MUSCODA - For many years the readers of this newspaper were treated to a “Bits of History” column. It was authored by the late John Duffey.
The Duffey family has a long history in the community and John’s efforts were a weekly favorite for many readers. Recently the local Lions Club sponsored a reproduction of many of John’s memories, making them available in book form.
I recently was looking through Muscoda Progressives published in 1945 and came across a story in the February 1st issue that carried an item about John. It supplies a tiny peek into his military life. Readers of the new book, as well as folks who knew him, may find it interesting.
It is headlined “Lt. J. Duffey Is Injured.” From there the story continues: “Lt. John Duffey suffered wounds to his left shoulder caused by “flack” while over enemy territory.”
The letter, written by a chaplain and sent to John’s wife Mary, stated that Lt. Duffey was in Belgium where his shoulder was in a cast and that he was recovering as well as could be expected.
Lt. Duffey had previously been awarded the air medal and other meritorious citations for his work as a navigator on a B-26 bomber. He had completed more than 50 of the 65 missions required and was anxiously awaiting his chance to return to this country.
On the same page as the Duffey story was a note that two Muscoda soldiers had met in Italy. They were Staff Sgt. Lambert Orth and Pfc. Billy Orth. Both men were stationed in Italy and had seen considerable action in that theater of war.
Another front page story in that newspaper was about Lt. Otis Tichenor being awarded the Air Medal for meritorious service as a navigator on a B-24 bomber, having been on several missions over enemy territory.
During those wartime years this newspaper carried many articles regarding local people serving in the military. Also, in the same issue as the previous stories, was a large advertisement promoting “Waste Paper Day in Muscoda.” It asked farmers and village residents to donate waste paper, stating, “Waste Paper Is Our No. 1 War Material Shortage.” The goal of the effort was to collect two tons of wastepaper.”It was obvious that “Uncle Sam needed everyone to win the battles.”