Learning About the Fifth Army Mobile Radio Station in Italy

In the course of researching one of my earlier posts, I discovered the online scrapbook of the 5th Army Mobile Radio Station. Babe makes several references in his letters to signing off so he can listen to the news or listen to the radio. Perhaps this is what he was hearing when he put aside his pen and paper.

The website was created by Jim Carstensen in tribute to his father Vern Carstensen, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army “assigned to head up the 5th Army Mobile Radio Station in Italy.” He drew from his father’s actual scrapbook of newspaper clippings, signed photographs from the stars of the day and notes.

Jim writes on the scrapbook that the station “was created during World War II to boost morale amongst the troops.  Music, news from home, live concerts and variety shows were produced and broadcast from a mobile platform.”

The YouTube video connected to this post is a 1944 newsreel feature on the mobile radio station, noting that “radio on wheels moves to where the entertainment is. And when a songwriter and a movie star make for the front, the mobile station follows right along.”

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