March 2002 Newsletter


For all veterans, relatives and friends of the
89th INFANTRY DIVISION
WORLD WAR II

Look Familiar?



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


Editor's Notes and Website Developments
Email List Update
Taps
Letters and Exchanges


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Editor's Notes and Website Developments

Our President has kindly informed me that he is currently dealing with the members of his Executive Board and Organizational Representatives on matters concerning our by-laws and related issues but the process will not be completed in time for this issue of the Newsletter. It should be ready for distribution in our April issue and the next TRW.

Organizational Reps

As is evident from many letters received and included on previous editions of our monthly Newsletter, we are increasingly getting requests thought the Internet for information and collaboration from relatives and friends of our division. This evolving networking was a basic premise and justification for the time, cost and effort that has gone into starting and maintaining the 89th website as well as its derivative, The 89th Newsletter.

Many years ago, at the suggestion of Past-President Dick Lee, the concept of appointing Organizational Representatives was established as a device for facilitating communications between 89th veterans. I am not familiar with how this has worked, being a latecomer to the Society, but presumably such contacts were made by telephone or mail with little or no records kept except what may have been eventually included in a particular issue of TRW.

Given the decreasing membership of our Society and the significance of effective and reasonably quick networking in these twilight years, it is important to ensure that our loved ones, friends and others can keep in touch with each other, exchange timely information, and respond to legitimate requests from outside organizations interested in World War ll history and our part in it.

As letters in this and past issues demonstrate, it is sometimes difficult to reach these organizational representatives as their address and telephone listings can be out date, they may be out of town or incapacitated, or have left us without our yet knowing. Therefore we are using the device of this Newsletter, as I hope others will also do when they have other concerns and priorities, as a means for requesting our Society leadership to address this problem. Suggested steps in this process include: briefly specifying the duties, responsibilities and expectations of this office, e.g., facilitating communication within the organization, the Society and interested parties; reaffirm the continued willingness and current capability of incumbent representatives to carry out such a function; assure that the incumbent has access to email and the internet, either on his own or through the good offices of a relative or neighbor or, where that is not feasible, request the incumbent to select an assistant with such capabilities. The Editors of TRW and the Newsletter are anxious to assist in any possible and would appreciate being copies when such exchanges are made.

ASTP/OSC

I am happy and relieved to report that the article on the ASTP Program at Oregon State College has finally been completed. It closes with an analysis and explanation of the impact of the ASTP and GI Bill on Oregon State University and the nation. In close cooperation with officials of OSU, we are now in the process of adding photos, many of which were provided by our buddies in the 89th. It has been well-received by OSU officials who are graciously cooperating in adding photos to the text and are planning to use it on their own websites. I also wish to acknowledge, in particular, the contributions of Ed Roberts and Dick Colosimo. It is our joint plan to include this article on our respective websites and, space permitting, in the TRW. It may also be distributed at our next reunion at which ASTP is in the agenda.

Other

I am having problems staying continually online with my new computer and ISP setup. If you can't get though to me on something important or urgent, please use my son's email address and he'll make sure I get it, markkitchell@yahoo.com Website Update

We continue to work on putting additional stories online. We ALWAYS need your photos from the war. The best may to deliver pictures is to have them scanned into .jpeg

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Email List Updates

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

CALDWELL, Herman MCo G, 353rd Inf (c/o grandson)

McFATRIDGE, Joe Raymond (Mac) L Co, 353rd Inf 9c/o son-in-law)

HEYER, Warren C. Co I, 355th Inf [ASTP]

JOHNSON, Bill Div AG

SITZLER, John 354th Inf

STORY, George M M Co, 353rd Inf



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Taps

Loran E. Alspach, Sv. Co 354th Inf

This is to report the death of Loran E. Alspach of Service Co. 354 Inf. Reg. Loran died December 7, 2001. He had been undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. Loran became known to many of us who attended the reunions of the WWII Society. Loran shipped into the 89th from the ASTP break-up and placed on the Company Roster welder and mechanic for the regimental motor pool, as a T-5.

However he filled a much broader space as a great maintainer of moral within the company in Camp Butner and especially through the discomforts of snow and mud of combat readiness in the hastily erected Camp Lucky Strike and all through combat. If he ever 'griped' there was always a humorous twist to it. Oz's duties kept him as part of the Wrecker crew and in convoy I kidded him many times as resembling "Ichabod Crane" when he mounted and dismounted under the confines of the beams and the hoist. He did not get flustered a bit when we discovered we were a few miles beyond "A" Company's advance outpost, while he and I were assigned to retrieve that company's jeep from a panzer faust incident. "They forgot to tell us about that darned fork in the road back there, when they gave the directions." Was his calm remark as he turned the vehicle around.

Oz and I shipped from the 89th at Lucky Strike to a Service Co in the Div in Enns, Austria. He shipped out from there in the first part of January 1946. Oz made many friends as he attended all the reunions from 1990 and was looking forward to going to 2002. He made light of the fact that his eyesight was in much disarray for the last several years and did not let it keep him away from attending. He was proud that his daughter "Annie" was his guiding light in Tacoma.

In his writing he enjoyed expressing tongue-in-cheek dissertations on events and articles. He has made friends of 89ers from many units through the reunions. Many of us shall miss him.

James 0. Hahs, Sv Co, 354 Inf 89th Div. 1944- 45.

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Letters and Exchanges

Request for Information on Hunter-Liggett

From: Clinton

I am working under contract to the Army to collect oral history information on Fort Hunter Liggett, Monterey county California. We are particularly interested in the WWII training period and I understand that units in the 89th spent some memorable months there. I would like to place an announcement of our interest in your very well designed web newsletter (and I presume the hard copy as well). We conduct interviews, do a full transcription and then archive the materials at Hunter Liggett and various other military archives.

What do you think of the idea of using the newsletter to find respondents?

Thanks
Clinton Blount
Anthropologist

[Editor: We think it is a great idea and here is your request. We can also send you some photos of ex-ASTPers who were reintroduced to the Army at the H-L Reservation as it was called in those days if you are interested. Readers who are interested are urged to contact Mr. Blount directly and we would appreciate being copied.]

1st Bn., Hqs. Co, 353rd Inf Veteran Request for Information

From: rapidrob@cwnet.com

I opened the 89th Infantry website for the first time today and found it to be very interesting. I served with Hqs. Co., 1st Bn., 353rd Regt. from August 1944 through September 1945. Do you know of anyone who has a list of the surviving members of the 1st Bn. Hqs. Co.?

[Editor:

Dear Bob:

Nice to hear from you and that you have discovered our website. I will include your request in this month's Newsletter, which should be online a little after the 15th. I note that you are not a member of our Society and therefore do not receive our magazine, The Rolling W, and are probably out of touch.

I can do any of the following for you, at your request. First, send you the latest email listings of our vets and, second, information on how to join the Society if you wish. We are having a very important reunion August in Indianapolis where important decisions will be made regarding our future and it probably will be our next to last one.

Unfortunately, the 353rd Organizational Representative, James E. Homer, does not use email nor has yet appointed an assistant who does. So in addition to publishing your request, you may also wish to call him directly at 218 493-6885. Please let me know what happens.

Bob replied that the number was no longer in use and inquired if there was any chance he turned his work with the 353rd over to anyone else? This particular request occasioned the suggestions re organizational representatives included above under Editor's Notes.]

Request from Lt Col Ross Craig

From: RossCD@mfp.usmc.mil

My uncle was a member of the 89th Division during the war. He is now deceased and his name is Donald M. Cole. I heard many stories from him as I was growing up and these included a description of Gen. Patton vomiting during a visit to a concentration camp. I assume this to be Ohrdruf and from that I assume he was a member of the 354th Inf., but I just don't know for sure.

Although a long shot, should the opportunity arise, I would like to make a general inquiry of your members to see if anyone knew my uncle. He was from Baltimore and had originally gone to England as a member of the 8th AF and was transferred to the Infantry in late 1944 (I believe). If you can help me I would be very grateful. In any event, I have enjoyed your website very much. Semper Fidelis.

Craig D. Ross
LtCol USMC
Dep. AC/S G-2 MARFORPAC (808) 477-8442

[Editor: We will be pleased to include your message in our Newsletter for this month. I am reasonably certain we can provide you with some information. Thanks you for your kind comments. If you are interested in the history of our division, besides referring to our website, you may wish to subscribe to our official magazine, The Rolling W. I can provide you more information if you wish, including a listing of all vets with email addresses.

From Margaret Lanier About Her Deceased Father, Stanley Freshwater

From: Psychstudent7777@aol.com

- Mr. Kitchell, I wanted to thank you for providing a website. My father was in the 89th division and I wanted to gain some understanding as to what he went through. He died over 20 years ago, so I don't have him to ask. His name was Stanley Freshwater, serial #3574-3679.

Thanks again.

Margaret Lanier

Reply:

I would like to include your kind note in this month's 89th Newsletter which is carried and archived on our website. Do you recall what outfit your Dad served in? If not, perhaps we can help. Please let me know. At this late stage in our history, we are attempting to reach out to the families and friends of our Division veterans.

You may also wish to keep up to date with our 89th Society events and history by subscribing to our official magazine, The Rolling W. The current annual subscription rate in $20. I can give you the details if you are interested.

Reply:

Yes, you have my permission to print my letter, maybe someone who knew my dad will see it. I found his discharge papers and it says Co. K, 355th infantry. Under battles and campaigns it says G033WD45 Rhineland Central Europe. Hope this helps. Thanks again, Margaret Lanier.

Michael Olds

From: solds5@yahoo.com

Dear Mark Kitchell:

I have been searching for information on my father who I think was a soldier in the 89th Infantry in World War II. I found your website and have enjoyed the information. In the site is an article written by a Bruce Nickols about the liberation of Ohrdruf. His story was almost an exact rendition of a story that my father repeated to me many times. Since my father is deceased, I do not have the privilege of sharing this information with him. What I would like to know Mark, is if you have an address or email for Bruce Nickols so that I may contact him and see if he might have known my father or others that might have known him. I have such little information about my father's participation in the war. I would like to write to someone who might have more information.

If you can help me, I thank you in advance.
530 S. 670 W.
Orem, Utah 84097
(801) 225-5351

Reply: I am ccing my father, Raymond Kitchell on this reply. He is the veteran and I am the son. I do not believe we are in contact with Bruce Nikols. We took that story from an article that was written years ago and I am not sure he is even alive still.

However, there may be many who still know your father. We can post your request for information in our newsletter. It would be most helpful to have more Information though. His full name, rank and unit (if you know it) would help others recognize him.

[Editor: We will try to obtain Olds full name and unit. Does anyone know it? Additional stories on Ohrdruf will be added shortly to our website]

A Relevant Snail Mail Exchange

Robert Barnes
1458 AIIin Lane
Sun Lakes Country Club
Banning, California 92220-6448

February 28, 2002

Thanks so much for your letter of January 15 and the Internet information that you provided. You are one among a number of many friends who have urged me to discard snail mail for E-mail, but to no avail. Ah, one of these days, I guess! Instead, I continue to enjoy the benefits of California outdoor living as much as I can, because - thank the Good Lord - about the time I decided to retire in 1986, I finally outgrew my hay fever and related allergies which had plagued me since my Army days at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In fact those allergies after WWII were so debilitating (I had to stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible) that at the age of 34 I decided to leave Pennsylvania (and my law practice) and came to California (where my allergies were somewhat milder but staying indoors was still a priority) where I continued the practice of law until 1986 when -- thanks to a confluence of developments - I decided to retire: (a) the last of my children graduated from college; (b) after 40+ years of taking weekly allergy shots and the extensive use of antihistamines (I was a guinea pig for all of the new ones), I finally, according to my allergist, outgrew them; and (c) my hearing loss (again due in part to WWII) had finally reached the point where the practice of law was no longer enjoyable to me. (As I had found out, you cannot react to what you cannot hear - a fatal impairment for a lawyer.)

When in 1986 my allergist doctor gave me the "good" news that I was now "relatively" free of allergies, I said to him: "My son plays golf. Do you think I could possibly take up the game at my age (then 62)?" He replied: "Why not? Go for it!" So, I have been "going for it" ever since. Unfortunately, my son - in the midst of his career (computer information, what else?) and rearing two teenage children -- no longer has the time. But I -- duffer that I continue to be -- finally have been able to enjoy the same fresh air that everybody else enjoys and play golf about 4 to 5 times a week, twelve months a year. (My condo overlooks a small lake on the 11th fairway. Enclosed is a winter picture of another fairway with 11,000' high Mount San Gorgonio in the background; our golf community is at 2,500' elevation. This perhaps will explain my continuing late-in-life addiction to golf.)

But, the Lord Willing, we are planning to be in Indianapolis (hay fever or not) in August, and I shall be looking forward to meeting you. I hope that Ed Quick's hip improves enough so that he too can make it.

Again, my thanks to you for thinking of me.

Voting Privileges (unsigned)

Your latest Newsletter includes interesting and timely information on issues currently being considered by Society leadership prior to their presentation to the members attending the August reunion. They are all important and relevant but I believe the most important issue is that of decision-making.

In a few years, the number of aging attendees at reunions will surely drop dramatically. Do we really want to have decisions made at that time by the few dozen or so men whose health and economic status permits them to travel-or would it not be fairer to all to have some sort of a proxy voting system? The method would have to be worked out. Maybe attendees would have more voting powers-say 1 votes vs. only one vote for a proxy.

I for one, and my wife, may not make the reunion because of health problems and think there are others like us who, in all fairness, ought to be given the chance to have their voice heard at election time and on other important issues.

I prefer that you not use my name when you publish this letter. Thanks.

[Editor: I hope and suggest our Society Officers can consider this crucial issue on an emergency basis given the short time available before our August reunion and the lead-time that will be required. Comments on this subject would be welcome]

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