May 2002 Newsletter

For all veterans, relatives and friends of the

89th Patch

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

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

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Announcements, Editor's Notes and Website Developments

Editor's Notes

Need for Membership Inputs

Recently posted on the Society page of our website, presumably also planned for publication in the next issue (July) of TRW and hopefully in more detail, is a recent report of a Washington Area Advisory Group (WAAG) meeting. The critical issues facing the Society are very briefly outlined. Hopefully, the next WAAG report or President's message will explain in more detail the options available and the rationalization our leadership is taking in preparing and proposing specific amendments to our by-laws and similar actions. I have been urging our President, his officers and advisors to take whatever steps they deem feasible to bring our entire voting membership into the process, not just those who are healthy, wealthy and/or otherwise able to attend our next reunion, and as soon as possible. This is necessary, in my view, because of the critical and unique decisions to be made regarding the uncertain future of our Society and its continuing significance and relevance. In the less than four months remaining before our next reunion, when the Executive Board will make its selection of specific recommendations for amendments preparatory to presentation to the attending members at the general meeting for their formal approval, it is essential that the membership at large be given a chance beforehand to make their own individual inputs and opinions known if they have any. This requires first, a brief but adequate definition and explanation of the unique, i.e., new, issues facing the Society, the practical options available and their likely cost, if any, and the rationale of our leadership in recommending a specific course of action--including the expected ramifications of such actions, financially and otherwise. Finally, in an informal "voting by proxy" or similar process, those members who cannot attend the next reunion should be extended the courtesy to at least indicate their general approval or provide their specific suggestions and comments. This will be a change in the traditional means of effecting changes but necessitated by the current and foreseeable situation.

In the interim you are urged to write to the Society Officer of your choice and express your own views on what actions, if any, are needed to preserve, extend and finance meaningful Society activities for the uncharted waters ahead--for example, shall we continue to emphasize our new “reaching out” thrust to widows, relatives, friends, historians and scholars? We will be happy to include any of your suggestions/opinions in subsequent issues of the 89th Newsletter if you wish and in TRW.

[Note: I have just recently learned that the WAAG is preparing a set of proposed changes to the Current Bylaws for inclusion in the July issue of TRW. They will be included here also when released.]


[This notice is now routinely included with each reply to a new query received about our website from vets, family and friends.]

To our delight, we are receiving an increasing amount of inquiries, often emanating from the viewing of our website, regarding veterans of the 89th Infantry Division WWII. We try our best to answer questions and/or forward them to those in our Society or elsewhere who may have additional information, and include the request and the response in our next Newsletter, which appears on our website. Many of these requests are from relatives of 89th veterans. With your permission, we are including the veteran's name on our email listing and the website. Where the veteran does not use a computer, or has passed away, we will include your email address, again if you permit. Other interested parties may wish to contact you.

Given the 89th Society's intent to reach out to widows, relatives and friends, we invite you to join us, first by subscribing to our official magazine, The Rolling W, published three times yearly for a modest annual subscription charge (currently $20). At its next reunion in August, it is proposed to amend the Society's by-laws to expand non-voting membership to family and friends. Until then, a "subscription" will keep you involved and, of course, our Society-supported website and newsletter are without charge.

To join the Society or for an annual subscription to the TRW, please send your check for $20, made out to "89th Division Society of WWII", and mail to: Larry Berg-Treasurer 89th Division at 818 San Antonio Place. Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Lifetime memberships are also available.

Just for the record, and noting that Society income/resources are diminishing as its veteran membership declines, any amount over the annual dues or subscription rate is tax-deductible. Please contact me if you require any additional information and welcome aboard.

Reminder to Society Officers

We wish to remind all Society Officers, elected or appointed, as well as Past Presidents, that the 89th Newsletter and Website are approved electronic communication tools of the Society. Your active and timely use of these devices for time-sensitive communications to facilitate carrying out of your responsibilities is invited and will be given first priority. Thank you, and let us hear from you soon.

Underpaid and Overworked

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Website Developments

Most of the website work has been going on 'behind the scenes' since we have eliminated most of the personal stories backlog. We hope to have the ASTP/OSU article and a certain webmaster's memoirs ready for the website by the time of the next newsletter in June.

Remember, that detailed information on the 2002 Reunion in Indianapolis can be found by clicking here: 2002 Reunion Information. Both myself and my father will be at this reunion and look forward to meeting all of you.

Thank you,

Mark Kitchell

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Email List Updates

Welcome to our new electronic readers listed just below and including any changes of addresses for current subscribers.

A complete listing of the names, units and email address of veterans, relatives and friends is included on the Society Page of our 89th Website, which we hope to be able to update on a monthly basis. As demonstrated below, all new addresses and changes are included in each newsletter and the next issue of The Rolling W (TRW). The full and latest list of veterans, relatives and friends of the Division is available upon request directly to the Editor, as a Word or Excel document. Use of these listings is restricted to non-commercial inquiries and similar correspondence, please.

ARUNDEL, Edward M M Co, 353rd Inf

CHIESIA, Louise (c/o Kevin, nephew) F Co, 353rd Inf

COHEN, Herbert A Co, 353rd Inf

GAAL, Donald (deceased--c/o son Steve Gaal) 314th Med Bn

HALLORAN, Thomas H (c/o son) 405th Quartermaster, M Co

HOUDESHELL, Gene I Co, 355th Inf

JEFFERS, Carl W Hq Co, 1st Bn, 355th RCT

OLDS, Curtis Lee 2nd Bn, 353rd Inf

RUSO, James C Co, 314th Med Bn

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No inputs provided and the bugles are silent. 

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Letters and Exchanges

NOTE: The sender's address is hyper linked to facilitate responses. These communications are repeated here roughly in order of receipt.

You are Welcome!

From: Ed Arundel M Co, 353rd

[Editor: I wrote to Ed to thank him for his kind comments on my "Memoirs of a Private First Class", which appeared in the last issue of the TRW. Excerpts from his reply are included here.]

Dear Ray…thanks for writing. I had been on the verge of dropping my membership (too many "TAPS") until the stories became more interesting and numerous. Now I guess I'll stick it out.

It is interesting to me that the powers that be are now asking the "younger" (mid-seventies) members to come forward to help run the organization. Very few of the "younger" members such as myself were officers (too young) and so have been consistently overlooked for leadership positions in the Society-a stupid but understandable practice. I've seen this happen in many organizations-based on the mistaken notion that only the officers have the ability to carry-on. What a waste of talent.

[Editor: Needless to say, I appreciate his comments, share his concerns, and am very pleased to learn Ed will stay with the Society. For Ed and other fellow PFCs, my memoirs will soon appear on our website but this time with photos, at least those I dared to include.]

Request for info on Grandfather

From: Lisa Bell Armstrong


I am looking for any information on my grandfather. Can you help? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Or, point in the right direction. Thank you.

Lindel Samuel Bell from Effingham, IL 62401
PFC 353rd INF Division
Died March 15, 1945 at Luxembourg, Germany (sic)

[I replied that her request was being forwarded to Jim Horner, the Society's Organizational Representative for the 353rd, for follow-up and that her request would also be included in this Newsletter issue.
His name and unit, using Lisa's address, has been added to our email list and she was invited to subscribe to TRW if interested.

Great Website

From: Kevin (nephew)

Mark, great website. My uncle, Louis Chiesa, was a WWII 89th BAR Inf Man. He lives in Ridgefield Park, NJ. He does not have Internet access; I would like to get connected/added to your email list so that I can relay information to him. He has some great stories.

[Mark forwarded Kevin's request to me and I immediately replied: "Welcome to our group of veterans, relatives and friends of the 89th vets of WWII. Could you please ask your uncle for the company and regiment he served in so it can be noted on our website and email listings which I will add as soon as I hear from you. You and your uncle may also be interested in joining our Society which issues an official magazine, "The Rollin W', sponsors reunions (the next which is in Indianapolis this August, and in this twilight of its existence, is reaching out to people like you. If you are interested, I will be pleased to provide you with more information."

Editor: I was subsequently informed that Lou served in F Co, 353rd Inf. and Kevin requested more information on the Society to post to his uncle, which we did. Now, bring on those stories!!!

Another Grandson Searches

From: Todd C. Missel

I was wondering if I could get some assistance with finding out a little more information regarding my grandfather's service with the 89th. His name was Thomas Francis Halloran, of Streator, IL. My cousin and I are trying to piece together his jouney throughout the war. All I know is that he completed training at Ft. Collins and was with a supply unit, so I am assuming this would have been attached to Headquarters Company. Can any of your members help me with any information?

[Editor: I replied "We will try in this month's Newsletter which appears on our website. Would you like to be added to our mail listings?" Todd replied "Absolutely. That would be great. I am trying to contact the National Archives to get his service record; it should take about a few months they said. So, if we don't hear of anything through the newsletter by them I will contact you with better unit, company information. Thanks for your help."]

Another Son's Request

From: Michael Olds

I wrote you in March [see March Newsletter] about my father's involvement with the 89th Infantry, You asked for what information I had that could be included in the newsletter. This is all I have.

Full name -Curtis Lee Olds
2nd Battalion and either 330th or 353th Company
Army Serial Number 39 333 592

Additional: He completed a drafting course at Warton American Technical on Nov 9, 1945. That is all I have. Wherever that could be posted, I would appreciate that. Thanks

[Editor: Because it is a safe bet that Curtis served with the 353rd, I am requesting Jim Horner, Society Organizational Representative of the 353rd Inf, to please pick up on this request and contact Michael directly and let us know what happened. Thanks.]

A Traumatic and Rewarding Exchange

From: Stephen Gaal

Could you direct me to any information on the 314th Medical Battalion of the 89th Infantry Division (April '43 thru April 46)? Thanks

[My reply]

I will try but are you any relation to Don Gaal? [His reply]

His son…He passed away 5 years ago when I was 36---we talked a little about the war but he always, seemed to fluff over the bad parts just talked about liberating the towns. My mother gave me all his metal/ribbons/patches/dog tag/photo album and flag. His wife is still alive (in her 70s). I have two older brothers who would definitely be interested in this subject. Tell me where I go from here. Thanks.

[My excited second reply]

I cried, and later my wife when she also read your email. Your father and I were good friends and I've tried for years to get in contact with him without avail but now, though our website, at least I've contacted one of his sons and am so happy. Don and I met at Oregon State College, which we both attended in the Army Specialized Training Program, (ASTP). We were part of a group of close buddies and did a lot of things together. Most of us were still together when the program was canceled and we were sent to the 89th Light Infantry Davison on maneuvers in Hunter Ligget Military Reservation in the California coastal mountains. When we were sent to Camp Butner to become a heavy division, we were split up and your Dad was transferred to the 314th Medical Bn and me to the 563rd FA Bn. We saw each other occasionally but, as you can imagine, were kept quite busy.

After the war, I attended Syracuse University, earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration and in 1952 started working for the Federal Government in Washington, DC, and was in touch with your dad. When I earned enough money, those were tough days, to buy an old car, one weekend I drove up to Pittsburgh at your Dad's invitation where he was doing his graduate work (medicine if I remember correctly) and met his girlfriend, presumably your mother, and we had a grand time. However, we lost contact after my many years spent overseas with the US Government and the UN, and attempts to reach him over the years proved futile, unfortunately.

You certainly hit the bull's-eye with me. I will include your request in this month's Newsletter, along with my reply. My son Mark and I established our website to preserve our history and reach out to relatives, friends, historians, and scholars. This is a splendid, albeit, personal, example of the benefits and excitement of constructive networking.

Obviously, you have viewed our website and should, particularly, look at the section on ASTP. Very shortly, there will be two new articles on our site, which will be of considerable interest to you and your family. First is an article I have researched and written, almost two years in the making, about the ASTP at OSC, which also includes a photo of your Dad and one of our pretty Portland girlfriends we often hitchhiked together to see. My lengthy, with photos, "Memoirs of a PFC in WWII, with a photo too of your Dad, will also be added soon which should also be of interest to you and hopefully your Mom and brothers.

As I inferred above, in these declining years of membership, our Society is reaching out to relatives and friends to preserve its memory as long as possible and useful. We are taking full advantage of our electronic tools and print communications. I would like to add your Dad's name and your email address to our Society email listing, with your permissions, and I'll send you a copy of the complete listings. We also have an official magazine, The Rolling W, which you may subscribe to and at the same time help fund our activities. If you are interested, please let me know and I'll give you further information. I am please to have heard from you and to help your reestablish a link with your Dad's wartime service and buddies. I'd like to hear more about his life and please extend my warmest regards to your mother.

[His second reply]

WOW, what more can I say. I talked to one of my brothers last night prior to receiving your letter this morning. It was amazing what I had to read. I will forward it on to them…it was a shame you could not contact him. That would have been interesting. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that reunion.

Have you ever heard of the success rate of getting information from the National Personnel Records Center in Missouri? I have taken all the war related metals/badges along with his flag and preserved them in a display case in my house. I will take a photo and email it to you. Maybe you can tell me what the ribbons and medals mean. Thank you for your help and information.

[My final reply]

Thank you for making it all worthwhile!

Request for info on Great Uncle

From: Doug Allison

My name is Doug Allison and I have recently found out that my great uncle was in the 89th Division, 353rd Regiment, Company C. He was a machine gunner with the rank of SeSergeant I was wondering if you had any specific information on his unit or company or if you could put me in touch with someone who might have been in the 353rd C Company. Thank you very much, and nice work on the website.

Doug Allison

[Doug's request for information has also been forwarded to Jim Horner, Organizational Representative of the 353rd Regiment.] Partial Solution and example of what collaborative research can accomplish

From: Douglas Little

[Editor: My apologies to Doug for my delay caused by a recent change of my address and thanks to Chick for helping out].

In response to Douglas's first request (Which was somewhat vague and I misplaced), since it mentioned an artillery unit with an unfamiliar designation, I forwarded it to Chick Chechini to see if he could help. He replied:

"This pertains to your request that I research the name of Douglas Little as a possible member of the 89th. As in your case, the gnawing fact that Doug had in his effects an 89th patch, I though it couldn't hurt to re-look through my history-cannon company by cannon company and battery by battery. In spite of the fact that some of the "sketchy remembrances of the family" simply doesn't fit-especially the one about being in "the last unit to escape being surrounded in the Battle of the Bulge," I decided that it is entirely plausible that maybe Dad took a few liberties with the history of his war service and remembrances. A careful second look does reveal a PFC D. F. Little having been in A Battery of the 340th Field Artillery Battalion. Could have been his dad, do you suppose? Chick

[This message was forwarded to Doug]

In further reference to your request of 10/24, the following (attached) communication has just been received from Mr. Cecchini, formerly with the 918th. Since I doubt there is a mix-up in names, this additional effort to assist you in your search may not be of much use. It is possible, of course, that he may have joined the division as a replacement and is not included in earlier listings. In any event, I will include your request in our Newsletter and if there is any response, we will be in further touch with you. I am sorry I don't have more information to give you.

[Final Comment by his son]

I have solved part of my mystery I think. Dad's unit was the 941st FA Bn and I believe that it was directly attached to V Corps HQ as part of the 406th FA Grp from D-day+6 until VW day and a while after. By then the 941st was rolled up and men with enough points went home and others had to stay and do S.G. duty, etc., until they accumulated the points to go home. Somehow the 89th Division was assigned to "run" Camp Lucky Strike at Le Harve. France. During this time the 89th picked up some stragglers like my father, Dad was made a part of the 89th according to his shoulder patch and working as an acting SGT and mail clerk at Camp Lucky Strike. Then in Dec 1945 he got his points and went home on the USS Enterprise and made it home 2 days after Xmas 1945.

[Good for you, Doug. While not in combat with us, in my book he was a 89er and if you wish to have his and your name listed on our website, please let me know. You may also be interested in subscribing to our official magazine, The Rolling W. In any event, if you haven't already seen it, there are stories on our website about those occupation days which might interest you.]

Lock and Load

From: Ed Quick Btry B, 340th FA

On the firing range, the call is "Lock and Load!" and I've always wondered why. It seems to me that it ought to be "Load and Lock!"

I know that on the old muskets, for instance, the "Lock" was the entire mechanism containing the hammer, etc., and certainly on those muzzleloaders one would think that you would load the piece first and then pull back the hammer and put on the percussion cap (or prepare the pan on a flintlock.) I can't think of any weapon where you would do something to the lock BEFORE loading the weapon.

Following this call (I think) comes the cry, "Ready on the Right! Ready on the Left! Ready on the Firing Line!" What is the meaning of that? It seems to me that the only place to be concerned about is the firing line itself. What then would be on the "Right" or the "Left" that you should check out before you checked the firing line? [Some crazy rookie]

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