January 2003 Newsletter
For all veterans, relatives and friends of the
89th INFANTRY DIVISION
WORLD WAR II
89th Memorial Monument, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Table of Contents: Click on the Link Below to Go To That Section:
Announcements and Editor's Notes
Email List Update
Letters and Exchanges
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Announcements, Editor's Notes and Website Developments
I received a Christmas gift from Mark which may be of interest to you
all. It was a video tape on the 89th Infantry Division which is a bit
misleading but nevertheless is of interest to we vets. It begins with a
mundane listing of all the brass by units in a drowning voice description but picks
up as it goes along. Some pictures and tapes are shown later, nothing you
probably haven't already seen but you might find it a useful reference.
The other portion of the tape includes some graphic descriptions in general which are
also interesting but are not connected with the 89th. The tape is put
out by Butler Military Videos, 95 Private Drive 551, Ironton, Ohio 45638.
This issue is comparatively large because of the backlog from December
due to the holidays. If you have not received a copy our email listings
or wish the have the latest issue, send request to me at
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All emails concerning the content of the website and newsletter, as
well as requests for assistance on substance, should be addressed
to my father at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technical questions, e.g., requests for links to other sites, errors on the 89th site,
and non-content items, should be addressed to me at email@example.com.
When in doubt, copy to both addresses.
Problems and Solutions
The follow exchange is included here to illustrate the problems we
encounter and how we are trying to overcome them.
Subject: Article by John " HEBERT "
Please know that the "Personal Stories" is indeed an excellent site.
My heart and prayers go out to every one of the authors. For it is due to their courage and their fallen comrades that we are able to live our lives today with such freedom.
We were disappointed where the article written by my father in law, John Hebert, had misspelled words in addition to spelling his last name wrong.
I ask for your consideration in correcting the misspelled words as well as our last name in his personal story. Thank you for your kindness. Sincerely,
I regret particularly the misspelling of your father-in-law's name and also any other misspellings that appear. If you can point them out, this will help me identify and correct them. How accurately and quickly we can put theses stories/corrections on our website depends on various factors, e.g., how are they received in the first place and how easily they can be converted into a WORDdoc by me if necessary, their size (if of reasonable length my Son and co-webmaster can convert them to HTML of whatever strange language the internet requires, or if it is very long, we have to employ a professional to do it). Mark and I provide our services without charge and are proud to do this and in the case of Mark in addition to his full-time job. On stories of considerable length, and the need sometimes to update/modernize the website structure, the Society for the 89th Inf Div has proved us with funding support.
Please do not feel that I am over-reacting to your request which is certainly not my intent. I am using this occasion to explain what is involved and will include this in our next Newsletter for general information particularly aimed at the relatives of our veterans whom we are reaching out for.
Please extend my sincere apology to John and tell him, if you wish, that he can keep closer contract with his old buddies and events by receiving our monthly Newsletters which can be sent to him using your email address and without cost.
Happy New Year, Raymond Kitchell
[Laura was kind enough to send us the necessary corrections which will be made ASAP]
Through an evolutionary process, the purpose and focus of our website
is becoming clearer vis-à-vis the official organ of the Society,
The Rolling W. The website per se has always been exclusively concerned with
our history and personal stories reflecting it but, at the same time, providing
electronic tools for the Society, primarily through its Society
Page. While we will continue the latter function as long as
requested and without charge, including the exchange of stories with the TRW, our
focus is clearly on the history side.
It is my son's and my expectation that we will continue these efforts indefinitely, with
or without Society funding support as their resources diminish. At the same
time, the 89th Newsletter, which is a component of the website, is becoming
increasingly valuable as a tool for networking and exchanges, especially with
the relatives and friends of our division who are increasingly
making use of it, and the development of closer and quicker communications with
the Organization Representatives of the Society.
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Email List Updates
It would greatly simplify our tasks if I were notified promptly of
address changes, errors or when one is no longer using the Internet
so we can make the necessary adjustments effectively and in a
timely basis. The task of maintaining a current and growing
up-to-date list is becoming increasingly complicated. We're not
complaining, in fact we are overjoyed, but please remember
that we are volunteers and, in my case, not as sharp as I
used to be. If you are sending a message or follow-up, please
identify yourself and your (or relative's) unit, as I may
no longer have your original. Thank you.
ALLISON, William E-C Co, 353rd Inf c/o nephew, Douglas Allison
BASO, Elido-C Co, 314th Eng (c/o daughter)
BELL, Lindel Samuel-353rd Inf (Deceased) c/o grandson
BLOSS, Robert F-Co B, 354th Inf c/o son Bob
DREVDAHL, Robert-HQCo, 1st Bn, 354th Inf (Deceased) c/o son, John
FOWLER, Charles E - 89th Cav Recon Troop
GLENCHER, Harry -Hg Co, 353rd Inf
GOODBOUT, Edward A-3rd Bn, 355th Inf (deceased) c/o daughter, Kathy
GRIFFITH Jr., Albert R-M Co, 353rd Inf (deceased) c/o Rob Ziegler, son-in-law
HALL Jr, Harmon C-Co C, 354th Inf c/o son, Clinton
HALLOCHAK, Andrew-314th Eng Bn c/o Drew Hallochak (son)
HANCOCK, David P-Co G, 355th Inf
HEBERT, John A-F Co, 353rd c/o daughter Laura
KEMP, Lyle E-B Co, 353rd Inf (deceased) c/o grandson, David
LITTLE, George S-941st FA (deceased)c/o son Douglas
LITTLE, Ray D. -M Co, 355th Inf
NICHOLSON, Harold E.-405th Qm Co (deceased) c/o Grandson
PALMER, Robert Emerson -M Co, 353rd Inf (Deceased)c/o Vanessa Gradall (great niece)
PETERSON, Carl L Son of Carl
PLUMBY, Phil - A Co, 354th Inf
SCHUETZ, William-Co C, 353rd Inf c/o Son Billy
STUEWE, Co F-353rd Inf
WALDNER, Leonard F --Cannon Co, 353rd Inf
WEISS, Murray-Co F., 353rd Inf
YOUNG, Charles-Cn Co, 3rd Bn, 355th Inf (Air Cadet)
YOUNG, Paul C.-Cn Co, 353rd Inf
ZELLE, Lester-Cn Co, 355th Inf
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Robert Drevdahl, Hq Co,1st Battalion, 354th Inf passed away
on 12/27/2002 at the age of 84. See letter below from his son. RIP
Return to top
Letters and Exchanges
The purpose of this core section of the newsletter is to provide
an electronic mechanism for the rapid exchange of information and
requests regarding our Division, its veterans and friends as well as
including current items of related interest. I like to think
of this task as gate keeping facilitating networking between our vets and
friends and responding to inquiries by drawing on the knowledge of
those still with us, and particularly those active in our Society with
similar responsibilities and concerns. Because of the many messages
and follow-ups received, and my difficulty at times to keep them straight,
it is requested that each message include any previous information provided.
Letters are included roughly in the order of receipt with editing
at a minimum. Editor's remarks, if any, are included in brackets.
REIMAHG Research From Patrick Brion PatrickBrion@hotmail.com
Almost once a week, I go on this fantastic site about the 89th.As promised, I
wanted to keep the veterans of the 89th informed about the latest news
of the REIMAHG. First of all, very important, I finally managed to have contact with
the 89th Regional Support Command. The date of the Memorial Day 2003
is now also fixed: 10th May 2003 in Kahla. One of the items I
discussed with the 89th RSC was to invite a delegation of the 89th together
with veterans whom actually liberated the camps around the REIMAHG.
Next week, I am off again to Kahla to continue the research. The
Belgian national television is also joining, since they are
preparing a major documentary about the REIMAHG. So, the f
first contact has been made with the 89th RSC.
Next week, the secretary of the Belgian Veterans who were there
as forced laborers and I will discuss the final program of
the memorial day together with the local German authorities.
Hence, I would like to launch already the appeal on the website of the
89th. It would be fantastic to have also veterans of the 89th
present at the Memorial Day.
So, dear Raymond and Marc, I hope to count on your support to
spread the idea of veterans joining us next year. I
can already give some information. On Friday the 09th May, we
will be visiting Buchenwald KZ and in the afternoon, a visit
inside the mountain where once the REIMAHG was together with
an exposition will be organized. This is something a lot of
people have been asking me and I finally managed to convince higher
German authorities to help us, since the mountain is off-limits.
Furthermore, I would like to ask you, if I could also join the
89th Association. I do need some explanation about how to deposit the
20 $ for joining. Hope to hear from both of you very soon,
Patrick Brion Phone : 00 32 (0) 2 701 2473 or 2455 Fax : 0032 (0) 2 701 2959
[As a "Friend of the Society for the 89th Division", you are
certainly welcome to join us but the dues have gone up because
our membership is declining. An Invitation for Membership is
The Society is now accepting applications from relatives and friends
of the 89th Infantry Division WWII for Associate Memberships. You may
enroll by sending a check for $30 for annual membership to Larry
Berg, Treasurer 89th Div, 818 San Antonio Pl., Colorado Springs,
CO 80906. Please do not forget to include your address,
wife's name and, if you wish, your phone number and email
address to accommodate exchanges.
Please include your relationship to the veteran (alive or deceased) or,
if a friend of the division, a brief explanation of your
interest. Membership, which does not include voting rights, entitles you to
receive the Society's official magazine, The Rolling W (TRW), published three
times a year. You are also invited to use the 89th
electronic tools, the website and newsletter, available
at www.89infdivww2.org without charge.]
Another Message From Sgt. Brion
[This just came in the day we are putting the newsletter together. Mark]
Best wishes for the forthcoming year.
As promised a “update” on the research. For the last ten days,
I was in Kahla in order to continue the research on the REIMAHG.
I had the Belgian National Television with me. On April 24th they
will broadcast the magazine concerning the REIMAHG.
Our website is up:
We are working very hard to put in English and other languages.
Past Wednesday and Thursday, we gave a
major presentation to the local people in Kahla. Over 800 people
came and it was a major success. Furthermore, we received a huge amount
of pictures (some of them were kept secret for over 50 years) and
very useful hints. This proved to be a very interesting week.
I also just received the historical book on the 89th. Superb book !
Hope to hear from you !
Best wishes to all the Veterans of the 89th !
Thanks-from "Pete" Peterson III From: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting the website of the 89th Division.
My father, Carl L Peterson, Jr., informed me off its existance.
Does the website have a "Guestbook" that I can sign? I regret not
being able to join the 1999 tour with my father.
I'm hoping to make it up by taking him back to Europe this summer to visit the site of his father's
(my grandfather's) WWI experience as commander of the 112th Infantry Regiment of
the 28th Division during the battle of the Hurtgen Forest. The
28th was the first Americal Division to cross over into
Germany in September 1944.
Thanks again for putting together a very informative website. I
will have to join my Dad for the 2004 reunion in Washington, DC.
[Hi Pete. Glad you like our website. Sorry we don't have or
plan a "Guestbook" but your request is being included in January Newsletter
which is also archeived on the website.]
[Pete: We would love to publish any pictures or stories from your Europe trip, Mark Kitchell, co-webmaster]
Inquiry re David Goldberg from Todd_Berkoff@reid.senate.gov
My grandfather, Pvt. David Goldberg, was an infantryman in the 89th Infantry
Division during World War II. He was riding on a Sherman tank on April
25, 1945 and he was wounded by shrapnel when a German 88 gun
fired on them. A few others on the tank were killed. I am trying
to figure out the location in Germany where this action occurred and his unit
designation (company, battalion, etc.). Do you have any information
on this event? It was probably one of the last combat actions of
the 89th Division before VE Day. Thank you for your time.
Office of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3542 - Phone
(202) 224-7327 - Fax
[Editor: Can anyone help?]
Ray D. Little Discovers Website From email@example.com
I have just discovered your web page, through my grandson, and find it
very interesting. I was a weapons-carrier driver in Company M, 355th
regiment, machine gun. I spent a day and night inside Ohrdruf
patrolling the camp to try and keep the inmates and other displaced
persons, whom they brought in, from hurting themselves. Also, the
first night they got hold of some schnaps and a few weapons and
they were really having a ball. These were the people brought in as
the inmates were in no shape to do much of anything. We discovered
a lot of electronic equipment underneath the building in which
we were billeted. I do have a number of photos taken that
first day of the pitiful condition of the inmates, mostly all dead.
Again, I find this most interesting. In the list of names
I see my Sgt., Virgil Franzen. Our first gunner was Gilbert Korth and I located him
last year. He lives in Wisconsin.
Ray D. Little
Hobbs, New Mexico
[Ray is now on our email list c/o his son. See my reply below]
Where the heck have you been hiding out? Checked the latest Society register
and noted you are not a member. You don't have to be to enjoy our
website and Newsletter but you've been missing out on a lot. Don't
miss our next and probably last reunion in 2004 here in DC, not far
from where we live. I remember that good old schnapps. It gave me an
ingrown toe nail when I first tried it in Neufchatel. Glad you have
enjoyed our website.
[From Ray Kitchell] Have you read some of our monthly Newsletters which are also
archived on our website? You should find them interesting. If you would
like to join the Society and receive their magazine, The Rolling W,
I can give you the details. In any rate I'd like to add
your name and unit, using your grandson's email address I assume, on our 89th
email list and the website. I will then send you the latest,
full listings as an attachment to my message.
I would like to
include your email to me in our January Newsletter. You may
get some responses. Please let me know and best wishes to you and
[From Ray David]
I've been here but, I didn't know anything about any organization for the
89th until this week. I had checked the American Legion magazine
a few times but never have seen anything about the 89th. I'm
glad to hear someone has done something and I am looking forward to
getting information from you and also interested in joining the Society.
My grandson found the site but this is my email address. It's
okay with me if you include my email in the January Newsletter.
There are a number of people I would like to contact but so far I have found
only one, Gilbert Korth. In the first email I mention Sgt. Franzen as
my Sgt.--but, on further thought, my squad leader was Sgt. Pyle. Franzen was
in my company. I'm happy to have found you and look forward to hearing from
Also, best wishes to you and yours. David Little Company M, 355 Infantry.
Story on Ohrdruf From: TRCleary4@aol.com
My name is Tom Cleary. I believe you know my father, Bob Cleary, a veteran
of the 89th Infantry Division who has previously contacted you regarding the
liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp. Over the years, I have tried to get my father to talk more publicly about his combat experiences, but like many veterans of "the greatest generation," he is reluctant to discuss this chapter of his life. He feels he did what was
asked of him and served his country with honor - end of story.
Naturally, I am proud of his service and the history that was made in the
process. As such, I have been quietly promoting my father's wartime exploits
for three reasons: 1) to teach up and coming generations of the horrors
that were inflicted by the Nazis on others; 2) remind people of the
sacrifices that have been made by those who have served in the armed forces
to defend freedom and oppose tyranny; and 3) give some credit to a
modest old soldier. I would appreciate it if you could post the attached
newspaper article on the 89th Infantry Division's website, under the section
devoted to "Ohrdruf History.'
This story was published on the cover of the local section of
the San Diego Union-Tribune on May 27, 2002 - Memorial Day.
Thank you, Tom Cleary
[We have the story Tom and it will be online ASAP given our rather
large backlog. We are now restricting our request for annual Society
funding to contract for outside assistance to reduce the backlog.]
Request for memories of deceased father From: John Drevdahl¸ firstname.lastname@example.org
My father, Robert Drevdahl, was in the 89th Infantry. He passed away
12/27/2002, at the age of 84. He was a Pvt in HQ co, 1st Battalion, 354th
Infantry Regiment. He drove a jeep for a Major (I'm fairly sure it
was Major F. S. Willis).
He never wanted to talk about his combat days, he spoke only of the time he spent in Austria
during the occupation. From his papers and memorabilia, and my mother's knowledge,
the above I know to be true. On your site I read an account of Major
Willis in the personal stories as written by Joseph E. Halleman, who was
also in HQ co. Mr. Halleman mentions Major Willis "and his driver".
There is no email contact for Mr. Halleman but perhaps he would remember Bob Drevdahl (from
Illinois). I would appreciate any information anyone reading this could give about his
military service. Thank you, and thanks for your website.
[Please contact Elmer Herbaly, Organization Representative for the
354th at Herbaly@aol.com-Editor]
New Partner From: Conrad Stuewe, Company F, 353 infantry division, email@example.com
I am sorry I did not know about the reunion in Indiana last summer. My
name was spelled wrong in the 89th division book printed just after the
war March of 1947. Please add my email to your newsletter information.
701 Lake Hinsdale Dr. apt. #102
Willowbrook, Il. 60527
[In preparing your message for this months Newsletter, I checked and
did not find your name in the latest 89th Society Roster. Membership
is not necessary to use our electronic tools but you may
wish to avoid such a mistake, particularly since our next and
possibly last reunion will be held in Washington DC in 2004. I can
help you if you are interested in joining our Society and
receiving its official magazine, The Rolling W, published three
times a year. Let me know.]
Inquiry on Sources From: Charles Stearns firstname.lastname@example.org
First, let me say that your electronic document/website is great! Without
antagonizing anyone, I prefer it to the hardcopy Rolling W I read when
over at my father's house.
My father is Gerry Stearns, H Co. 2nd Bn, 354 Inf Regt. I've been trying
to cobble together his awards, but I'm finding it hard to verify some
unit awards or blanket personal awards. First, I've been told that ETO
CIB awardees were eligible for/awarded the Bronze Star Medal without "V"
Device, for "Campaign." Are you aware of that or can point me in the
right direction to verify?
Second, I have looked for the both the unit awards and blanket awards for
the 89th ID and I have not found a document that speaks to either.
Based on own experience I think that if I read the regulations correctly, a soldier
who was with the 89th from 43-VE Day should have the WWII Victory Medal
and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/Bronze Star Device
for the Rhineland Campaign. Beyond that I draw a total blank.
Are those correct and are there any ones I missed?
Lastly, any idea where I might be able to get web-based pictures of
the 89th in action? I know you have several, but I was looking for a
specific one of the regts in the town on the near side of the Rhine
(St. Goar?) with all the assault gear, waiting to go over. It was in
a book, but I saw it many, many years ago. Thank you for any help you
can provide. Great site! Looking forward to revisiting it.
CPT (P), FA
Operations Officer for Plans
I Corps Artillery
[Your father has been a major contributor and of considerable assistance to
me but your range of questions is large. Therefore, here it is
on our Newsletter and if you don't get some assistance from Society officers/members, please let me know me
know and , given the time, I'll pursue it further.]
A welcome comment From: Paul Young email@example.com
This is the correct e-mail address for Paul C Young Cn Co 353Inf. I
changed from the other to get rid the spam. Thanks to You (and Son) for
the great job you do on the web site. I recommend it to my WWII friends and
their comment is always the same. "Wish my outfit would do something like that".
Thank you, Patrick Stumler (grandson)
Request for info on Uncle From: Thomas Walter Thomswalter000@aol.com
I would like to know how to get in touch with anyone who may have
served with my uncle 1st lt. Peary Livingston Nelson, 3rd Bn, 355th Infantry
Regiment, Company "M", wounded 13 march 1945 Germany/Rhineland! Please
Send any info.
[This inquiry was forwarded to the Org Rep]
Request for exchange From: Robert C. and Lydia T. Maerdian firstname.lastname@example.org
[An example of networking.]
My name is Bob (Robert C.) Maerdian and I am the son of Col. Frank R.
Maerdian. I ran across 89th Inf Div web while searching for the Ft.
Hunter Ligget web site. I want to go hunting there and one must make a
reservation to hunt there.
At any rate, I wanted to contact you as soon as I could regarding the
89th Div. Several years ago, I was able to contact a gentleman named Wolf
(Wolfe?) who had been in my dad's regiment of the 89th. Dad had commanded
the 353 Inf. Dad died in 1984, and I was able to maintain contact with Mr.
Wolf for a few years, then during a move I lost his address (around
Portland, OR, as I remember).
Mr. Wolf was working on a regimental history and a Division museum. I
did get a letter from the man who was writing up the history and we also
had a long chat on the phone one day. I was going to send him some material but I
was burglarized and my computer was stolen and much of the information I needed
to send up to Mr. Wolf and this man was lost with it.
Does the 89th Division have a Division museum? Among the items my dad
really kept and cared for was the operation map that the 353 S-2 section must
have maintained. I have this map and would really like to see it go to the
My dad never really talked about his experiences very much. In fact, he
never told me how he got wounded, I'm not sure he even told my mother.
Whenever he was asked he dismissed the question with, "it was only a scratch."
For a while I received the 89th Division Association magazine and in
one of the issues a gentleman wrote an article about the incident when
my dad got wounded.
When we toured Europe in 1947, when we came to a location where the 353
had been my dad's only comments were: "I got a bath in that house" or
"that building was our CP". "Bogardus (his driver) sure hated artillery fire,
and I don't blame him."
My snail mail address is 2045 Mulberry Lane, Placerville, CA 95667
I sure would like to get this map to a museum where it would be there for the
men who helped write the Division history in WWII. Also anything else that I
can find as I sort through stuff here in Placerville.
Please keep in touch, Robert "Bob" Maerdian
[This request was forwarded to the 353rd Organizational Representative, James
Horner, at Jhorn72@aol.com Please contact David Kemp email@example.com re
his ideas for an online museum and keep us involved. Thanks. ]
Getting in touch From: Tom Walter Thomswalter000@aol.com
Would like to know how to get in touch with anyone who may have served with
my uncle, 1st lt. Peary Livingston Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 355th infantry Regiment, Co
"M", wounded 13 march 1945 Germany/Rhineland! Please send
any info to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Forwarded to Ass't Org Rep email@example.com ]
Oregon State College From: Gregg Kleiner firstname.lastname@example.org
We have included a link to your ASTP website in the December issue of
"MOMENTUM! @ OSU Engineering," our electronic newsletter, which just went
out to some 2500 subscribers yesterday. I'm not sure you're a
subscriber or not, but you can see the story (and subscribe to
the newsletter) at:
Chris Bell is away for the rest of the month, but I wanted to be
sure you saw the story. I hope it brings some people to your site.
Gregg Kleiner, Editor
College of Engineering
Oregon State University
[My thanks to you all, particularly to Chris Bell, Associate Dean,
Engineering, Larry Landis, Archivist, and the then President Paul G.
Risser for his support GO BEAVERS!]
Welcome-new member From: son of Clinton Hall email@example.com
Yes please list his name and I would like to join. My father would not
talk about what happened to him and the few things I have gathered
about him was the crossing of the Rhine river and I know he was
crushed from his waist down. I also found out that he was a point man
if that is the right terminology. I am a Vietnam veteran.
Memory and Pride From: Charles E Fowler firstname.lastname@example.org
I too was in the 89th; had a parallel path to the 89th as you did; enlisted
Dec 16th, 1941 to Fort Sill for school then to the 605th Tank Destroyer
Bn aka TDS Recon Co at Fort Custer Michigan then to Camp Hood. At
Hood we gave demos to other units in the art of recon then I was called
into the orderly room and was told I was going to join the 89th Cav
Recon Troop as their too was same as the recon in the TDs so
for me nothing changed.
Yes the boat ride was bad and the trip across Europe was rough.
We are now older and wiser and are a part of history.
Happy to have been and still am an 89er.
Forerunner for story From: James O Hahs email@example.com
Last week I spent a few hours at the Stars & Stripes Museum and Library, in Bloomfield Mo,
about 30 Miles from Sikeston. I was researching for an article
that appeared while we were in combat within Germany. I was looking
for an article as back up for another story. I did not find the
issue I was seeking, but learned a lot about the Stars & Stripes publication, which had
its "birthplace" in that town during the Civil War. The article I
was hunting was apparently in the Paris Edition, for the London
edition of that date did not have the reduced area map and article I
However, I ran across several articles pertaining to the 89th and our combat zone.
Two of these brought to mind things I experienced either directly or
offhandedly. I am sending (as a starter) an article, from March26,1945
London edition, which verified an experience I have previously never seen
any publication or mention of. I am sending as a "Rich Text File",
which surprisingly turns out to become a Word result.
If you receive this in a usable and editable format please respond
and I shall write my experience prior to the crossing.
James O Hahs, Sv Co 354 Inf. 89th Inf Div. WWII 1944-45
[Have your story on "Sailors Inside Germany" but no
jpeg photos. Please advise.]
Doug Little's request From: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I ask your membership if they encountered my father at the
Cigarette camp(s) between July and Dec 1945? He was an acting
sergeant for 3 months and worked in the Post Office. This
would mean that he would have met a lot of soldiers.
[Father's name is George S. Little]
Information on Al Griffith Requested From: Rob Ziegler Zieg47831@aol.com
I can understand mess ups on computers, I am not very literate myself
when it comes to E-mail. Anyway my name is Rob Ziegler and I am the
son in law of Albert Griffith (now deceased). On behalf of his family
I am trying to put together his war years, that is his time in Europe
which he never talked about when he was alive. We found out that he had
received two Bronze Stars and are very interested in how he received them.
In searching the Web we came across your name as being in the 89th Div
353 Inf. M Co. and thought that you might have known him. Any information that
you can give us would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
[Forwarded to James Horner, 353rd Org Rep]
Web Site From: Jack Gesin Cn. Co. 353rd JackGes@worldnet.att.net
Thanks, just went into the 89th Site for the first time in months and
am very much impressed with the job you two have done for us. As my
health deteriorates it will become even more important to me. Thanks a
lot for your efforts.
[That says a lot to Mark and me]
Sorry for the delay in replying to you message of the 22nd.
I am attaching as a WORDdoc, our latest update email list of
89th vets and friends which includes many 355th names and addresses.
Assuming your father is still alive, I looked in the latest 89th
Society roster (2001) and did not find him. If he is alive and well, we
invite him to join the 89th Society for the few years it has left. In any or either event, you are also eligible, due to recent by-law amendments, to join us as a "Friend of the Society", which will help us financially and includes three issues a year of the Society's official magazine, The Rolling W. I will include your request in our January Newsletter (found on our website) and am also forwarding this to James Caruso, Ass't Organization Representative for the 355th.
Please let me know if I can be of any further service and
Happy New Year.
[Sorry but I lost your name and address. Please email me if you read this. Ray Kitchell]
Welcome aboard to father and son From: email@example.com
Dear Mr. Kitchell,
I recently found the web site for the 89th Infantry Division. My dad, Robert
F. Bloss, was a mortar crewman in Co B, of the 354th. He is alive and
well in Boonville, Missouri.
I read your battle history with interest and printed off a hard copy
to send to Dad. He is not a computer user but was very interested in
learning more about what I've found.
I read to him names from the list of email contacts and he
recognized two listed from Co B. One was the sergeant of
his weapons squad. I'll try to connect with both
on his behalf.
Thanks for the work that you have done to record the work of
this group of brave Americans. It makes me very proud.
[In reply to my response, father and son are on now our
email list and are interested in joining the Society.
Information on applying was provided.]
Request for information on uncle From: Tom Walter Thomswalter000@aol.com
Would like to know how to get in touch with anyone who may have served with
my uncle St Lt. Peary Livingston Nelson, 3rd Battalion, 355th Infantry Regiment, Company
"M", wounded 13 March 1945 Germany/Rhineland. Send any info to
[Sorry for the delay in replying to you message of the 22nd.
I am attaching as a WORDdoc, our latest update email list of 89th
vets and friends which includes many 355th names and addresses. Assuming your father
is still alive, I looked in the latest 89th Society roster (2001) and did not
find him. If he is alive and well, we invite him
to join the 89th Society for the few years it has left.
In any or either event, you are also eligible, due to recent by-law amendments,
to join us as a "Friend of the Society", which will
help us financially and includes three issues a year of the Society's official
magazine, The Rolling W. I will include your request in our January
Newsletter (found on our website) and am also forwarding this to James Caruso,
Ass't Organization Representative for the 355th. Please let me know
if I can be of any further service and Happy New Year]
A Mimi Remembrance Tour From: Pat Stumler ZEPHEADPAT@aol.com
Mr. Kitchell, I saw on your website that you and several others had done
a remembrance tour back in 1999. I am very interested in planning
a similar trip, hoping to visit some of the areas that my grandfather, Harold
"Pat" Nicholson of the 405th Quartermaster, passed through in
1945. I don't really know where to begin as far as planning this trip.
If you have any type of itinerary or other information that might help
me in the planning, it would be most appreciated.
Also, if possible could I be added to the email list under this
address? Thank you very much sir for your time. With Regards, Patrick Stumler
I will be happy to add your grandfather's name to our email lists.
Your request has been forwarded to Louis Cecchini who was the
principle planner for our Society-sponsored "Tour of Remembrance.]
Ray, thanks for your prompt response, I found grandpa's discharge paper and
it says he served in the 405th Quartermaster Company.
I really don't know what his role was in the fighting, but his
discharge says he had a military occupational specialty as
a "Warehouseman" and that his military qualification was "Pistol SS;
Carbine Expert". It would be a dream come true if I could
find out more about my grandpa and I know my mom
and my uncle would be elated as well. Thank you, Patrick Stumler
[This request was forwarded to Chick Cecchini who replied as follows]
Subject: Your Planned Trip Re WW2 405 QM Co. Path in 1945
For Pat Stumier, Raymond Kitchell passed on your message asking
for info as to the itinerary for our 1999 Tour of Remembrance.
I can provide that for you but need a little time to do as
I am working on some deadlines at the moment and cannot respond
to your needs right now. I have the data in my files and will
massage it to provide you what you need. In the meanwhile please
tell me about when and for how long you plan to make
this trip. How many of you will be making the trip? Please acknowledge.
Request from Germany From: Marcus Neuman firstname.lastname@example.org
I am looking for some information about the prisoners camp of the 354th
Infantry Regiment in Blankenhain, Blankenheim near Wiemar is my hometown,
and I'm interested to research some facts about it's history in WWII.
Especially I tru to localize it, but till now it was not possible
for me. maybe you can help me. I would ve very happy about some
facts or contacts. Thanks, Marcs Naumaann
[Forwarded to Org Rep 354th Elmer Herbally (email@example.com]
Uniform--"Marked by: 1. lack of variation 2. complete conformity"
A Story by Gerry Stearns H Co, 354th Infantry
Was it at the banquet and dance in August 2002 in Indianapolis? There was T-4 Gerry Rosenbaum--now Doctor Gerry, psychologist--in his Eisenhower jacket, resplendent with ribbons and the Combat Medic Badge. By his side the charming Ruth of how many years, both as slim, I would guess, as the day they married. I believe Gerry wore his jacket unbuttoned, probably for flair, but I'm sure he could have buttoned it. The last time I'd seen mine was many years before, when I'd offered it to my father-in-law to wear while chopping wood for the stove. And it wouldn't have been terribly dressy for a reunion dinner any way: I'd had the buttons removed, a zipper installed, and had it dyed navy blue.
But seeing Gerry (and other show-offs) reminded me that I'd wanted to explore the one thing that had made us all soldiers to the outside world: the clothing we wore. (That identity probably explained why we never got off post until we learned to wear the uniform respectably.)
My first post was a newly-opened reception center about 80 miles East of LA, in Arlington, California, not too far from the edge of the desert. In one month I would have been ripe for the 20 year old draft, but I got caught in the flooding in of the first 18- and 19- year olds. When staff learned my vision made me limited service they offered me an opportunity to remain here in hitchhiking distance from where I'd lived and gone to college in Hollywood. In a moment of madness I agreed to join the newly organizing MP unit, which we referred to privately as the Crippled Commandos. I was one of the healthier ones--I was correctable to 20/20. We had a couple of guys who said they'd been radio announcers; and they did have beautiful speaking voices, but each had only one working eye. There were a number of one-eyed ex-truck drivers, plus a railroad brakeman. One of our gang was missing fingers on his right hand and a fair-to-middling bugler had a club foot. But we looked sharp at guard mount!
When I joined up in January '43 it was in the middle of the usual Southern California winter rains. The brand-new post gloried in the new-post standard mud, but our heads, and my glasses, were protected by the best hat the Army ever issued me: the broad-brimmed campaign hats that have become the recognition symbol of every movie or TV DI (Drill Instructor) of Army or Marines. And we wore those classy-looking MP yellow-and-green cords and "acorns" on the brim. (In Indianapolis, the Color Guard from what used to be the 354th Infantry but is now the Army Reserve 354th Training Regiment, Artillery, I think, wore those hats). Later in the year when the heat of the desert came out to meet us, we all agreed to buy those paper mache sun helmets. Maybe they were issued to us. The permanent party who'd processed us in still wore the blue denim fatigues and floppy hats. I remembered that in late '30's, or early '40's Life Magazine had described the blues as the new combat uniform. We were issued the new green fatigues. I can't remember when we had to give up the issue white underwear and handkerchiefs for the re-issue OD.
Uniforms serve a lot of functions. For one thing they distinguish between the wearers and those others, like civilians, or sailors or marines or postmen. Before the Third Crusade (1188) the rulers of England, France, and Flanders agreed that to help commanders be able to recognize the troops of their own command the crosses on shields and tunics were to be colored according to the country of origin (White, Red, and Green, in that order). Uniforms also add to the sense of oneness with others who wear the same garb. There was a negative side to this: I remember at Butner after we were issued the combat boots there were fights in town weekends with paratroopers, stationed nearby, who had no better thing to do than take umbrage at our blousing our pants over our boots just the way they did. (I remember threading GI shoelaces drawstring-wise through the cuffs of my OD pants to help in making a good blousing). There are a number of other, mainly positive, reasons for our uniforms but I like to think of one negative: it gave our nominal superiors the opportunity to chew on us for the way we wore our clothes. Not just unbuttoned pockets. Those same combat boots were responsible for one misguided order from above: even though the shoe part was designed to be rough side out, we were to go against nature and keep them polished! (Incidentally, when we went overseas our well-broken-in combat boots were replaced. During our first cold days at Lucky Strike we were engaged in regular, long marches in those stiff new boots. I and many others of us discovered our Achilles tendons, and were severely crippled by pain. I had tendinitis in only one heel; my sidekick Tom Rees hobbled around in galoshes--instead--until he was able to resume normal walking.)
The old hands were really into sharpness. A lot of the NCO's had their uniforms tailored, including fatigues, including creases in their shirts actually stitched in! Sharp! And the wool OD's reached their ultimate good looks only after the nap was worn off, just before they got too shiny and threadbare to wear. One of my sergeants in my first outfit took extraordinary care jeweler's rouging his brass, mainly the buttons of his blouse. (Ladies, that's what we called the dress jacket we wore before we got the Eisenhower.) I was impressed. Despite his warning I'd spend countless hours keeping my buttons glistening, I removed what I believe was a real gold wash and began rouging the heck out of the buttons. Happily, one weekend while hitchhiking back to camp I was struck in the dark by a hit-and-run driver on the shoulder of a rural road outside the port town of San Pedro, California. All traffic in this brown-out area had been held up during a black-out and after the all-clear my assailant decided to pass all the slow-moving vehicles by driving on the shoulder. I flew quite a distance, I was told by drivers who hadn't left the scene. I must have slid pretty far, too, because when I was discharged from the hospital at Fort MacArthur two weeks later I discovered an abraded hole in each elbow about the size of a half-dollar. When I showed up at my outfit they removed me from the AWOL rolls and issued me a new coat. (All I did to those gold-covered brass buttons was wipe the dust off!) The Ninth Service Command put out a subsequent order that all night-time GI hitchhikers were to tie a white handkerchief on an arm. This was my special, but unsung contribution to the war effort.
We were all stuck with wearing a uniform, but with a little money we could make ourselves look different and pretty good on pass. The easiest thing was to buy one of those caps the Air Corps "sloppified" by removing the grommets to make it look like the well-known "fifty-mission" caps. Supposedly air crews had to de-grommet them so airborne communication ear phones would fit snugly. (I think those caps had been regular issued before Pearl Harbor.) Our blouses had brass belt hooks at the waist, and I believe leather belts had previously been issued, but not by my time. Some GI's bought those brass-buckled leather belts. I didn't, but I did buy a civilian pair of what the Quartermaster Corps called "shoes, low quarter" and wore the regular-issue "go-to-hell" cap off base. After I 'd exercised my ASTP credentials to be allowed to join the 89th I met a lot of ex-aviation cadets who'd been victims of the same. I've wondered from time to time about one real quiet guy who dressed up on weekends in a truly handsome cadet uniform to go on pass. Except for insignia of rank--he wore neither stripes nor bars, and lacked the big cutout eagle on his cap--he looked like an extremely well-dressed officer. Whatever happened to him? The ancient Romans were a lot like us in their organizational practices, and the standardization of clothing for troops was typical. In the third century Roman legions (4200 individuals each) were all Roman citizens, (because that's what the Romans did with conquered peoples), and identified with the names of countries, but would be full of tribesmen who might be from that country or not. These troops were not issued uniforms, but received clothing allowances to buy their own clothing and armor. However, each legion's soldiers wore the same color helmet crests and shields, kind of like our wearing the Rolling W shoulder patch. While tooling around in the Internet website called Google, I learned that our current Army issues a new recruit a complete uniform, but then gives him/her, like the Roman legionnaires, a regular clothing allowance annually. They spend this for replacement garments at something called a Military Clothing Sales store. (Is this a clothing store on post, or does it include the kind of place we used to find downtown near the tattoo parlors, bars, etc?)
I also discovered a Google citation about the blouses the US Army issued us: In 1939 newly-designed coats were issued "with 2 side-pleats that extended from the shoulder seam to the waist". The pleats were three inches deep. The reported reason for adding these "swing-pleats" was that strenuous jitterbugging by GI's back then ripped so many blouses that repair became a major expense. After Pearl Harbor with the tremendous expansion of the armed services there were drastic shortages of wool material and effective 6/8/42 the "wasteful" side-shoulder vents were eliminated. However, "millions" of the 1939 design had been manufactured and so were issued to all new recruits until they were all used up. (The issuing of leather belts with brass buckles, to be worn outside the blouse, was discontinued at the same time, and of course we lost the leather rifle-slings and were issued webbing instead, when we went overseas.)
During the last days of the war I was a witness to an interesting swap between one of the first platoon machine gunners and one of our tankers. (Was he 4th Armored or the 11th?) The H company guy ended up with one of those long--they came down over the butt--suntan tanker field jackets, for which he'd swapped his forest-green draw-cord at-the-waist jackets we wore. I don't think it was the same guy, but there was also a swap of a .45 pistol issued to first and second machine gunners for a tanker's Thompson sub-machine gun. There it was--anything to keep to looking like everyone else. Someplace after VE day there was a rash of custom tailoring of our go-to-hell caps: they were altered to have a peak front and rear, just like the tankers wore. I can't remember whether they were French or German or Austrian tailors, but I thought I looked pretty sharp with my tanker cap and my paratrooper-like boots with the bloused-over pants legs. And with the CIB over my left breast pocket--Joe Popular!
Note: This story came out long enough, but I picked up a lot of extra information about uniforms at the Library and on the Internet. If anybody is interested there is an Oxford Companion to Military History where I learned about the Crusaders, and books by a man named Brassey full of interesting and colorful pictures. As much fun as a good hero-comic magazine!
Ebensee Concentration Camp
This an interesting exchange between Ed Quick and Darrel Carnnel
A concentration camp located in Ebensee supplied slave labor to build huge underground factories tunneled into a nearby mountain. In the fall of 1945, I was transferred to the 83rd Division in Ebensee. The old concentration camp, or "lager" as it was then called, housed a large number of German POW's and our job was to man the guard towers around the double barbed wire perimeter fence. (When it was a concentration camp, one of the fences was electrified) On the internet I ran into the attached photos of the lager main gate, one taken, I think, right after the camp was liberated, the other as the gate is today. The Germans have preserved it as a memorial. The older picture really brought back memories. We used to arrive at that gate in an old Kraut diesel truck and pile out onto the snow covered roadway. Inside the little building you can just see to the left of the picture, we were assigned our tower. The shifts were four hours on, eight off, 24 hours a day, six days a week.
Ed to Darrel
Copied below in my e-mail to Darrel is another website having to do with the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria. A number of us Battery B guys (Seamons, Martinez, Lodding, Richardson and I, plus many more I don't remember) pulled guard duty at this lager after it had been converted to a POW camp for the Krauts, including we were told, a number of SS troopers. The prisoners were being interrogated by our intelligence guys looking for war criminals who had donned Wehrmacht uniforms in an attempt to avoid being caught and possibly tried at Nuremberg. Recently I was in touch with an 89er by the name of Al Menkes, who was connected with the OSS right after the war ended. He informed me that Adolph Eichmann, the infamous colonel in the Nazi secret police, was actually in the Ebensee camp for a time, disguised as a junior grade Wehrmacht officer. He slipped through our fingers, Al told me, and eventually made it to Argentina. Sometime in the early 60's the Israelis caught up to him, brought him back for trial and hanged him.
As I mentioned to Darrel below, it seems strange that nowhere on the internet, in the many stories about this camp, its history as a German POW camp after the war is never mentioned. I thought maybe some of this information might make material for the Newsletter.
Darrel to Ed
The intriguing part to me is the total lack of any information about the use to which the camp was put immediately after its liberation. We guarded Krauts in this camp at least until February 1946 when I left - and probably for some months afterward. Yet I can find not one word of that in any of the accounts (including this one) that I have been able to find.
Ed to Darrel
The tunnels were entrances into a huge underground factory being carved into the mountain by the slave laborers in the Ebensee concentration camp. They worked horrendous shifts on little food and died like flies. But that was the general idea. They were just cremated and replaced by a steady flow of others. I think that jet airplanes (Me 262's?) were being assembled in the factory and lifted up in an elevator to the top of the mountain where an airstrip was made by slicing off the mountain peak. The jets took off from there under their own power and flew to another place to be fitted up with armament, etc.
There were a number of these bomb-proof underground factories being constructed in southwest Germany and Austria. As I recall, you asked at one time about a factory complex under a mountain called the "Jonastal." Some of these factories were unbelievably huge and manufacturing was well underway in a number of them I had to relabel a lot of the legend because its mangled translations from the German were pretty awful and in some cases humorous! One of the roads on the outside of the camp was labeled with the translation, "Strass after Even Lake." Now you figure that one out if you can. And ask Erna to take a stab at it also. I got a chuckle when I finally solved it. It translates: "Road from Ebensee."
Our resident German knows not the meaning of KLOS; she says she has never heard of it before. I managed to open that pesky .xls file by first saving it to my desktop and then calling up my handy dandy all purpose file translator to translate it from Gatespeak to Macintosh. Normally, the translator translates from one word processor to another (as from MS Word to Nisus Writer) but in this case it translated from some kind of spread sheet to Apple Works. Did you do the original labeling of the Ebensee buildings and save it to your spread sheet, or is this the format in which you initially received it? And what was the purpose of those tunnels? Were they work places? Or mines? How large were they and how many of them? Inquiring minds want to know . . .
From Darrel the curious
I read with interest the correspondence from Patrick Brion in the newsletter. My problem was I didn't know exactly what or where Reimahg was. The address below gives an excellent description of the camp and tunnel activities - complete with many excellent photos. And I learned that Reimahg was an acronym for Reichsmarshall Herman Goering. Ed
[A wonderful example of cooperative research from my Battery B Boys]
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