May 2002 Newsletter
For all veterans, relatives and friends of the
89th INFANTRY DIVISION
WORLD WAR II
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
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
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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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.
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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
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.
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
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
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, email@example.com
to please pick up on this request and contact Michael directly and let us know what
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
I will try but are you any relation to Don Gaal?
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
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'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
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
[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
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
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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