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Prisoner of War Stories and Articles:

Residual Virtues

Peter Diefenthaler

Grandson of Willard (Lefty) Diefenthaler

Elkhart Lake, WI 53020


My grandpa is a good man

Whose story goes back many years

I know why when he looked in the mirror

He fought back painful tears.


He fought in the Battle of the Bulge

And fought for a great while

As waves of German soldiers died

In a German soldier pile.


Ammunition was running low

And more waves of the enemy were sent

They had nowhere that they could run

And they all knew what that meant.


So they took apart their guns

And tossed remaining shells

They pushed their cannons off a cliff

So they weren’t used on themselves.


They ran their trucks’ engines tight

As it sounded like metal on metal

They drained the oil on the ground

And put a rock on the gas pedal.


They held their hands above their heads

And stood up from behind the fender

With rifles pointed at their heads

They yelled, "We surrender".


He tells that story to me now

About that famous battle of World War II

How his battalion was taken by surprise

And became POW.


They were then held in a prison camp

For what seemed like eternity

They wondered when, if ever

They would once again be free.


They were taken to a different camp

And traveled by train track

When allied planes flew overhead

And started to attack.


They thought the train had enemy cargo

The engine was brought to a halt

But the allies who were bombing them

Had soon realized their fault.



The prisoners escaped the railroad cars

And laid out in the snow

With their bodies spelled POW

For the planes above to know.


When they were no longer prisoners

My grandpa had to stay

To see his ill twin brother

Whom he found had passed away.


When he finally got back home

He felt depressed and out of place

Because when he looked at himself in the mirror

He saw his brother’s face.


But with time the pain would pass

And he’d go on to live

And what he went through he won’t forget

But he can still forgive.


My grandpa’s a brave and honest man

Whose journey’s not yet done

And the qualities that live in him

Have been passed down to his son.


And the things that I admire in them

They now begin to see

The goodness that was born in them

Begins to show in me.


60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Rome and the Battle for Anzio

From my Journal

By Cordino Longiotti

522 E. Valley View Rd. Ashland, Or. 97520

The veterans group of Anzio Beachhead Veterans of W.W.II went to Italy to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the battles for Anzio beachhead and the Liberation of Rome.  We were a group of 75 persons with about 30 veterans of the Anzio beachhead and their wives and children.

On May 29; After arriving in Rome we transferred to hotel Dei Cesari in Anzio, Italy.  There was a brief wreath laying ceremony at the W.W.II monument in newly redesigned Anzio Main Garibaldi Square, with local authorities.

On May 30;   Today there was a guided tour by guide Mr. Silvano Casaldi, Curator of the Anzio Museum of Landing at Anzio, of battle sites like Poligono, Mussolini Canale and Velletri. In Valletri we had a ride in vintage military jeeps hosted be the local students of beachhead reinactors. After lunch we continued the tour of Anzio Beachhead area  visiting Aprilla, Cisterna Overpass and other battle sites.  For dinner we went to farm restaurant Vecchia Maremma arriving about 9:00 PM.  We had a great dinner with several appetizers and 7 course dinner lasting until 12:30 AM.

On May 31; there was a rededication ceremony of the Association Plaque in Nettuno with the Mayor and other officials. Then off to the AMERICAN CEMETERY in Nettuno for participation in the  Official Program of Memorial Day Event at American W.W.II Cemetery attended by the US Ambassador to Italy, Mel Sembler, who gave a short talk, along with Major Italian Government Officials and the Mayors of Nettuno and Anzio. There are over 7800 fallen American soldiers from W.W.II buried at the cemetery.
After the ceremony we went to Netuno Police Academy for lunch in the cafeteria. We were then invited to a dinner reception hosted by the ambassador to Italy at the ambassador’s Rome Residence, with several other Veteran groups.  The dinner was great, the food and atmosphere were terrific. I had a picture taken with the Ambassador Mel Sembler, and also, with the Mayor of Rome.

June 1;  we moved to  Rome Grand Hotel Then on to visit a W.W.II photo exhibit at the Vittoriano Museum, Piazza Venezia followed  an orientation bus tour of downtown Rome. The Trevi Fountains, Piazza Navona, Pantheon.

The next day we took a day trip to historical Casino to visit the Albaneta war field and meet with Brother Germano at the Abbey.

The Abbey monastery was bombed and mostly destroyed during W.W.II when the allies were bogged down by the Germans. Brother Germano was 11 years old at the time and was the only survivor of the bombing.

June 3;  today we departed for a day trip to the hill country and the area of Artena, Montelco for a special ceremony in the city of Lazio near Albano, commemorating those who perished in the W.W.II Battles fought in this area.  Attended by allied veterans, Italian partisans, town mayors, family members of war causalities and the president of the Province of Rome. The ceremony unveiling a plaque in honor of Victorio Gozzer, a commander of Italian partisans who joined the allied forces and fought many battles in nearby Lepini mountains.  After the ceremony we were invited to a lunch at Palazzo Doria  hosted by the local authorities.

June 4;  This was the big day.  Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Rome.  After a short ceremony of the laying of wreath at Piazza Venezia, we were invited to a lunch at city hall hosted by the Mayor of Rome.  It was a great lunch with about 400 to 500 present along with the Mayor and many dignitaries present. The Mayor gave every veteran  two copies of paintings numbered and signed by the artist.

After lunch we had to make some changes in our schedule  when we heard that President Bush was in Rome and would meet with us veterans.   We had a special invitation to attend the meeting at the American  Ambassador¹s residence where President Bush would meet with us.  There were no news media present, strictly a private party with several veterans groups with their spouses and siblings, about 500 total. Security was very tight going into the Embassy. Police (thousands of them) surrounded the complete Embassy, no traffic on the streets around the Embassy and helicopters overhead. There were several dignitaries present also, Colin Powell, Ambassador to Italy Mel Sembler, Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Nickelson Ambassador to the Vatican, Tony Hall Ambassador to U.N. agencies for food and agriculture, former ambassador of South Africa to Italy and, of course, Mrs. Laura Bush.  The President gave a very touching speech honoring the veterans of W.W.II.  I was in the second row, but when the president started shaking hands the Lieutenant Colonel & Major in the  front row told us to move up to where they were.  After the speech President Bush shook hands with several veterans as far as he could reach, there was a rope barrier between the President and the people. When the President shook my hand I asked if I could have a picture, he said sure, then he got Mrs. Bush and came over to have a picture taken together with my wife and myself. One of the female photographers took the picture with my digital camera. That was the end of a great day and one I will never forget. Security was very tight, the secret service kept a close watch on everyone.

June 5;  This was a free day with sight seeing and shopping and just lolling around.

June 6;  Today we went to visit the Vatican and St. Peters Basilica.

We were supposed to attend the noon time traditional Benidiction by the pope but somehow he decided to go to Switzerland and was not at the Vatican.  Then we headed for Florence to our new hotel, President Hotel.

June 7;  After breakfast we went to Pisa.  We stopped at Lucca on the way to visit a church.  In Pisa we visited the tower. Some climbed to the top for a great view of the church.  One of our veterans tripped on the church step, fell and had to be taken to the hospital.  Other than a cut above the eye and a black eye, he was OK.  After dinner several persons got sick and threw up, by morning there were about 16 that got the virus.

June 8; Today some went down town Florence for a guided tour on foot and a  small delegation went to meet with the president of Tuscany. Gifts were exchanged and each veteran was given a medal with their name engraved on it. Today we also prepared to leave Italy for the good old USA.
Except Loretta and myself, we moved to another hotel in the center of Florence where we met up with Karen and Mike and Bill and Cameo.  That started us on another 2 week of sightseeing from Florence to Siena, to Giulianova to Venice, and Milan.


Laura Bush and President Bush with Cordino & Loretta Longiotti;

Cordino & Loretta with Mel Sembler ambassador from U.S. to Italy.

President Bush speaking.

Cordino Longiotti with the Mayor of Rome. All Pictures were taken at the Ambassador’s residence in Rome, Italy.


Prior Months -  American Prisoner of War Stories and Articles



Barbed Wire

This Shirt

An American In Paris

A True 1944 Adventure

1940 edition of the Navy Bluejacket’s Manual

POW Prayer

Can you find the tall, blond, American officer?

A Prison Vow Fulfilled

Those who become POWs

As age takes its toll, ex-POW chapter disbands

Two Days to Remember

Operation Homecoming Facts

War Potatoes and Wisdom  By Christine Hierlmaier

The March - Starvation Walk to Freedom  By Joseph B. Glydon

Kasserine Pass February 1943

World War II Veteran Speaks  By Steve Satterlee, age 14

Camp 23~Japan  By Harry Johnson

Williams finally receives his medals

Burma survivor acts as link to VA  by Justo Bautista

America the WonderfulBy Max Lockwood

TAPS – What it means to me and why  By John (Rudy) Crawbuck

The Bike Ride  By George F. Fryett, Jr.

Just A Coincidence? A true story that begs to be told By Larry E. Hudec

Prune Face and the Brow

The Moving Wall  By Sharon DeNitto

The Raid on the Son Tay   By Tom Powell, “Greenleaf” Element

Dental Care – German Stalag-Style  By Russell E. Kuehn

Stalag III-C Reunion

The History of Flag Day

A True Flag Story  By Carl S. Nordin

Liberated Prisoners of Pegu By PFC Jim Buttrick 

The Surrender of Corregidor - 6 May 1942  By Michael J. Campbell

My Short Story  By Betsy Herold Heimke

Heroic “Piggyback Flight”  By Daniel Reynolds Tribune-Review

Veterans Memorial Plaza

Low Flight  By Paul E. (Pablo) Galanti

Ode to a Friend By John W. Morse

The Worth of A POW By George Webb

North Viet Nam HMO Program  By Jack (aka “Fingers”) Ensch

We Captured a Town by Pendleton Woods

We Shall Endure: Defense Salutes POW/MIAs  by Alice A. Booher

War Remembrance  by Olivia Bartlett, The Daily Mining Gazette

Belaria  The Other Stalag Luft III   by Roy L. Compton

Never Pull Tails  by Jim Lollar, B-52 Gunner, 4th Allied POW Wing

POW Reminiscences of WWII

Caring for Veterans a Nursing Vocation  by Mary Ellen Pelkey RN, BSN, C

Who packs YOUR parachute?  by Charles Plumb - Vietnam POW

Ex-POWs Give Us Lessons in Standing Tall  by Betsy Hays of Wayne, NJ, proud daughter of Edwin W. Hays, S/Sgt., USAAF 8th Air Force, 95th Bomb Group, 1943-45.

The Vietnam Dental Program...  by William (Bill) J. Baugh- Vietnam POW

The Scam  by Philip R. Haley - WWII Japanese POW at Mukden Prison Camp

The Footslogger   by Pvt. Carl Hendry  - WWII POW in Germany

Boat School Boys - by Richard A. Stratton - Vietnam POW

The Original Dirty Dozen - Stalag Luft I - by Edwin Dunlap - WWII German POW

10 Things a Janitor Can Teach You About Leadership - by Col. James Moschgat 

The Angels Came at Dawn - by Robert A. Wheeler, Los Banos Internee

44th Tank Battalion - From 82nd Airborne Division – Special Troops 1952 Yearbook, Ft. Bragg, NC

My Second Time in Captivity - by Mar G. Arradaza - during the Japanese occupation of the Phillipines

The Bet at Barth - by Earl Wasson - WWII German POW - Stalag Luft I

Peace in No Man's Land, Christmas 1914  - WWI POW

Christmas during WWII - by Wilson Elliott - WWII German POW

Fighter Pilot Robinson Risner - Vietnam POW

Celebrating Angel Maude Davison - Chief Nurse at Santo Tomas Internment Camp

A Life Snapshot - WWII German POW

Ode to Turkey Day, 1942 - by Robert Boriskie -  WWII Japanese POW

The Next Generation -  by Bill Singular - WWII German POW

A Price For Freedom – A POW Story - WWII German POW

An American Soldier

Barbs of Steel  - WWII German POW

A Family Man - WWII German POW

Why We Should Honor America’s Veterans

Let Freedom Ring - WWII German POW

My Grandfather’s World War II Experience - WWII German POW

Behind Barbed Wire

The Thirteenth Mission - WWII German POW

The POW's of the Doolittle Raiders

The Victory Flag - by: Rev. Rodney P. Kephart -  WWII Japanese POW

The Cake - by: John (Rudy) Crawbuck - WWII German POW - Stalag Luft IV & VI

Behind the Barbed Wire - by Bill Hughes - The Journal News - WWII German POW

33½ Months as a Guest of Der Fuhrer - by William W. Williams III - WWII German POW

My Hero  -  by Eric, grandson of ex-POW Frank Conroy

An Old Soldier Of Two Wars -  the 40 and 8 boxcar.

Out of the Past
- a letter from Germany arrives 55 years to the day after he was shot down and helps to bring closure for an ex-POW.

What Memorial Day Means to Me -  by an ex-POW's granddaughter.