(Feb. 11, 1995)
Two local Marine veterans who fought on Iwo Jima shared their stories with The News on the 50th anniversary of the notorious battle.
Robert Glass told of when a Japanese soldier surprised him with a hand grenade to the chest.
“The platoon was moving and I’m out in front, because I’m the platoon leader,” he said. “We came out of the side of a blockhouse … and there’s a Jap buried in an oil drum. When I saw him I was running and he’s right there in front of me. I had my bayonet and I was thinking, ‘I’ve never used my bayonet before.’
“So I’m running toward him and he hit me right in the chest with a grenade. Talk about somebody slidin’ into home…. I slid down onto my back on the ground and the grenade went off between us. I was so scared I put eight rounds into him.”
Herbert Widincamp, who later suffered injuries from a mortar attack, escaped what could have been a fatal encounter early on, after he jumped in a crater.
“I had my helmet pulled over my head and I heard something hit the beach in front of me,” Widincamp said. “I pulled up my helmet and a mortar shell had hit inches from my head. I could see the yellow Japanese writing on it. It was a dud — it didn’t go off. I guess somebody was looking out for me.”
(Feb. 11, 1970)
The editors of The News reflected on steps the United Kingdom took to address that nation’s rampant pollution issues and drew inspiration for what could be done in the United States.
“The fog still rolls in, but it is as free from pollutants as it is probably possible to make the atmosphere over a city the size of London,” they wrote. “The Thames River, so badly polluted it had been without fish for a century, by 1968 saw 40 varieties returned to its waters. These are the most dramatic evidences of the reversal of air and water pollution in Britain, but there are others.
“In exchange, the residents have had to give up some of their customs. Heating and industrial fuels of any kind which produce smoke — including wood and coal — are prohibited. Central authorities are able to enforce their anti-pollution edicts almost without recourse. And the cost to the consumer and the taxpayer is heavy.
“But Britons apparently decided at some point in the recent past they could not live with the filth they had put in their air and water, and they have installed the machinery which can do the cleanup job. That black fog, which had become almost synonymous with their largest city, may have helped convince them the time for serious action was at hand.”
(Feb. 9-15, 1945)
The battle for Iwo Jima was not making news when it kicked off — headlines in the paper concentrated on the noose tightening around Nazi Germany. But life went on, absurdities and all, both in America and in the Soviet Union.
According to the Associated Press, “A blushing bride of 26, who went to the altar at least eight times within five years, is under arrest in Eugene, Ore., and has confessed obtaining more than $4,600 in allotment checks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced.
“H.C. Van Pelt, assistant agent in charge of the FBI here, said last night the girl, whom he identified as Vilma Suberly, of Jones Prairie, Texas, has used 27 other names and had been at various times a blonde, titian and brunette during her matrimonial career.”
And out of Moscow, “An 8-year-old boy held for taking four bicycles in five days finally told juvenile officers he wouldn’t ‘borrow’ any more bikes. But his mother called again soon after his release. He had a young colt tied up in the woodshed.”
Meanwhile, The News’ editors observed:
“There may be a third alternative: Work, fight or go to Congress.”
“The Yanks are advancing through Luzon’s rice fields to get their gravy.”
“At least this winter has served as a swell press agent for the coming summer.”
“Green is the most soothing color, says a doctor. Especially when there is a one, or a five on a ten on it.”
“A jungle GI sizes up Sinatra: ‘If gals back home like guys with that lean, hungry look — just wait ’til we get home.’”