes they must make
corduroy lanes of logs laid side by
side and tied together. Cutting of
the necessary timber is a big job,
but the Engineers get it done.
The enemy, of course, does not
permit them to go peaceably about
their tasks. It has often become
necessary to take time out to dis
pose of Jap snipers. They can do
that, too, just as efficiently as they
Drop Army Formalities
Adaptability is a characteristic
not only of the Engineers, but of
all the troops. Methods are adapted
to the needs of the moment. The
formalities of military life, for in
stance, disappear in jungle fighting.
A buck private may be heard ad
dressing his commanding officer as
Charlie, Rob or some other familiar
name. The officers get code names
or nicknames. It would be safe to
say “Sir” or “Colonel” where the
enemy could hear it. The Japanese
have proved themselves uncannily
adept at picking out officers and
non-commissioned officers.
The enemy listens carefully. On
one occasion snipers were within a
few hundred yards of a regimental
supply dump. All day long, the
field telephone set had rung, most
of the calls being for “Hipp,” the
name given to a major who was
supply officer. During the night
the Japs would call out, “Hipp,
you’re wanted on the telephone.”
That continued until some of the
truck drivers broke up the conver
sation with their automatic rifles.
Officers Discard Insignia
No officer wears insignia, since it
would make him a fine target for
sniper’s rifles. One day a private
was having a tough time driving his
truck through a swamp. Along came
another jeep in w
brigadier general,
no insignia to inc
“Get the hell oil
me get by,” yelled
got front line sup.
Without a mu
expression, the
driver to pull 1
road so that the
When the ti
areas, this infori
revert to the ti
honored courtesi
tlie Army.
Officers Dig
Rut while the
officers have to
Each carries an
Rich was riding a
although he wore
icate any rank.
this road and let
the private. “I’ve
nur or change of
leral motioned his
e vehicle off the
supplies could get
ps leave combat
ility ceases. They
ditional and time
and customs of
nvx Foxholes
fighting is on, the
have foxholes, too.
entrenching shovel
just like anv private and they dig
their own. Officers’ bed rolls and
foot lockers are non-existent in
jungle warfare. Officers carry
water-proof jungle packs like the
enlisted men. And they carry car
bines or rifles, for they are better
than pistols when an enemy sniper
is at work 300 to 500 yards away.
Regardless of rank, American sol
diers year the jungle green denims
which come in one and two piece
suits. Leggings aren’t often worn.
They’re too hot in the jungles. Sol
diers have adopted the custom of
tying their trouser leg bottoms
around the tops of their shoes be
cause of the wet and inevitable mud.
Equipment has been designed to
fit jungle warfare. Brightly polished
metal canteens and canteen cups,
which glistened in the sun, have
been replaced by black plastic ones,
lighter in weight.
Yanks Hunt Souvenirs
American soldiers on Bougain
ville, as elsewhere, are inveterate
souvenir hunters. There’s the mat
ter of Jap flags. Each enemy sol
dier seems to possess one, presented
to him when relatives and friends
hold a banquet for him just before
he goes into military service. Amer
ican soldiers are collecting these
flags rapidly. But Americans don’t
collect abandoned Japanese food.
They bury it, sometimes along with
tbe individual who had hoped to
eat it.
Living on Bougainville is tough.
But there are moments, as when on
rainy Thanksgiving Day, 25 days
after they landed, their regular ra
tions were supplemented with the
kind of dinner they’d had at home.
The menu—roast young turkey,
cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes,
giblet gravy, creamed cauliflower,
chilled pears, hot rolls, fresh but
ter, coffee, cream, sugar, candy.
“Brother,” says one of the sold
iers, “when you get a meal like
that on Bougainville, you’re really
accomplishing a miracle.
Keep Up Morale
When the going gets tough in
modern warfare, the U. S. Army al
ways seems to pull one of those
minor miracles out of the hat. They
don’t mean much as far as actual
gains on the battle front go, but
for keeping the morale of the men
in tip-top shape and for insuring
that vital spirit de corps when the
big push starts, they can’t be beat.
There are other moments. Some
times there’s a chance to take a
bath in a mountain stream, to wash
clothing or to catch up on letter
“And so,” writes Sergeant Smith,
“life goes on in the jungle. It’s a
dreary one at best, full of incon
veniences, scares and tension. But
somehow you know* everything is all
right when you hear healthy Amer
ican voices singing in the short
tropical twilights. They sing the
old barber shop favorites—“Down
by the Old Mill Stream,” “Let Me
Call You Sweetheart,” “Moonlight
and Roses.” They sing them in bad
harmony perhaps, but the spirit is
there. And with that spirit, there’s
no doubt of the outcome.”
The annual meeting of the Ohio
State Horticultural Society will be
held at the Hotel Carter, Cleveland,
Jan. 26-27. F. H. Beach, secretary,
says the business meeting is at 4:00
p. m., Jan. 26 and the annual ban
quet is that evening. University Ex
periment Station, government de
partments, and noted orchardists will
furnish the men on the speakers’ list.
Farm Bureau council No. 4 met in
the home of Mr. and Mrs. Walter
Cupp last Tuesday evening for the
December program.
Miss Madeline Bixel returned to
her school duties in Rittman, Sunday
after spending a two weeks vacation
with her sister, Mrs. F. C. Marshall
and other relatives.
Mrs. D. C. Campbell was on the
sick list with the flu the past week.
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Cupp, son
Richard and daughter Margery and
Mr. and Mrs. Orlo Marshall were
Friday evening dinner guests of Mr.
and Mrs. J. O. Cupp and daughter
Mrs. W. E. Marshall who has been
a patient in St. Ritas hospital in
Lima the past two weeks with a
back injury, was brought home Sun
day afternoon where she continues to
Mrs. William Risser of New Lon
don, mother of Mrs. Walter Cupp, is
a surgical patient in Memorial hospi
tal in Lima, where she is getting
along nicely.
Mr. and Mrs. Glen Mayberry and
Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Cupp and dau
ghter Edythe attended the annual
banquet and business meeting of the
Midwest Electric Inc. held in St.
Marys last Thursday evening. Mr.
Cupp was elected to fill the un
expired term of an Elida man on the
Board of Directors and Mr. Mayberry
was made a member of the nomina
ting committee for the coming year.
Lieut, and Mrs. Delmar Reagan
have returned to their home in Day
ton after spending several days in
the D. C. Campbell home.
Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Marshall and
son Don, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Mar
shall and son Robert. Dr. and Mrs.
M. R. Bixel and Miss Madeline Bixel
and Mr. and Mrs. Orlo Marshall
were entertained at a watch party
in the home of Mr. and Mrs. M. C.
Geiger in Bluffton last Friday night.
The annual business meeting and
January program of the Presbyterian
missionary society will be held in the
home of Mrs. William Reichenbach,
Wednesday of next week with a
covered dish dinner at the noon hour.
The business session will start at
10:30 with Mrs. F. C. Marshall,
presiding. The following program
will be given in the afternoon. Wor-
Topic “We who are America” Mrs.
W. E. Marshall Year Book of Pray
er, MiAs Elnora Marshall.
The Light Bearers will hold their
January meeting Saturday afternoon
with Loren Guy Huber.
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Cahill of Bluff
ton were Tuesday evening guests of
Mr. and Mrs. Orlo Marshall and
Mrs. M. C. Geiger of Bluffton was a
Wednesday afternoon guest.
Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Marshall and
son Robert and Miss Madeline Bixel
took dinner Saturday evening in the
home of Dr. and Mrs. M. R. Bixel
and family in Bluffton.
Mrs. Diana Freet Dies
Mrs. Diana Freet, 80, wife of
Benjamin Freet, died at her home
near here at 6 o’clock Thursday even
ing following an illness of eleven
She was the daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. John Miller and was born in
Allen Co., June 13, 1863.
She is survived by her husband,
two sons, Ernest of this place and
Paul of Pagoda, Colo., and a daugh
ter Mrs. Gladys Lackey of Toledo.
There are also seven grandchildren
and four great grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Satur
day afternoon in the Hartman funer
al home in Columbus Grove with
Rev. Chiles of the Columbus Grove
Methodist church officiating. Inter
ment in Rockport cemetery.
Paul Freet of Colorado and Mr.
and Mrs. Harry Freet of St. Mary’s
were among those from a distance
attending the funeral service.
Pleasant Hill
Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Braun and
family spent Sunday afternoon with
Mr. and Mrs. Arden Baker and son
of Bluffton.
Last week callers at the Norval
Scoles home were Mr. and Mrs. Wm.
Fox of Bluffton and Mr. and Mrs.
Clate Scoles.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Althauser spent
Sunday afternoon with Mr. and Mrs.
Lewis Burkholder and family of Bluff
Mr. and Mrs. Homer Lung and dau
ghter were callers of Mr. and Mrs.
O. L. Stratton, Sunday evening.
Lucy Jane Winegardner spent the
week end with Sondra Sue Huber.
Don't forgot Your
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4-r. nnnoov qo one 1 vr
family, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Bell and
family wer Frida yevning dinner
guess of Mr. and Mrs. O. L. Stratton.
Mary Nell and Gillie Hess of Find
lay spent the Christmas vacation with
their grandmother, Mrs. Lillie Fett.
Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hauenstein
spent Sunday afternoon with Mr. and
Mrs. Winston Jennings and son.
Marilyn Stratton and Marian Rae
Bell were week end guests of their
grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. O. L.
Mr. and Mrs. Winston Jennings and
son spent New Years day with Mr.
and Mrs. Ray Watt and family of
Mr. and Mrs. Joy Huber called on
Mr. and Mrs. David Molman, Satur
day evening.
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Phillips spent
Sunday afternoon with Mr. and Mrs.
Harold Younkman and sons of near
Mr. and Mrs. Willard Jennings and
son Rodney spent Sunday afternoon
with Mr. and Mrs. Berdell Huber and
Earl Younkman called at the Guy
Younkman and Arthur Phillips homes
Sunday evening.
Less Than Dozen Get
Lodgings Here In Jail
Less than a dozen transients
asked for overnight lodging in the
Bluffton jail during 1943, another
sign of the effect that the war has
had on what once was a sizeable
floating population moving thru
In 1941, for example, overnight
lodgings in the jail were enjoyed by
614 persons, and during the pre
ceding year more than 800 were ac
With employment available to
anyone who wants it, there no long
er are penniless men tramping the
country in search of jobs, and to»vn
officials further cut into the over
night clientele by notifying the “reg
ulars” that they could no longer
stay in the jail here.
Marshal Lee Coon said those real
ly in need are cared for, but those
definitely in the clss of “bums” can
no longer expect to stay hero over

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