Bio: Peterson, Leo W. & Ethan A. (12 Oct. 1944)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) Thursday, 12 Oct. 1944
Lieut. Col. Leo W. Peterson says there are 624,000 different kinds of bugs in New Guinea, and they are worse the Japs. He is back in this country after 30 months in New Guinea. His brother, Major Ethan A. Peterson, formerly a dentist in Neillsville, is still on New Guinea, in company with the 624,000 kinds of bugs. Both officers are sons of Mr. and Mrs. O. A. Peterson of Granton.
Lieut. Col. Leo W. Peterson has his home at Sun Prairie, where he practiced prior to the war. He was back there not long ago, and told something of his experience as follows:
"There are 624,000 types of insects in the world, and I’m willing to believe that all of them call New Guinea home.
Worse even then the sweltering temperature, worse than hewing a hospital site out of the jungles, worse then the monotonous canned beef and dehydrated foods, yes, worse event than the Japs encountered, were in the insects which plagued the soldiers night and day."
Col. Peterson can’t say anything bad enough about the bugs, but he has the highest praise for the natives of New Guinea, who, with axes and utility knives, helped him and his staff prepare a site for the station hospital which he was assigned to build immediately upon his arrival.
Besides the station hospital, prefabricated huts and portable hospital which followed the beachheads were used in caring for the injured. As no women nurses arrived in the area until a few months ago, Col. Peterson trained the men in his outfit in the duties of hospital aides.
Prior to being allocated to New Guinea, Col. Peterson spent some time in Australia. There a Japanese radio station nightly broadcast propaganda programs designed to undermine American morale. Americans, with their own news releases on hard from military headquarters, soon learned to discount extravagant Jap claims of planes brought down and ships sunk.
Col. Peterson expressed great admiration for the military strategy which has resulted in the gains made in the South Pacific area. He feels that the progress made is nothing short of miraculous.
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