Yanks at Home and Abroad - 27 April 1945
Birthday History. With the Fifth Army, Italy—You can write the combat history of the 34th Division from the last three birthdays of Cpl. Francis Thornton, who formerly lived on a farm at Churdan, Iowa, and is now with the 34th’s 185th Field Artillery Battalion.
Three years ago he celebrated his birthday in action at Sbeiba' in North Africa. The next year he celebrated on the outskirts of Monte Cassino. This year he had a gay time on the outskirts of the Po Valley.
He can hardly wait for thd next one.
-Cpl. NATHAN S. LEVY YANK Fiold Correspondent
OVERSEAS PLATE. Pvt. Edward Keiper, with the Fifteenth Air Force, had forgotten about renewing his California auto license, but the license bureau in his home town of Santa Barbara remembered and sent it to him in Italy. He tried the plate on a jeep before sending it back home to his wife.
Seven-Tongued Private. Puerto Rico—GIs have to watch their language around one of the MPs here. He is Pvt. Ricardo Pinkus, who can understand insults in seven languages.
Pinkus, otherwise known as “The League of Nations,” was born in Germany of Russian parents. He is a citizen of Colombia, but his last place of residence was in Aruba, a Dutch possession. He went to school in Belgium and Central America, and in 1944 came to Puerto Rico to enlist in the American Army.
His seven languages are English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Hebrew and Papiamentu. This last is a jargon spoken by the Negroes of Curacao, with a vocabulary of mixed Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Carib and native African. _s9, DON COOKE
YANK Staff Correspondent
Nomenclature, Overseas Bar. France—They have finally found a name here for the overseas bar that signifies six months' service outside the States. It's called the "Hershey Bar," but it has nothing to do with chocolate. The boys are just showing their appreciation of Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Selective Service director, who has made it possible for them to see all these wonderful sights. -YANK Staff Correspondent
When MP Meets MP. Luzon, the Philippines—This happened on Highway 3, north of Manila. A jeep with “military police” in big white letters on the windshield was batting down the road, driven by an MP lieutenant who was making up for too long on New Guinea’s potholes.
Suddenly another jeepful of MPs pulled up alongside and waved him to the curb. “Afraid I’ve got to give you a ticket, sir,” said one of the MPs. “Speed limit’s 25 and you were going 50.”
The lieutenant was outraged. He pointed out that he was supposed to be on the giving, not the receiving end. Nothing did any good. In five minutes he was holding a speeding ticket and the carful of MPs was on its way.
The lieutenant got back in his jeep and thought for a while. Then he started after an hour.
Loss in Action the other jeep. When it came within' sight, he trailed it for a while at a legal 25 miles per. Then, on a down-grade, he pulled alongside and waved it to the shoulder.
“Sorry, boys,” he said. “Sorry as hell, but I’ve got to give you a ticket. You were doing 26 miles
—YANK Staff CorrMpondant
Pardon My Star. Iran—Things are coming to a pretty pass when a general writes a letter to his enlisted men, thanking them for getting him a promotion, but that’s what Brig. Gen. Frank S. Besson Jr. did. Gen. Besson commands the 3d Military Railway Service and his recent promotion to one star made' him at 34 the youngest general in the Ground or Service Forces. It also made him so happy that he sat right down and wrote:
“Many of you men, stymied by the lack of T/O vacancies, are doing work which calls for a higher grade. It is paradoxical that your outstanding, successful performance has resulted in rewarding —not yourselves—but me.
“I have no illusions about who has earned the promotion I have received. While I appreciate the fact that I owe my promotion to the work of you men in the railway service, I am nevertheless mighty happy to be a brigadier general—and I thank you all sincerely for the honor you have bestowed upon me.”
The Old Army was never like this.
—YANK Staff Correspondent
Manila—Talk of the horrors of war! Sgt. Kirby Castlebury of Bakersfield, Calif., a platoon sergeant with the 129th Infantry on Luzon, can tell you one of the grimmer ones from personal experience.
The sergeant was going through the most rugged part of the Ermita fighting here when he stumbled happily over nine full bottles of pre- World War II Scotch whisky. Before he could do much more than fondle the labels, however, his platoon was ordered to move out under fire. In desperation, Castlebury hurriedly dug a cache for his Scotch and covered it over with earth.
In a house-to-house fight later in the same day, a splatter of flying plaster skinned his ribs and he was evacuated. The medical powers that be kept Castlebury in the evacuation hospital for a full 48 hours Then he got out, went over the fence and worried his way back to the scene of his earlier adventures and his buried treasure.
All he found was a gaping, empty shell hole.
—YANK Staff Corraipondant
Three Campaigns as 4-F. Dutch New Guinea—After 32 months overseas with the Red Raiders heavy-bomb group, Sgt. Ed Hoffman of Long Valley, N. J., is going home—the only man in this Air Force to go through three campaigns with a 4-F draft card in his pocket.
Classified 4-F because of a weak heart, Hoffman convinced an examining board that he was fit for the Air Force because “they don’t do much walking.” He has since walked all over Australia and New Guinea and describes himself as “the world’s champion jerk.” _cp|. DONN MUNSON
YANK Held Correspondent
Buxted Typewroterz. Luzon, the Philippines—When all is said and i done, the forgotten hero of this war is probably the unrated soldier who keeps the typewriters running. Even the Engineers and Ordnance people who keep everything else running get a certain amount of acclaim for their efforts. The man who repairs busted typewriters doesn’t get a thing except more busted typewriters.
If there were no cannons, rifles, .vehicles or airplanes the war would still be won. Someone sitting behind a mahogany desk in Washington would simply say, “Give the Infantry broomsticks and tell them to go and beat the enemy’s brains out.” But if all the typewriters were to fail at once we’d be all washed up.
Take the case of Pfc. Salvatore Vacirca of Lawrence, Mass. Vacirca is technically an amphibian engineer, but he formerly worked for Underwood and later had an agency for Royal and L. C. Smith, the typewriter people.
Vacirca was called in when a typewriter just up and conked out here right in the middle of an order, which was probably prohibiting something or other. He looked the machine over and saw that the drawband had broken. The drawband operates from the mainspring which operates the carriage. A typewriter without a drawband is as helpless as an Army without a typewriter.
Vacirca thought quickly. He knew there would not be any typewriter drawbands among the replacement equipment for landing barges. He knew also that in this critical moment he could not fail. Instantly he made his decision. He went to the medics and got some of the gut used by surgeons to sew people up. It was thin but tough. It fitted perfectly.
In five minutes the typewriter was functioning smoothly. Vacirca relaxed. The tense faces around him relaxed. The day had been saved. Once again the Army could move forward.
-Sgt. CHARLES D. PEARSON YANK Staff Correspondent
Glider Ambulance. Germany—The Army’s first glider-ambulance' service began at the Remagen bridgehead, when a transport plane picked up a motorless glider with 12 wounded soldiers and set them down again nine minutes later at the entrance to an evac hospital 50 miles behind the lines.
Ten of the patients were Americans. The other two were Germans. One of the GIs was nailed by a Kraut bullet at 0800 and was at the hospital for lunch.
The Army says it’s the beginning of “a new and important phase of medical history.”
—YANK Staff Correspondent
SUPERFORT MODEL. Sgt. John Ramirez of Oklahoma City, Okla., has a special assignment, which is to paint insignia on B-29s at the XX Bomber Command's Air Depot in India. The pretty insignia he is painting here is Jane Brandow of a USO show, which stopped by while touring India and Burma.