Friday, May 21, 1943, will be Delmar Wiley Day in Glenwood, IA. The Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Lions, Iowa State National Guard, Fire Department and The American Legion Post 141 are joining in preparations for a celebration worthy of the occasion. Russell Ridenour is general chairman on arrangements. He has on his committee A.F. Standiford from Rotary; Ward Slothower from Lions; B.N. Maxwell from Chamber of Commerce; Dr. D.W. Harman from The Glenwood Legion; Ralph Raine from the Iowa State National Guard and Lewis Robinson from the Fire Department. The Iowa State National Guard will have charge of publicity. The Chamber of Commerce will have charge of decorations; The Glenwood Legion the parade; Lions and Rotary clubs join in arranging the program and the firemen are arranging for a free dance with a good orchestra. With flags flying and bands playing, Glenwood extended its official "Welcome Home" to Delmar Wiley, a home town boy, who drifted for 15 days on a rubber raft after his plane was shot down in the Pacific by the Japs, and finally landed on an island among friendly natives. His remarkable courage and self-possession which enabled him to endure this ordeal and come safely through, has won attention and brought him acclaim from the people from the west to the east coast.
This plucky lad, who only three years ago was a member of the graduation class of Glenwood High School, immediately entered the service of the U.S. Navy, and was serving as an aviation radioman on combat duty last summer was wounded in the attack which killed his pilot and gunner and sent their plane to the bottom of the sea. He has lived to return to family and friends. Events of more than the usual lifetime have been crowded into these three short years, yet he remains the same gracious, un-affected lad who left this community three years ago offering himself for training for service for his country in its hour of need. The plans that had been made by the various committees of local citizens indicate that there will be no doubt left in his mind as to the fact that the home folks are glad to have him back and proud of the courageous spirit he manifest under such trying conditions.
Mayor D.W. Harman requested all business places to close at 5 p.m. for the parade formed at the post office corner extending south on Vine Street to the athletic field. Glenwood business houses gave special recognition all week to all the boys in the military service. Each business placed exhibits in their window displaying numerous pictures of local boys in the military service. W.H. Rodabaugh of the Nebraska Power Company gave special recognition to those who have been reported as "Missing in Action" in the one window, while the other window gave a memorial tribute to those who have made the supreme sacrifice in behalf of their country. Delmar Wiley and his family, plus Ed Donald, Glenwood native home from Guadalcanal, where he was seriously injured by enemy shrapnel, also rode in the parade.
The parade also featured the Gold Star Mothers of the World War I. Four State Guardsmen on horseback led the Iowa State National Guard Company I in the parade. There were numerous floats from several business houses, service clubs, patriotic and civic organizations such as Rotary, Lions, Red Cross, Woman's club, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion and Auxiliary, V.F.W., various churches and the school division from the fourth grade up. The parade proceeded down the west side of the square across the south and down Vine street will disband at the athletic field. Delmar Wiley was in the parade, riding with the family in a car which was at the head of the procession. Little Miss Judy Holliday and Master Kenton Jens, blacked up and costumed to depict the islanders among whom Delmar spent his days as a castaway, walked behind the car and won rounds of applause from the hundreds who thronged the sidewalks along the line of march. There were four marching bands and among them were the Pacific Junction High School Band, clad in their colorful red and white uniforms and the Glenwood High School Band, resplendent in their uniforms of black and gold, provided music along the way.
After the parade, the Glenwood State school Band gave a concert at the reviewing stand. Delmar and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wiley were presented, as was also Brig. Gen. Charles H. Grahl and Lt. Col. Oliver P. Bennett of Des Moines and other military officers from the Seventh Service Command. Also in the reviewing stand was, Col. G.V. Caughlin of Council Bluffs; Lt. Commander Truman Jones of Des Moines; Maj. Forrest H. Davidson of Clarinda; Lt. R.J. Mahoney of the Navy Recruiting Station in Omaha, NE and other military officers and distinguished guests. Attorney K.R. Cook presided over the ceremony. Chairman Cook presented Mayor Harman, who on behalf of the community, extended an official welcome to Delmar and emphasized the fact that in honoring this young man the community was not forgetful of all those others who are in service, some of whom have made the supreme sacrifice and others who are held as prisoners by the enemy. Chairman Cook introduced the speaker of the day, Justice Frederic Miller of the Iowa Supreme Court in Des Moines, who called attention to the fact that this county has sent 884 young men into the various branches of the service and that of this group 60 are missing or held as prisoners, and 11 have been reported as having made the supreme sacrifice. Justice Miller paid a glowing tribute to Delmar as a typical American boy, the son of an average American family, and who has manifested that courage, bravery and resourcefulness so typical of the American men in service.
Delmar naturally won rounds and rounds of applause when Chairman Cook presented him and he responded to the interview with Mr. Cook, relating interesting incidents of his life on the island and his miraculous escape. Superintendent of Schools, C.F. Kilpatrick, came to the platform and explained how, when Delmar was in high school, he had always taken an active part in all school affairs and that the students of the high school. Delmar was now elected as a Honorary Captain and the students purchased a "G" sweater with a captain's star on the sleeve which was presented to him on behalf of the school. Delmar graciously responded. Mr. Cook, on behalf of the citizens of the community, presented Delmar with a $100 war bond.
The entire program was broadcasted by Lyle DeMoss of radio station WOW. Ed Donald, who had been expected to appear on the program, became ill and had to leave. It was later learned that he was suffering from malaria which he contracted from mosquito bites at Guadalcanal and it was also learned that Delmar Wiley, who had been at Guadalcanal on his return trip home, had come in contact with the malarial mosquito and that the illness he felt prior to the parade was due to a malarial condition.
There was a free dance hosted by Harvey T. Rimel Post 141 at the armory with music furnished by Johnnie Cox and his nine-piece orchestra from Lincoln, NE.
In the photo: 80-G-41761: Crew of the Flying Fortress “My Lovin’ Dove,” resting at Guadalcanal after being lost in the Pacific for 66 days. Vice Admiral M.A. Mitcher, USN, shakes hands with Captain T.J. Classen, AAF, pilot of the Flying Fortress. Lieutenant Robert Dorwart, AAF, navigator, and Lieutenant B.C. Gibson, AAF, bombardier, look on a the left, while Delmar Dean Wiley, ARM2/C, USN, stands next to the Admiral and smiles happily over the rescue. Photographed June 4, 1943. U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (2016/05/10).