February 2002 Newsletter

For all veterans, relatives and friends of the

89th Veterans in France during the Tour of Remembrance

Photo by Mark Kitchell

Table of Contents: Click on the Link Below to Go To That Section:

Editor's Notes and Website Developments
Official Announcement from the President
Email List Update
Letters and Exchanges

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Editor's Notes and Website Developments

Beginning with this issue, your editor will copy the Newsletter (by email or snail mail as required) to surviving Past Presidents of the Society for any time-sensitive comments or notices they might wish to make in subsequent Newsletters in keeping with the tradition established by the TRW. These include past Presidents Phil McAuliffe and Dick Lee and our current officers Bob Anderson, Sam Moorhead, and Larry Berg.

We also need and welcome general member-inputs concerning the current extensive and comprehensive efforts being undertaken to deal with the critical membership revenue and other issues now facing the Society and which will be the major focus of our next reunion. It is important that the membership be aware of these efforts and the decisions which may need to be ratified at our next reunion, using the TRW, the Newsletter and our Website, and is given an opportunity to provide their personal inputs to the extent feasible. Inputs/comments of this nature are also welcome for inclusion in subsequent newletters.

Website Story Guidelines

Our website is beginning to accumulate and place on the Internet an increasing number of stories concerning our history, accompanied by pleas for veterans to record their memories and send them in to us. Thus the Editors of The Rolling W (TRW) and the Website, and myself as coordinator of communications for the Society believe it might be timely to offer some guidance in an attempt to avoid confusion.

The TRW, as you are all well aware, is our official publication and the primary channel for official announcements and appointments as required by our by-laws. Above all, it reaches our total veteran membership, and includes all Official Notices, Letters to the Editor, Unit reports, Taps, Membership Changes, personal stories and other items.

The 89th Website's coverage, purpose and audience are somewhat different, although there is overlap, with its emphasis on history and personal stories and reaching out worldwide. There are also no size/space limitations but, at the same time, not all Society vets have access to it.

Both editors have been sharing stories and will continue to do so. You can send your stories to either editor with a request, if you wish, that it be copied to the other, or state your preference or exclusion. In the absence of such notice, the editors will exercise their own judgment.

Ordinarily, those stories which contain considerable depth and length as to an important events in our history will be automatically included on our website and, as space permits, in TRW.

Finally, the attempt here is to offer helpful guidance and stimulate, in these waning years of our lives, the recording of our memories in World War II, for laughs or posterity.

John Sherman
Communications Coordinator, 89th Division Society

Stories Recently Placed Online

To view stories recently placed the website, please go to: Memories

New stories include:

Flashbacks to Camp Butner by Clyde Solmon
On and Off the Jeep with the 89th by Geary Sterns
After the War by Robert Kurlander
Cancel Attack...War is Over by Ralph N. Cole
Army Buglers by Eugene W. Berkoff
Memories of an XO by John Halleman
A Close Call by Raymond Kitchell
ASTP at Lyola University by Linden Seamons
Wake Call by Radcliffe Peterson
Rhine Revisited by Gregory E Bandlow (stepson of Darrel Carnell)
Kahla Revisited: The Liberation of a Displaced Persons Camp by Harold Matthews

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Official Announcement from the President

I am pleased to announce that the 89th Division Website on the Internet, established by Raymond (Scotty) Kitchell and his son Mark, together with its Electronic Newsletter, have now been merged with our Rolling W (Newsletter), as an integral component of our Society's communication and publishing enterprise.   The Website is a valuable adjunct to The Rolling W; and it has been decided that such a merger will provide more official status for the Internet activities of the Kitchells.  The Rolling W remains our primary publication, reaching as it does, all of our members.  The Website and E-mail activities of the Kitchells reach about 20% of our membership, as well as interested members of the general public.   

John F. Sherman, an appointed member of our Executive Board, has accepted the responsibility to oversee and coordinate these two activities on behalf of our Executive Board and all of our members.  We hope that all members and friends of our Society will take advantage of both the Website and The Rolling W. 

Carl Peterson
President, 89th Division Society

Washington Area Advisory Group Meeting Summary

The information that follows summarizes the discussion of the Washington Area Advisory Group (WAAG), which meets periodically at the President's request as advisors. The regular members were all present: Carl Peterson, President; Phil McAuliffe, Past President; Dick Lee, Past President; John Sherman, Member of the Executive Board; Bill Scudder, Newly appointed member of the Executive Board; and "Chick" Cecchini, Executive Assistant.


1. Future of the Society - It was concluded that while we should continue our planning for eventual dissolution of our Society, the previous tentative plan for such action around year 2004 should be set aside. The society should continue operations as usual for the foreseeable future. Plans also should be developed to facilitate the passing on of the 89th Division legacy. This would require restructuring of our membership to emphasize admission of "descendants" as well as other types of individuals who demonstrate a definite and legitimate interest in that legacy. It was further concluded that this revised forward look requires seeking wider involvement of younger leadership as soon as possible. 2. Finances - It was recognized that current expenses of the Society are exceeding current revenue and that a near-term remedy is needed, especially one that is reliable. Various alternatives were discussed, such as a dues increase and vigorous solicitation of contributions. Emphasis was placed on assuring the retention of members who may find themselves in difficult financial circumstances.

3. Decision-making Process - Recent experience and increasing anticipation of the need to take emergency action in the event there is a death or incapacitation of an elected official or an actual or perceived financial crisis suggests the need for a by-laws change. Appropriate wording will be proposed at the next business meeting.

4. Official Appointment - The President announced that Bill Scudder had accepted appointment to the Executive Board to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Jim Wilson.

5. Additional Officer Position - It was noted for the record that earlier WAAG discussions had determined the pressing need for the establishment of an officer to function as the supervisor and coordinator of our print and electronic media, i.e., re-establishment of a 3rd V.P. to be titled, 3rd Vice President (Communications). John Sherman has been named on an interim basis to perform this function until an officer is elected in August of this year to carry out the assigned duties of this position.

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Email List Updates

Welcome to our new users (or modified addresses) of the Society's electronic tools, including:

CAPEHART, Charles Cannon Co, 354th Inf

CRALL, George 314th Eng [ASTP-UCLA]

GRIFFITH, Victor D 89th DivArty [ASTP-OSC]

KITCHELL, Raymond E (new address) Sv Btry, 563rd FA Bn

JACKSON, Charles K Co, 355th Inf

MANION, Donald T (deceased, c/o son) I Co, 354th Inf

MARCHLEWICZ, George B Co, 353rd Inf

WILSON, Milton P L Co, 354th Inf

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Richard J. McCarthy

I regret to inform you of the death of Richard J. "Mac " McCarthy of the 714 Ord Co and the 789 Ord Co. He passed away in the later part of January 2002. Harry B. Musser

John Robert Strode C Btry, 563rd FA

I have just received word of the death of a former member of my Battery...after 59+ years unable to get much info on him but want to be certain notice is taken of his life...can the following be placed in your next newsletter? Bill Scudder

John Robert Strode

A member of "C" Battery 563rd Field Artillery Battalion died on 1 January 2002 in Centerville, Iowa. He was one of many Iowa men in his unit. John was a fine man and an excellent soldier during his period of service during WWII. He served as an artilleryman in the Rhine and Central European Campaigns. An irony is the fact that while he was able to serve in combat he was too young to vote in the 1944 election. A salute and farewell to our "Red Leg " comrade.

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Letters and Exchanges

NOTE: The editor may selectively add bold highlighting for emphasis, edit portions for space limitations or to prevent duplication, and add clarifications within brackets. Appropriate replies and/or follow-up can be assumed. For ease of identification and reply, I have also added the sender's email address and name to all incoming communications.

Unless specifically notified otherwise, all incoming messages and attachments may be considered for possible publication in our next Newsletter, on our Website proper, and/or in The Rolling W, if in the opinion of the Editor(s) they would appeal to the general readership.

89th Calvary Recon

From: Cyd Adams

Came across your website for the 89th and am trying to help my father locate information on 89th Calvary Recon Troop (Mechanized). We would greatly appreciate anything that you could help us with. Sincerely, Cyd Adams

Request for Bronze Star information from an 89th grandson

From: keats4u@aol.com

My grandfather served with the 89th and about two years ago, with the help of a US Senator, was awarded the Bronze Star for his service during the war. He insists that the award was given to all those who served in combat during WWII, and is nothing special. I have asked those I know in the military if this is true and not one of them has agreed with him. It has always been my understanding that the CIB was the award given for combat action, and that the Bronze Star was given for performance of duties beyond that. My grandfather has never talked much about his experiences, and I know that there is something to the story he doesn't want to talk about, and since he and I are quite close I don't want to risk upsetting him by asking him to recall something he does not want to.

Could you please pass along any information that could help me in this quest for knowledge?

Request About Vernon Etzler, 355th by His Nephew Raymond

From: Ray Etzler

Hi. My name is Raymond Etzler. My uncle Vernon Etzler was in the 355th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division. I never met him because my Dad was only about 15 at that time. I was wondering if you or anybody else knew him? He was killed on April 8. 1945. He was from Frederick MD. I got your email address from website 89th Inf Div of WWll. I would appreciate any information. Thanks. Raymond Etzler Inquiry about Roy Noland 355th Inf

From: Phil Leonoudakis

My uncle served with the 1st battalion 355th infantry Company A. His name was Roy Noland any information on his wartime experiences would be helpful, since he did not speak much about his time in combat. Thank you, I enjoyed your site. Phil Leonoudakis Ohrdruf/Factories

From: Harald Faeth

I am researching the area Ohrdruf since more then 11 Years. I have cooperated with Yad Vashem in Israel and the USHMM in Washington. I agree with you that it is blamable, that no one can see any memorial or anything else. No one can visit "normally" the memorial on the military training area because it is non-public. I tried to help as well as I try to get help.

So an Ohrdruf liberator, I don't remember the name asked me for making a contact to the officials because he wanted to visit this memorial on the military area.

What I am trying is to get evidences for an existing underground facility, producing V Weapons. All we know until now is a tunnel system about 8 miles from the camp in the so called Jonastal at the road between Krawinkel and the town of Arnstadt, and a small underground communication center on the mil. Area near the C. camp. Many years ago I wrote to the 89. which had a magazine out, but Internet was new and no people had been online, who had seen Ohrdruf systems.

The tunnels in the Jonastal look like 25 straight in the hill duf tunnels, longest about 170 meters. Hich is about 4-5 meters, wide 5 meters.Please; could you help me in any way to locate this "missing" systems, your comrades as well as prisoners are sometimes speaking about? What did they see, rockets, machines, large caves, and WHERE? If I could locate these systems, I could make publicity as newspapers and set the officials here under pressure to make anything to show WHAT HAPPENDE HERE. At the moment the officials do all to let it forget specially because Thuringia is politically a "slightly" right-sided country, and I often got problems in the past years. Please forgive my bad English, it was some time ago I learned it. Best regards Harald Faeth

Dear Harald:

I have forwarded your very interesting inquiry to the President of our Society, Carl Peterson, who previously has taken a personal interest in the subject you have raised and am sure you will hear from him soon. We will also include your request in our official magazine, The Rolling W, and in our 89th Newsletter.

A group of us visited the area two years ago on a "Tour of Remembrance", which you may already have noted from our website. Your English is fine. Besser dann mein Deutsche. Auf weidersehn. Raymond Kitchell

Hi Raymond!

Thanks a lot! I have written 2 books about Ohrdruf. I have the idea that there was done VERY secret research by German SS and scientists in direction of V Weapons. And as I am a pain in the neck for the officials (if US soldiers want to visit the area, or in remembering the CC there). I often have trouble with these people, and so I have problems in accessing files and documents in archives. As I say, many people do all to let the history forget, and to cover it. A well and good thing would be a cooperation between us, to show and make evidence that there have been more then 1 Horror camp (actually there were at least 6 as I discovered) and that existed MUCH more underground facilities in which prisoners had to dig and work. Again thank you! Harry

Letter to Harry from Carl Peterson

Dear Harry. Ray Kitchell tried unsuccessfully to forward your query to me. Since in the process I got your E-mail address, perhaps it is better that I contact you directly and ask you to send me your questions. I would be delighted to pass on to you what I found out about Ohrdruf, and to respond to any questions - most of my information comes from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. As president of the 89th Division Society, WWII for three years now, I have responded to about three different queries from Europeans, and a year or so ago I wrote an article about Ohrdruf, which was published, in our Society magazine. It is an interesting 'can of worms'.

Underground Factories-Reimahg

From: Ronny Beuckmann

I am working on a major project concerning the REIMAHG underground Me 262 factory near the East German town of KAHLA, inside the Walpersberg. The 89th ID was the unit, which liberated the camp, where also a lot of people died and suffered. Hence, I'm trying to obtain as much as information possible concerning the liberation of the camp.

Joe Raymond McFatridge

From: Guy Farmer

My name is Guy Farmer. My father-in-law's name is Joe Raymond (Mac to the men) McFatridge. He was a Staff Sergeant in the 89th in the 153rd or 154th. I am sorry that I don't know all the definitive terms. He is talking more about his time and experiences as he ages. He was wounded in France saving another soldier. He hasn't told us a lot about his experiences in the war but always talks about the 89th or as he says "the Rollin' W '." He is now 82 (will be 83 in March). He is in good health. I have handcrafted a United States Flag from wood and I even attached a plague thanking him for fighting for us. The only thing he wants on it now is an emblem made of 'The Rollin' W ' to attach to it. Is there any chance you could send me (email, maybe) a picture or Color description of that emblem. I have a black and white picture of it but am lost as to the actual color of the background. Any help would be appreciated. He is so proud to have served with the 89th and I want to honor them for him. Thank you sincerely, Guy Farmer 907 W. Choctaw, Marlow, Oklahoma 73055

Dear Guy:

By a slip of the key, I just sent you a downloaded copy of the 89th flag. I can also send you the round patch picture but the colors are the same. I will include your letter in our February Newsletter which I assume you know is available on our website. Your father is an old-time member of the Society and reader of The Rolling W and I am sure he would also enjoy the newsletter. I invite you, as we have other children and relatives, to use your own email address with his name for listing on our email list. It also faculties rapid communication and networking between vets and other interested parties. Just let me know. Raymond (Scotty) Kitchell]

Correction and thank you- Guy and Janice gjfarmer@texhoma.net

I want to thank you so much for your help. I showed my father-in-law our correspondence and he did correct me on some things. I was so glad that he did, too. I could see all the pride he had in him about his time serving with the 89th, the rolling 'W'. Thank you for the flag and the color info.

Joe Raymond (Mac) McFatridge served with the 353rd infantry L Company. He was wounded in Germany, not France. It really didn't hurt my feelings that I got it wrong because it brought out his pride so much. I have printed off all that I can find on the Internet and am giving it to him tomorrow. He looked at some of the names on your email listings and started telling me about some of them. It was nice to hear him talk about the men. I would be proud to let you put my e-mail address on your site with my father-in-law's name on it. Put it in your contact list as: McFatridge, Joe Raymond (Mac) do son-in-law Guy Farmer 353rd Inf, L Company. I will gladly pass all thru to him. As I told you before he will be 83 in March and I swear he is like a man of 60. He walks (long and hard) daily. I think his only deficiency is that he is hard of hearing. His wife, Velma Lee, says that she is the only one he can't hear, though! They are both wonderful people. Needless to say, I am proud to be associated with such a fine man and his family. He has a wonderful daughter that I was lucky enough to marry. Keep up the good work and thank you so very much for your help.

Guy Farmer

After War Memories

From: Wally Dunn

Thanx again for the new instructions on sending info in for publication use...The following is for whatever publication you select and will also send pics if desired, e.g. the pic of our homeward bound ship as it entered New York Harbor...at the end of the war our unit L Comp of 3rd Bn and 353rd Reg 3rd Army was close to Chemnitz in Checkslovakia where we came upon the Russian Infantry with only a scattering of German soldiers left and they were mostly Wermacht (young kids with little training) In a few days our men and the Ruskies were quite friendly and played cards together etc even tho the language barrier was some of the story exchanges became very laughable ........VE Day was verified and we received orders to travel back thru Belgium and Luxemburg on the 'ol 40 and 8 boxcars plus trucks with stopovers in towns wherein we took over the houses for sleeping and eating which was quite a treat after the months of snow and dirt etc for bedding...we eventually got to the cigarette camps and we got Lucky Strike to stay until further orders came which were based on the number of points each individual had ........the higher the number the earlier you would ship out .......we used most of our time sludging in the mud in daytime but at after chow we would start our poker games that lasted 'till dawn or whenever breakfast chow was called .......game pots were very large with both normal franc and the GI issue of smaller size francs used ...the last hand before breakfast was HUGE with everyone putting in all their small denomination francs in as nobody wanted to handle the accumulation...games all were very loud and spirited with plenty of booze available as we were all officers and receive half dozen bottles regularly...my favorite was cognac by the glassful not snifter shots !!!! this period did not last long for me as I was sent to a General Hospital in Rouen France for a couple of months ...was lucky to have no wounds but had trench feet and crotch infections and all my gums pulled away from my teeth and eating was difficult and painful so I was fed thru straws to recover ...also had stomach problems so every morning they put a tube thru the nose to my innards and tested different chemicals to clear up the problem and then switched to the tube thru the mouth as the nose got infected .......not pleasant but the good part was they released me each day for a couple months and took a truck to Paris for the day but had to check back in before 10pm so no nite life !!! Saw every part of Paris before they sent me on a leave Cannes on the Mediterranean with hotel on the beach for 2 weeks leave that cured a lot of my problems!!!!!! Later sent on to England where I was in London on VJ DAY and that I will never forget being in front of Buckingham Palace when the King and Queen came out with Churchill on the balcony and the noise stayed a high pitch the rest of the nite as the crowd moved next to Trafalgar Square to watch the nude girls jump in the fountain pool ...can't remember after that for the next couple days as was so drunk.... but got conscious 3 days later and was on a train to South Hampton with a Rear Admiral of the English Navy going to his summer home on the Isle of Wight.........Whatta celebration that was !!!!!! Was then transferred to Tidworth Barracks south of London waiting for a ship home.... initially it was to be the Queen Mary but the 101st took the whole ship as they were to march down in parade at NYC so we were put on the air carrier Wasp (#2 as the original was sunk at Midway) Received my promotions to Captain as I had been given command of Co L between the Moselle and the Rhine crossings and paperworks don't move very fast in the field...we were told we would be home in 4+ days but we came into NYC 11+ days later!!!! Reason for the delay was the worst storm the Captain of the ship said he had ever seen and the 7000+ infantry men on board agreed ...my cabin in the bow was leaking and my roommates and I were moved back amid ship ...all the men in hangar deck were sleeping in hammocks five high and as the top man got sick and threw up on the man below who in turn did the same to man below etc, etc ...you didn't get to stay in the hammock during the day as you were in long lines for chow ...the lines went all over the ship thru narrow gangways and when you got to the chow line it was hilarious (if you weren't there to be a part of it !!!!!) eating in mess kits meant that when the ship lurched you would flip the lid into the face of the man behind you and he would probably to the same to the man behind him ......most of the food was mashed potatoes etc all with black gravy etc .......the floors got so slippery that men were falling to the floor and sliding aft as the ship hit another wave (many of 30-40 ft high) nobody was allowed on flight deck and the entire trip was below with heads all clogged up and lower decks slippery with regurgitations .......the ship kept changing course which didn't help any........was OD one nite and stopped a lower hammock soldier who was using a knife to cut his throat .......its tough to imagine but I definitely was glad that I was infantry rather than seaman !!!!! The storm constantly got worse and tore a 5 inch gun loose from a turret and the 18inch I beams holding up the flight deck were bent down to almost touch the bow ...my family in Chicago cut the picture of the ship with all damage showing and had it framed and hung in my bedroom to remind me how thankful I am to have returned home safely from the ocean trip and the trip thru France to meet the Russians .........all of the above is to the best of my memory which at times is not always as good as it was 60 yrs ago so would be happy to hear from anyone who went thru some of the same experiences God Bless!!!!

Guard Duty

From: Darrel Carnell

Believe it or not Ed; I NEVER memorized those general orders, nor do I think I was ever quizzed about them. All I knew that was that I had to stay awake and to salute every passing officer. Which I did most of the time.

Enfields? I never saw one. My first unit (and the one in which I took basic training) was a 40 m/m anti aircraft outfit stationed at Camp Haahn near Riverside, California. When we convoyed to the Mojave desert for further training one or two of the guys riding the back of those six by six trucks were issued "rifles" consisting of a length of aluminum tubing screwed to a wooden "stock" for use in fending off enemy aircraft. I think the first honest to goodness firearm I was ever issued was that dumb carbine which I got, I believe, at Camp Butner. It was manufactured by a typewriter company (whether it was Underwood, Smith-Corona or Singer I can't remember. But it was the lousiest piece of junk I ever saw and didn't shoot worth a damn. But maybe I was expecting too much from something that was nothing more than a stocked pistol with a long barrel.

I do remember rolling my pack, though. Tent pole, tent pins, extra socks and underwear, toilet articles, cigarettes, blanket and shelter half, all held together with the tent rope. We never did get proper packs, though. Just those musette bags that we had to convert to packs.

Soldier's Handbook? I don't think I ever saw one. Come to think about it I never even heard of one until your e-mail. I also remember scrubbing those canvas leggings until they were almost white. Gl soap, Gl scrub brush, a bucket of water and lots of elbow grease. Were we still wearing leggings when we left Camp Butner? I know for sure that we had combat boots when we landed at Le Havre because I can still hear the jingle of those loose buckles as the guys went to the latrine in the middle of the night. But when did we first get those combat boots?

Speaking of Camp Haahn and those 40 rn/m Bofors anti aircraft guns has renewed my interest in learning whether their semi-automated aiming system was ever utilized in combat. The gun, itself, was a platform-mounted affair with seats (or saddles) for a soldier who tracked horizontal movement with cross hairs mounted in an iron circle and another soldier who tracked vertical movement with his cross hairs. As I remember it, the crew chief fired the gun by stepping on a floor-mounted treadle. There were a couple of other guys in the crew who fed the ammo into the gun. I think (but am not sure) that the ammo came in four or five round clips.

Separate and apart from the gun were a gasoline operated electric generator and what I guess was a primitive analog computer. The "computer" was a tripod-mounted box like affair with aiming periscopes on either end. Three men served the "computer" (one man was responsible for keeping the target aircraft aligned vertically in his cross hairs, the second man was responsible for the horizontal alignment while the third man entered the estimated range to the target. The "computer" was connected to the gun via an electrical cable which transmitted signals that were picked up by the gun's servo motors. If the number three man correctly estimated the range and the number one and number two men had the target centered in their cross hairs a hit on the target was theoretically possible.

I didn't stay on a gun crew very long because I was reassigned to instruct battalion bugle school. In recognition of my outstanding ability as a bugle instructor (just kidding, Scotty) I was promoted to Tech 5 and carried on the roster as a power plant operator. As I remember it, that power plant and generator was a pretty big piece of equipment. It was probably the size of a six by six truck engine and I think it was water-cooled. I remember taking my turn at the "computer' to track the P38's that were stationed across the road at March Field and when the 38's got close in the barrel of the gun swung with alarming (and obviously out of control) speed.

Scotty, If it is not inappropriate I wish you'd run my query about combat use of the "computerized" aiming system in our web page. I didn't stay on a gun crew long enough to learn whether the wild gyrations induced by attempting to track a nearby target was ever overcome. At the time it was my guess that the "computer" would be useful only in tracking lumbering bombers flying a straight and level path. It was also my guess that the "computer' would be disengaged if the targets were low flying, strafing fighter aircraft. I'm wondering whether the "computer" and power plant even accompanied the guns during our time in combat or whether they were just abandoned as a bad idea. Perhaps one of our AA guys can give us an answer.[Ed: If you can, please email Darrel at the address above]


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