General lost a star
And the General was born in Sibley. He is Major General Robert W. Grow, fighting with Patton's third army on the western front. Two Sibley boys, Lieutenant Harold W. Koopman and Lieutenant W.W. Brammer are serving under General Grow, now somewhere in Luxemburg.
In a letter from Lt. Harold Koopman, dated January 25, in part Harold writes as follows. "In reading our "Stars and Stripes" yesterday, I happened op on an article concerning General Grow, of the Sixth Armored Division who happened to be born in Sibley. In reading the Sibley Gazette lately, I thought maybe you could use some space filler - some of you old timers might remember the General but I'm sure i don't. You might also be interested to know that he is commanding the Division of wich Brammer is a member. That should give you another opening for a writeup.
The article in Stars and Stripes to which "Pete" refers, in part is as follows:
Major General Robert W. Grow, commander of the 6th Armored Division, is probably the only general officer in the U.S. Army to be busted to brigadier by the Krauts. It al happened somewhere in france when the 6th Armored spearheaded the Third Army race into Germany.
The General was up front with one of his artillery outfits observing the effect of the fire when an 88mm landed a short distance away. Before he could say "What the hell", a small chunch of shrapnel zipped along the front of his helmet and cutting away one of his stars, clean as a whistle.
Being up front with his men is General Grow's pet outdoor activity. An enlisted man of the 86th Recon. told his story. "I was on outpost duty on the run to Brest," he said, "and was crouched in my foxhole when all of a sudden here was the General himself standing there and asking directions to the most extreme outpost of the untit. "I was scared te death and I must have looked it. But the General talked to me for a while and he was about to leave he said that he was scared as hell too. And no to let it bother me. And the he left."
Generals Grow's only boast is that he is as good a soldier as any man in his outfit; And that takes some doing according to him. One of his staff officers told the story of his message to a corps commander during the battle around Avranches. It seems that the division was being given short and limited objectives as they pushed toward Brest. The General found that he was reaching objectives and was able to push on but couldn't because of orders.
Finally he called corps and his telephonic conversation with the Corps Commander has become one of the classics of the 6th Armored Divisional history. His blistering comment has become a matter of tradition in the division.
General Grow was born in Sibley, Iowa, on February 14, 1895. He has served continually with tank outfits since the early 30's from Fort Eustis, Va., to the present. He was assistant chief of staff of the 2nd Armored at Fort Benning under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton in 1941. He served also with the 5th, 8th and 10th Armored Dvisions. He assumed command of the 6th in June, 1943, at Camp Cooke, Calif. General Grow joined the regular Army as a cavalryman, Nov 28, 1916, after graduation from the University of Minnesota. His promotion to brigadier general came in March, 1942, and the other star was added September 17, 1943
Source: The Gazette Tribune Sibley, Iowa March 1, 1945
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
(St. Louis, Missouri)
21 Nov 1944, Tue • Main Edition • Page 6