Howard M. Gilbertson

'Hot,' Sergeant Says of Invasion of Leyte Island
WITH THE 24TH INFANTRY (VICTORY) DIVISION IN THE PHILIPPINES—Sergeant Howard M. Gilbertson of Eau Claire is not strictly a combat soldier, but he would have traded his job in a signal unit of the 24th Division for a rifle and deep front line foxhole on numerous occasions in the invasion of Leyte Island.

As sergeant in a wire section, Gilbertson worked along the front lines in the thick of battle much of the time, stringing telephone wires from a central control point to the combat units.

"Things were hot from the start," he said. "Coming ashore, our landing craft was the target for artillery shells, which landed all around us. On the beach, we met mortar and machine gun fire. It was the same a few hundred feet inland, except that sniper fire was added. In the dime-sized beachhead, we met most of the hot stuff.

"After that, it was snipers. They shot at us as we strung wire at the front, along the roads, and in the woods. The coconut trees seemed to have more snipers in them than there were Japs on the ground.

"Most of our work was in exposed positions. We expected, at any time, to climb a tree to string wire and find ourselves alongside one of the snipers.

"The bivouac area was hot with sniper fire also but, there, we had foxholes to dive into when bullets started coming too close. Those Japs shot at you while you were eating, washing, shaving, and dressing. Luckily, their aim was bad, for they never seemed to hit anyone. On the road, however, they made a portable foxhole a highly desirable thing for, there, our only protection was a tree or a ditch along the road.

Gilbertson is the son of Mrs. George Gilbertson of 515 Forest Street, Eau Claire.

Roger Gilbertson Home on Furlough
Corporal Roger A. Gilbertson, United States Marine Corps, son of Mrs. George Gilbertson, 515 Forest Street, is spending a 30-day delay, en route here. Corporal Gilbertson, who has ended 18 months service in the Southwest Pacific, was connected with a tank battalion. He will report to Newport, RI on September 24.

Entering the service in August 1942, he went overseas in January 1943, after training at Camps Elliott and Pendleton and the San Diego Marine Base in California.

While in the Southwest Pacific area, he met Corporal  Merle "Ace" Gullickson, Corporal Don Stygar, Staff Sergeant Neil Hovind, and Eugene Berg from Eau Claire. Several Marines from this area were in his division.

Corporal Gilbertson has been at Guadalcanal and in New Zealand, among other points in the Southwest Pacific.

His brother, Sergeant Howard Gilbertson, is in the Signal Corps in the Army, somewhere in the Southwest Pacific, and another brother, Private First Class Vernon J. Gilbertson, is with the Air Service Command, stationed at Albuquerque, NM.