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Local Editorials

From our archives: Snappy uniforms needed for military

What we thought: 75 years ago

A man dressed as World War I doughboy, from the Long Island Living History Association, uses his smartphone as he waits to march in this year's Veterans Day Parade on New York's Fifth Avenue. A Telegraph editorial from 75 years ago urged the U.S. military to upgrade the doughboy-style uniforms of its buck privates.
A man dressed as World War I doughboy, from the Long Island Living History Association, uses his smartphone as he waits to march in this year's Veterans Day Parade on New York's Fifth Avenue. A Telegraph editorial from 75 years ago urged the U.S. military to upgrade the doughboy-style uniforms of its buck privates.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Telegraph on Dec. 2 and 3, 1938.

Remember Mr.

Buck Private

While the country is in a throes of preparing for national defense, we arise to remark that one of the persons not to be forgotten is Mr. Buck Private.

We are getting a great deal of information on the mobilization of factory facilities, the number of airplanes and battleships that might be needed, and we are developing excellent weapons. To date, however, the buck private seems to be the forgotten man.

The planners ought to be reminded that no infantryman can approach the enemy with the proper sangfroid or verve and dash if his trousers resemble something he had inherited from his larger brother, and if the tails of his blouse ride in the middle of his back. How is the man defending a trench to feel at ease with the guilty knowledge that his shirt was the bar sinister of cotton, or perhaps shoddy, on its escutcheon?

There were certain privates in the last war who suffered a positive inferiority complex after comparing their own raiment with that worn by officers and officers’ orderlies. It was generally believed among some of them that such men were patterned after better architectural lines, which accounted for the better fit of their uniforms.

Perhaps the next war, if it comes, will find a style of hats different from the rain-in-the-face chapeau that adorned the head of the doughboy in the A.E.F. This cunning little trick collected rain like a sponge, and the funnel effect of the raincoat collar permitted said rain to run down the neck. Wearing such haberdashery while riding a razor-backed artillery horse 30 miles in a dashing rain usually got the soldier into a frame of mind indifferent to victory or defeat; not even dreading death in any form if it only would come.

If it is true that an army marches on its stomach, it is equally true that it marches in its clothes, and there is no reason why an army representing the United States should wear garments apparently taken from scarecrows. – Dec. 2, 1938



Raids by truck-operating thieves on rural chicken coops and pig pens have been causing greater loss than bank robberies in Illinois, according to Representative F.W. Lewis of Robinson, a member of the Uniform Motor Vehicle Laws Commission. The commission has decided that since police radio broadcasting has driven many thieves out of the cities, it is now time to drive them out of the rural sections as well.

The commission proposes to remedy the situation by causing a special number and the name and address of the owner to be painted upon the sides of each truck operating in Illinois. A bill providing for this requirement will be introduced in the Legislature.

Also, each trucker with a load of livestock or farm produce will be compelled to carry a bill of sale or bill of lading, ready to show to any police officer who might stop him. The commission hopes by this plan to make the game of stealing livestock so risky that few will try it. – Dec. 2, 1938

Dayton sets

an example

Thirty-four thousand pupils and more than 1,000 teachers have returned to school following a three-week vacation at Dayton, Ohio, according to news reports. The vacation came when the school board wiped out a $67,000 deficit by simply closing the schools temporarily, and then on a pay-as-you-go basis, having located $430,000 for a nest egg in the interim.

The action in Dayton has the germ of an idea that may be new in governmental circles, but has been practiced privately for a long time. The individual, when he finds his expenses exceed his income, is likely to cut down the expenses. Not often does he borrow money to maintain a standard of living beyond his income. When he does, he usually winds up in bankruptcy.

But governmental circles, especially the federal group, seem not to have explored the possibilities of cutting expenses to meet income.

It would be unwise to consider disbanding the Army or Navy, or the courts, or even the FBI and the Justice Department. There are certain other functionaries, however, who might be permitted to suspend activities until revenue picks up.

Take the Congress, for instance. There was a time when a large number of people used to urge Congress to “balance the budget and go home.” But Congress failed to balance the budget and wasn’t in a hurry about going home. No one knows exactly where we would have been if Congress had skipped a session or two in the last 6 years, but the books might have been 5 to 7 billion dollars ahead.

Aside from the routine business of appropriating money for necessary functions, Congress might investigate the Dayton scheme and see if it has any merit. Congress might consider the disadvantage of enacting unconstitutional laws, which some horse and buggy people consider a waste of money. If that does not appeal to Congress, it might study the Constitution. – Dec. 3, 1938

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