|CusterMen MENU:||Italian Campaign||At The Front||Books||Armies||Maps||85th Division||GI Biographies||Websites|
A newspaper of the
The following is
of the final edition of the The Troooper, a newspaper
was printed on-board a ship that was taking soldiers from Italy,
the Panama Canal with a destination of Manilla in the Pacific
The USS General M.B. Stewart
(AP-140) departed from Leghorn, Italy on August 7, 1945,
3000 US servicemen for the battle against Japan. The troops
consisted of several engineering battalions of the 5th Army, medical
and an air force squadron. The Troooper was
to keep up the morale of the troops. These papers were simple
pages with sketches provided by the editorial staff.
Falling two points short of going home, PFC Warren G. Stichtenoth, Company C, 310th Engineer Battalion, 85th Infantry Division, found himself in Leghorn, Italy, in early August. He boarded the USS General M. B. Stewart (AP-140), which was bound for a destination in the Pacific via the Panama Canal with more than 3000 US Servicemen. Departing from Leghorn on August 7, the ship headed first to Gibraltar and then into the Atlantic Ocean. Word of an “atomic bomb” was heard on-board followed by news that the Russians had joined the war in the Pacific. The vessel and its passengers were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on August 14 when news came of the Japanese surrender. The next day the ship’s captain received new destination orders and set a course to the northwest for New York. The USS General M. B. Stewart, full of happy servicemen, arrived in New York harbor on August 19, 1945--the first troop ship to arrive in New York after the war ended.As Warren Stichtenoth related details of this voyage to his family, he said the troops on board heard that the ship’s captain may have secured the help of a brother in the Pentagon who arranged the change in destination. The majority of the servicemen on-board were part of non-combat units, including the 715th Railway Operations Battalion, the 31st Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Company, the 576th Signal Service Company, and others. As Stichtenoth recalls, the combat veterans had three days to teach the non-combat units how to march and carry a rifle so as to appear like battle-tested troops when they arrived in New York.
The USS General M. B. Stewart, AP-140, arriving in New York.
Return to Main History Menu The Italian Campaign
LEGHORN TO MANILA….NEW YORK:
A HISTORY MAKING TRIP – AUGUST 7-19, 1945
ours offers many interesting contrasts in emotions. Consider how
depressed the great majority of us were when we boarded the old General
Stewart in Leghorn. Even when we sailed from the Italian shores,
there were many of us who felt a twinge of nostalgia for the friends we
left behind, for the places we had lived, for the sights we had become
accustomed to seeing. There was a rumor being passed about
the ship that we were bound for the Philippines. At any rate we
heading for the Pacific area by a direct route with no stops in the
“COMPANIONS IN ARMS”
It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and all kinds of soldiers to make an army. Aboard the General M. B. Stewart, there are the type of troops who do the working and the fighting of a successful army.
The closest type of support work in the Italian campaign was provided by the 182nd and 169th Engineer Battalions. The most direct line of supply, the railroad, was kept running freely by the 715th Railway Operating Battalion. The stuff with which men turn defeat into victory was produced by the 31st Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Company. Communications were direct, and vital parts of the Fifth Army were kept in touch with one another by the 976th Signal Service Company. The wounded were evacuated by the 551st Motor Ambulance Company and treated by the 161st Medical Battalion. The planes that provided the air cover were serviced by the 479th Aviation Squadron.
These organizations aboard are among the ones that make up the backbone of the United States Army. The skill and lessons learned, and experiences endured will well aid in the finding of success in civilian life.
TO THE PASSENGERS
been good shipmates, and it has been a pleasure to have you on board.
CHRONOLOGY OF TRIP
LEGHORN TO NEW YORK
AUGUST 7 to 19, 1945
August 7th – Leghorn, Italy.
Another group of skilled technicians aboard this vessel is the 31st Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Company. This unit of tank fixers and watch repairers were activated at Ft. Benning Georgia, August 1, 1940. They arrived overseas at Oran, Algeria. At that spot they spent some six weeks in the base shops. The rest of the time in North Africa was spent in water-proofing vehicles for the Fifth Army to use in the Italian invasion. The organization was transferred to Naples on October 10, 1943. In Caserta, Naples, Anzio, and Gross____ they put in long hours assembling newly shipped material for front line service. However, their biggest labor was in Florence at the famous Fifth Army “Willow Run” ordinance plant where they performed instrument and automotive operations. In recognition of their fine record of service they were awarded he Fifth Army Service Plaque. Commanding is Capt. William B. McLean of North Carolina. He has 31 months overseas to his credit.
with us are the Headquarters Detachment of the 161st Medical
They formerly were a part of the 16th Medical Regiment that arrived
in England. Afterward, the battalion consisting of a clearing
and three collecting companies served extensively in Africa and
the wounded of the Italian invasion. Their main duties have been
the maintenance of clearing stations and evacuations by motor ambulance
of the wounded of most of the divisions of the Fifth Army.
GIVE ‘EM HELL, MEN!!
the morning of August 19, the troops aboard the U.S.S. General M.B.
will begin to storm the beaches of New York City. The troops will
be led by that indominable beach comber beach master, Major
Successive waves will follow at thirty minute intervals. Upon
the beaches troops will head for previously selected objectives.
Once objectives are secured and troops are consolidated, all men will
further orders before moving forward.
However, you must not be misled by the apparently rosy picture of life in America. Although at first glance there may seem to be some advantages to this sort of life there are nevertheless many disadvantages. For example there are no comfortable eight-holers where a man may pick up choice rumors and the latest magazines. Nor is there any cheerful clinking of mess kits to bring music to your ears as you stand in line with three hundred other jokers waiting the K.P.s to stop eating and start serving. The native Americans do not have a CQ who checks up each night to see that you are comfortably settled in your cozy little bed. Nor do these natives have the bracing rhythm of marching feet and the bark of intelligible commands to bolster their morale. When the natives attend the theater, they must sit through a complete show. There must be no breaks in the show when a man may get to his feet and stretch and sneak a smoke. Although the natives will probably boast of their food do not believe what they say. They eat fresh vegetables and fresh meet and do not have sanitary benefits of eating from cans.
to you will be a few words on the women of this country.
is a group of very young women who have the annoying habit of swooning
and shrieking whenever they hear their leader chanting. This
is called “Frankie” and any gathering of this group which is known as
“Robert Soxers” or more familiarly as the “Bobby Soxers” is to be
inasmuch as males are in danger of their lives. Women of this
speak English fairly well and the great majority will possess no
of Italian. Hence, when you meet one of those female natives, it
is considered good manners to say, “Hi Ya, babe” or “What’s cookin’?”
under no circumstances should such phrases as “Dove casa” or “Quanta
be used inasmuch as they will not only be unknown to most female
but also a few females may recognize them and you might be subject to
by a police official of the American native constabulary, better known
as a “cop”.
John B. Douglas
Moe: I hear
OUR MOTHER’S FAITH
They have prayed for this.
A war has ceased.
- Donald G. Merrill
CHAPLAIN’S CORNER –
OUR CAUSE TO GIVE THANKS
Victory came in
Europe! Peace for those all around us. But war clouds in
Orient were hung on our horizons. Not for a moment could we fully
rejoice. Some of our buddies were screened out and sent home or
of remaining in peace.
** TROOPER STAFF**
At the completion of our voyage, I take this opportunity to thank the Staff of the “Trooper” for the long hours of work voluntarily given, that enabled us to print a daily paper for the information and amusement of all troops and the Navy personnel of board.
The cover page, map and cartoons of this souvenir edition have been drawn by Sgt. Eddie Jazgier.
- THE BIG NIGHT -
It was a dark night, the moon was hidden by heavy clouds, the sea was choppy if you remember, and the ship was rolling…yes, it was rolling – rolling right on to Panama, and maybe on to Manila, where we were all headed the evening we said good-bye to Leghorn and the shores of Italy. That was the evening of August 7th that we said good-bye. This was the night of August 14th – just about seen days later, but Oh! What a different outlook for the men aboard the USS Stewart. In those seven days we heard the news about the great atomic bomb…..we heard the news about the Russians joining the war…that news had caused a big cheer when it was announced back there in the Mediterranean. Then had come the news that Japan had offered to surrender. “It can’t be true!” we said to ourselves. “It’s just another rumor started in the states…..or does Japan want to surrender…..maybe she realizes it is better to quit now than to be destroyed by our new secret weapon the “atomic bomb”. There is Russia too…..maybe Japan has had enough…..it might happen, but what difference will it make?….we are already headed for Manila…by the time they actually do surrender we will be there…..sure it will be good to have the war over, but we will still be stuck out there in the Pacific……of course, there could be the possibility that we would be diverted to the States if the firing ceases soon enough and the war does actually end…..oh, that’s too much to think about. It wouldn’t happen to us”. These were the thoughts running through every man’s mind from the moment the news of the Japanese surrender offer was announced. Tense days followed. The U.S. replied to the Japs’ offer the following day.
Then came hours of waiting that turned into days of waiting…..waiting to see if the Japs would accept the U.S. reply!
Men hoped they would, but feared they wouldn’t…feared that something would go wrong and the war would go on…..and we would go on rolling along to Manila.
Then came the night of August 14th…a Tuesday night. All day long the men on the USS Stewart had stood around the loud-speaker over on the starboard side waiting for an important announcement that never came. “No, I guess the Japs are not going to reply,” was the general tome of conversation spreading around the deck.
At 9:30 P.M., when quarters’ call sounded “Lights out” – “turn into your bunks – silence about the deck”; another day was over; the war was still on, and we were rolling on to the Pacific. By 10:00 P.M., most of the men were in their bunks, the lights were out in the holds, only a few remained on deck, hanging on to the rails, just thinking and watching…..watching the water, the stars, especially the “north star”…Yes, we were headed southwest…..right for Cuba and the Panama Canal. The deck was quiet only the swishing of the water against the ship broke the silence out in the mid-Atlantic.
Then from the speaker, that the men had stood in front of all day long waiting for some word, came the announcement: “President Truman has just announced the surrender of Japan.” The War is over.” All hell broke loose on the ship. The few men that were up on deck yelled and screamed, “The war is over! It’s all over!!!” Their cheers brought three-thousand wild-eyed, jumping GI’s --- most of them in their shorts tearing out of the holds. It was the wildest, happiest three thousand men to ever ride the waves of the Atlantic. They jumped…they yelled….they screamed…..they almost cried….some did have tears in their eyes…….they slapped each other on the back…..they slapped officers on the back…..then someone started singing the “Star Spangled Banner”, and every man on deck joined in. Then came “God Bless America”. It was all spontaneous…..the songs just burst forth…cold chills ran up and down your spine….it was a grand and glorious night….a great night….for the first time in years the world was at peace…..as one of the Negro boys aboard put it, “God, now’s the time to turn on dem lights all over the world again!” Yes sir! The lights are on again all over the world. The chant went up to the Navy to “fire the guns---fire the guns.” “Turn the ship to the North, it’s all over.” Yes it was a big night for three thousand GI’s, officers and Navy men about the USS M. B. Stewart out in the Mid-Atlantic.Oh yes, it had been a dark night and a rough sea….but if you noticed, the moon came out from behind those heavy clouds while those happy men were giving out with “God Bless America”, and when all the cheering was over and silence reigned in the Atlantic, if you noted, the sea was very calm. Everything throughout the world was at peace again. Yes, fellows, it was a big night.
“THAT WONDERFUL MORNING”
Yeah fellas, it was a big night that evening of August 14th, but remember August 15th?...a Wednesday afternoon?....The morning after the war ended. In the morning, the first question you asked…”Are we still headed south? Do you think there is a chance of us getting new orders?...say maybe go into an eastern port…yeah you think we will….you say there is a rumor the ship’s captain already got new orders…well why doesn’t he announce it?...Naw heck! We won’t get any new orders. Washington won’t be thinking about us….we’re in the army…You know how the army goes…we’ll go on to Panama and then brother, you’ll be lucky to get to San Francisco…we’ll probably have to go on to Manila even if the war is over…What’s that fellow saying…says the sister ship of this darn tug received orders to go into port at Norfolk and they were headed for Panama and Manila too…Hey! Boy that sounds good; maybe we might get new orders…But no, we are too close to Panama….we’re headed south and now we will be lucky to get home in a couple months. That sounds pretty good though about the sister ship. Gee! Wouldn’t it be swell if they did radio new orders and we get to go into New York….man, that would be too good. I’m from Brooklyn and New York…wow...I’d be home in… Whew! Ah gee, I’d be home in two days myself….It’s only about 18 hours to Chicago and buddy, I can just see myself walking down State Street and Michigan Blvd…you say you live in Florida?...Well, that’s the way it is; everybody can’t get home in a hurry…Maybe they got trains running down there by now Lou….Aw but what the heck, we aren’t going home…we’re headed south…I tell you, Washington has forgotten about us…remember buddy, you’re still in the army and you know the army…”
“Arguments…rumors…reports, but still we go rolling along…rolling along to the south…right on to Panama and then on to Manila…”Yes sir buddy, it was a great war and it’s swell that it is over but oh man, how I’d like to see those states…that good old USA.” Those were the rumors…those were the questions…those were the thoughts in the mind of every man aboard this ship…3,000 minds of GI’s and army officers and the thoughts too of a hell of a lot of navy men and navy officers on board this rolling ship. Those were the thought as six A.M. ...7 A.M…8 A.M…9 A.M…10 A.M…10:15 A.M…10:18 A.M…10:19…
Then at ten twenty…10:20 A.M., Wednesday morning, August 15, 1945…Wheee… Remember the whistle that came over the loudspeaker every time there was an announcement to be made…It was another announcement…probably that troops would have to continue fire drills until they got the time down to three minutes or less…but no, this was the announcement in a very quite dull-like tone…”The ship’s destination has been changed to New York…Wow!!! Talk about celebrations…3,000 men went absolutely nuts…Guys cried…GI’s screamed, “We’re going home buddy…we’re going home…we’re on the way…I’ll be home by this time next week…Hey man! Washington didn’t forget us after all….we’re going home”…It started all over again…Yes, last night was a big night but this was a bigger day. Men ripped the shirts right off the backs of their buddies…GI’s slapped officers on the back…and officers hugged privates…billie clubs the guards were carrying went sailing out to the fish in the Atlantic…hats went off into the air…the deck was a scrambling madhouse of 3,000 GI’s, officers, navy men and navy officers and marines…yeah man! Don’t forget those Marines, they were right in on it too…and heck fellas, you can’t describe a scene like that… some men stood around with tears in their eyes, there was no doubt about it this time…guy’s thoughts of seeing their wives again…seeing his Mom and Dad or sweetheart was too much…some guys couldn’t even talk…some guys tried to talk but their tongues were twisted with excitement. “Home buddy, think of it, we are going home…back to those things we left so long, long ago: back to those people we love…back to those old familiar street and neighborhoods. Yes sir buddy, it’s really all over now…we’re going home…Ah! It’s that too good to be true. Honest it’s just like a dream…what a break we got…headed for Manila, almost to Panama and now here we are headed to New York…think of those guys back there in Italy…Gee! We thought they were lucky getting to stay there for a few more months instead of going to the Pacific. Gee whiz Mac, guess I’ll have to go see my old buddies, Mom, Dad and wife and baby…Ah! I still can’t believe it…something is liable to happen yet…Hey! Why doesn’t this ship go faster…Seems like we slowed down an awful lot since we changed course to New York…and look how much smoother the water is out there…it’s jut like glass…not even a ripple in it…not even a little ripple…I’ve never seen it like that before in the Atlantic…yes the world is really at peace.All day long the men hugged the rail on the ship…everybody just wanted to stand there and watch the water…thinking how swell it is going to be…thinking whether they would call up from New York or wait and surprise the folks. Thinking of how it is going to be to crawl into fresh, clean sheets at home for the first time in maybe three years…thinking how peaceful the world seems now.
Late at night men still lined the rails…no one wanted to go to bed…their thoughts were too much on home…on their folks…on everything that goes with home…on chocolate malts, on good big glasses of fresh milk…milk think of it!! Fresh milk!!
The night was cool and the stars were bright, the lights were on again all over the world…During those hours…those happy hours that men lined the rails gazing at the water and stars, thoughts cam back on all the things that happened “over there”. The tough times…the funny incidents, but always the thoughts went back to home. What a break for 3,000 men. Why couldn’t those men we left back in Italy, those old buddies, get the same break? Yes most of them will be home in a few months but there’s some that will never be coming back…a lot of old buddies a man couldn’t help thinking about even though he was tense with enthusiasm. Thoughts ran back to those old buddies that won’t be coming home…they weren’t forgotten even in moments that a guy’s enthusiasm was at its highest.
Yes, it was a wonderful morning…a great day…a day that no one aboard will ever forget. Never could there have been a happier 3,000 men out in the mid-Atlantic. It was a great exciting trip…probably the most exciting trip in history (man) has ever made across the Atlantic.
TO ALL TROOPS ABOARD:
There is little doubt but that your voyage aboard this troopship will stand as one of the high spots in the life of each of you. No man even dreamed, as he boarded the transport in Leghorn, that his destination would be other than Manila, Okinawa, or some other Army base close to Japan. In one week, while we were a sea, the United States Armed Forces introduced the Atom bomb to Japan; Russia entered the war against the Japanese; Japan asked for peace, and surrendered; the war ended; and the ship’s destination was changed from some far distant Pacific base to New York City. In lieu of coconuts and jungle bases, you’ll have leaves, furloughs, and perhaps soon, discharges for many. We are glad to be the ship that delivered you home.
Of all the troops heretofore carried by this transport, none have conducted themselves better than the units now aboard. The cleanliness of all troop spaces, your conservative use of fresh water, your respect for all the ship’s troop regulations, reflect you to be the veterans you are, and your willingness to maintain the discipline required; playing the game as only real soldiers will do.
The best wishes to all the ship’s complement to go with you as you return to your homes, and wherever your next army assignment takes you. We hope you enjoyed your trip aboard the transport and that it will long remain a happy and pleasantly remembered one. Good-bye! Good-luck!.
Full-page drawing printed in the Trooper
of Units on board USS
General M.B. Stewart (AP-140)
Most of these units were in Italy under the command of the 5th Army.
182nd Engineer Battalion
169th Engineer Battalion
715th Railway Operating Battalion
31st Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Company
976th Signal Service Company
551st Motor Ambulance Company
161st Medical Battalion
479th Aviation Squadron
A special "Thanks" to Craig Stichtenoth for providing this copy of The Trooper and giving permission to use it on this site. Craig transcribed the entire text from the original old, faded newsprint. Craig is the son of PFC Warren Stichtenoth. The biography of PFC Stichtenoth can be found at this link.
PFC Warren Stichtenoth
Copy-righted Material. Do not use without permission.
Return to Top of Page.