Alfred D. Haugen

"Came Through Like Bunch of Drunken Indians on Warpath" 
Eau Claire Boy Writes of Big Nazi Smash
"Of course you have heard the news, of which we are not too proud. They came through like a bunch of drunken Indians on the warpath."

This is the expressive manner in which Corporal Alfred D. Haugen, U.S. Army Medical Corps, Headquarters Company Medical Detachment, refers to the German break-through in the current offensive in Belgium, in a letter just received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred (Alf) Haugen, 920 Summer Street.

Corporal Haugen is with the First Army in Belgium and the letter was written from "somewhere in Belgium" on Christmas Eve, several days after the first impact of General von Rundstedt's big smash. He mentions that he and the other members of his detachment, seven in all, had dinner that day with some nuns and that they had an "invite" to have dinner again with them Christmas Day, "a great treat for us."

Of the epochal struggle now going on in Belgium, as he saw  it then, he continues in his letter: "This is shaping into a big battle, maybe the biggest of this or any other war.  * * *  There is a tremendous force on both sides lined up in this area."

Corporal Haugen has been in the service since April 9, 1941. Before the invasion of Normandy, he was stationed in England for some time, and he landed in Normandy a few days after D-Day and has been with the invasion forces ever since.

He has a brother in the service—Petty Officer Third Class, U. S. Navy, still attending a school in this country. He entered the service early in 1944.

The text of his letter follows:

"Christmas Eve, Somewhere in Belgium
"Dear Mother, Dad, and All:

"I am just writing a few lines to let you know I am okay. Of course, you have heard the news, of which we are not too proud. They came through like a bunch of drunken Indians on the warpath.

"This has been, and will be, a decisive struggle and may prove very telling on the enemy. We will straighten the whole affair up shortly.

"I got a fine souvenir off a German flier yesterday. He was shot down and also badly shot up. I speak a little French and he understood a little also. I got his leather flying suit and also a compass. I am sending them home.

"I don't know why I did it, because they aren't showing our boys mercy, but I put a tourniquet on his leg. He would have bled to death otherwise. He is liable to be more valuable to our intelligence alive than dead. I had quite a fight with myself to do what I did. My first impulse was anger.

"This is shaping up into a big battle, maybe the biggest of this, or any other, war. I have been thinking, could this be the big battle the Bible speaks of? There is tremendous force on both sides, lined up in this area.

"Tonight is Christmas Eve. I wonder, will we be together next year? It is my prayer that we will be at our home before that time.

"I had dinner today with some nuns. I told about our setup being in a building where there was a school. If we are here tomorrow, we have another 'invite' to eat here. It is a great treat for us, six men and one officer.

"I must close for now, but I will write again real soon. In closing, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

"P.S. I will write more as time permits. Don't forget us in your prayers.

"Your son and brother, AL"


Word of the death of Private Paul P. Thomly, who lived in Eau Claire for some years, in Belgium has been received by friends here. 

Member of a Norwegian-speaking battalion, he was killed in action in Belgium on September 18, last, according to word received here. 

He went overseas from this country in January 1944 and was stationed in England before going across the channel with the invasion forces. 

While in Eau Claire, he worked for some time with L.G. Arnold, Inc., and lived, for a time, with Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Haugen, 927 Summer Street, and later with Mr. and Mrs. Julius Stai. 

Corporal Alfred D. Haugen, with the Medical Corps with the invasion forces, in one of his letters, told his parents he knew where Thomly was buried and planned to visit his grave.

Private Thomly was born in Kolbu, Totan, Norway and came here eleven years ago. He visited his native land in 1937, visiting his mother, two brothers, and a sister, who then lived there.