Clipped From The Billings Gazette
Yanks Operate Clean Jail Soldiers Show Off Hamelin Hoosegow By KENNETH L. DIXON With the A. E. F. in Occupied Germany, June 10. OP) The chief jailer of Hamelin town (spelled Hameln in these parts) has his feet comfortably propped upon the desk, while his assistant sits in a nearby chair twirling his billy club. The chief was saying to his right-hand man: "Boy, if the folks back in Parkers-burg, W. Va., could only see me now!" Then he looked up when this Eighty-fourth division reporter entered and told him he was looking for news. The chief is Sergeant Clarence Hackett and his assistant is Private First Class Albert Gentile, Inwood, Long Island, N. Y. Both having been formerly occupied solely in the somewhat hazardous industry of eliminating ene-' my infantrymen, they were obviously pleased at their good fortune in falling into this job. "The prisoners wash the floors," Hackett explained expansively. "We teach them to do it like we scrubbed the barracks back in the states. If they don't do it right the first time they do it again. The damn floors have been scrubbed three times already today." He jangled two keys on a mammoth ring. "The keys to the city," he said idly, breathing on his fingernails and nonchalantly polishing them on his shirtfront. Yes, he admitted things are pretty good right now, everything considered. He pointed out that while business was "lousy," that was the way it was supposed to be around properly operated jails. He added that he would sure like to have his friends in West Virginia see him laying down the law around here. He said that a couple of more times, as though trying to convince somebody, and when nobody argued with him he finally admitted he'd rather be back home eating some of his mother's cherry pie. Private Gentile, who up to now had maintained the discreet silence of a diplomatic deputy, admitted his nickname was "Gentle," an unimaginative offshoot of his last name. The chief interrupted to say Gentile had been anything but gentle behind a carbine in combat. "He makes a good man for the job," he said approvingly. "I kind of like this business I'm in now," Gentile agreed. "Like the guy said, I'd rather be on the out side looking in than the other way around. Besides, we keep a first class hoosegow here. No complaints from the guests." He waved an arm toward the in ner sections of the clink. "Go ahead and smell them cells," he said. "Smell that hall. Does it smell like a jail? No, it smells like spring, you know, fresh and clean." A few German civilians came in, followed by a group of G. Is carrying towels. Hackett and Gentile explained that the military government permits civilian visitors during certain hours of the day. The doughboys said they were bound for the showers at the back of the Jail. "Our guests also have to keep hot water available," said Gentile. Just then their relief arrived and the jailers went out to eat lunch. Hackett returned suddenly with an ajerthought. "f forgot something when I told you I had never been in a jail before," he said. "In a way you could say I've had some training in this sort of work. "I was chief of police back In Parkersburg one time when high school students took over the city government for a day." Then he ambled off, whistling "If I had the wings of an angel."