Seventy-Five Years Ago

Thursday, September 13, 1945
 
Our Army and Navy Boys

On the USS Shangri-La in Tokyo Bay – Ray Madrid Irvine, seaman second class, Marlinton; William R. Go-wan, seaman 1st class, Raymond V. Geiger, aviation metal smith, Buckeye; Ellis Daniel Nottingham, Durbin; serving on this aircraft carrier, which is part of the powerful Pacific Fleet, are completing the first stages of the occupation of Japan. Under the operational control of Admiral William F. Halsey, USN, the Shangri-La, with sixteen other carriers, 12 battleships, 20 cruisers and more than 200 other U. S. ships, is helping take over control of the big Japanese naval bases.

The Shangri-La had a prominent role in the air strikes against the Japanese homeland just prior to the surrender.

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B. E. Smith has received a wire from his son, Burton, Jr., stating the young soldier has arrived in America after long service in Europe.

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Corporal Wm. H. Biggs, of the Air Service 489th bombers, is home on furlough after 18 months in England. Along with his ribbons, tags and other things, the Corporal has a United States bronze one cent piece, with flying eagle, dated 1857. This coin was given to him by an English friend.

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Sergeant Cecil Anderson is home on furlough with his father, Harper Anderson. He is just back from two years on the European fronts. While in England, he met his fortune and married the lady. Mrs. Anderson will come to America a little later.

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PFC. Thomas C. Brown has returned to Camp Crowder, Mo., after spending a 30-day furlough with his sisters, of Marlinton, Droop and Renick. Pfc. Brown served 2 1/2 years overseas with the Sig. Bn.

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Jimmy Lightner writes in from the Islands of Japan to his home people that he is set up with reading matter as ten weeks’ issues of The Pocahontas Times caught up with him all in one mail call.

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Technical Sergeant Clyde Wooddell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Forrest Wooddell, of Greenbank, is home from the Army with an honorable discharge. He served three years and four months in the Air Corps. The past two years he has served in the Pacific area.

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Miami, Florida – Flown here from overseas as part of the “Green Project,” which calls for the Air Transport Command Carribean Division to fly 30,0000 returnees from Europe to Miami Army Air field each month, another Pocahontas man is back in the states. He is Sergeant Conell E. Matheny, of Greenbank, West Virginia, who returned from France. He served with the 2756 Engineer Combat Battalion for 37 months and wears 6 battle stars.

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Sergeant Ralph Long, who has spent many months in combat in Italy, has arrived at Fort Meade, Maryland, and is awaiting orders for a furlough home. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Long, of Marlinton. His brother, Ernest, is home from the Pacific area with an honorable discharge.

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Lieutenant John Ellis Beale is home on furlough with his parents, Squire and Mrs. C. C. Beale. The Lieutenant is a glider pilot in the Air Service and saw service in Belgium, France and Germany. He expects to have his discharge papers soon.

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Colonel John McNeel, of the Medical Corps, has spent a couple of weeks with his father, J. Lanty McNeel, of Millpoint.

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Everette and Ralph Nottingham, of the Navy, are home on leave with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Nottingham. 

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From Berlin, Germany, Corporal Elton O. Wade, of the Second Armored Division, sends the following newspaper clipping describing his Division’s entrance into the fallen capital of the late German Empire. For two and a half years, Elton has been with this Division. He served with it in North Africa, Sicily, England and up to Berlin. Elton expressed the hope that he would be back home before a great while.

BERLIN, July 3 – The U. S. Second Armored Division entered the silent streets of Berlin tonight.

In from the west, down Potsdommer Strasse to Berliner Strasse and through the once fashionable suburban area, the tanks rumbled through the stillness. Only a handful of advance troops and a few Soviet sentries were on the wet and lonely streets to watch the “triumphal” entry of American armed might.

From the broken houses, an occasional German peer-ed out to see who might this new conqueror be and stayed to stare as the powerful column rolled slowly by – tank, half track and truck motors droning through the dusk.

The colors, unfurled a few kilometers from Berlin were sheaved again at sundown, before the first tanks reached the city.

Behind the first tank, a Sherman commanded by Sgt. William Maki, of Detroit, and behind the first company – the 67th Armored Regiment – stretched a 200 mile column, slowly uncoiling west of the Elbe and winding toward the fallen German Capital.

Today was something the Second Armored Division had never known before. The Second Army was moving in with the rear echelon of victory – it was entering a town someone else had taken.

It was strange, too, to watch the horse and wagon troops of the Red Army pass the powerful tanks and plentiful trucks of the Second armored. The friendly grimy Russians heading west were a sharp contrast against the well-uniformed takers in their modern, menacing looking equipment…

It seemed unnatural to ride in the column and not worry when you reached a town or a wood, not to stop and wait for the doughs of the 41st Armed Inf. to get off the tanks, clean out resistance, and then wearily mount up again. There were no road blocks, no mines, no SSs.

The whole population was on the roadside waiting as though this were a column of liberators and not conquerors. That, too, did not seem real.

“Hell on Wheels” moved into Berlin today, but something that should have seemed fitting and appropriate somehow was a little off key.

Maybe it was because 3,000 of the guys who should have been in on this had gone home. Maybe it was because they did not take Berlin themselves. Maybe it was because this stuff no longer meant as much.

Or maybe the only place these tired tankers wanted to make a triumphal entry was back to their own home towns.

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