September-October 2002 Newsletter

For all veterans, relatives and friends of the

Veterans and the 89th Flag at the World War II Memorial

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

This is our first newsletter since last month's reunion in Indianapolis, which was enjoyed by all of us in attendance. Congratulations to all the planners, participants and supporting staff. A very few highlights, comments and personal observations, coupled with some photos taken by Mark, are briefly addressed here by your Editor but the full and official account of the reunion and its implications will undoubtedly be prepared by our Society leadership, which I assume will appear in the December issue of the TRW.

The arrangements and accommodations were fine and the first night started off with a bang at a Theater-dinner presentation of "The Sound of Music" which was splendid. The next morning the amended by-lays were presented and approved and that was effectively the end of business, at least insofar as the general membership was concerned. Group meetings took up the next two afternoons for those who wished to attend, including a presentation on The Army Specialized Training Program with a lively interchange amongst us who were lucky enough to have attended ASTP before being assigned to the 89th. The second afternoon consisted of a very professional presentation of our website by Mark who came well equipped technically and otherwise to project it on a large screen for easy viewing. It was an overflowing and pleasing crowd but mostly consisted of those already using the Internet while we had hoped to reach some of those vets who will never see it.

The only, and it was very brief discussion, on finances concerned whether to raise the dues or not. My only serious concerns with the session were: the difficulty of the responsible officers to inform the membership of how and for what purpose they proposed to spend the uncertain and perhaps fluctuating Society resources of the next two years; and, that their declared priorities and assumptions are not stated or intended to be made available to the overall membership. Given the by-law amendments expanding the membership categories and the certain decrease in active membership, this must be a priority task for our Society Officers and I urge their prompt attention to it-as I did before the reunion. It should also not be kept secret.

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Website Developments

I enjoyed meeting many of you at the reunion and very much appreciate all the support received. There is a new section of the website with pictures from the reunion. PLease click on Reunion Photos to see them.

Ray Kitchell's memoirs will be updated soon with complete pictures.


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Email List Updates

It would greatly simplify our tasks if I were notified promptly of address changes or when one is no longer using the Internet so we can make the necessary adjustments effectively and on a timely basis. The task of maintaining a current and 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.

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.

Please click on the highlighted name to send an email.

ANDERSON, Robert Hq Btry, Div Arty

BROSSEAU, Charles M (deceased) c/o son Tom

COLMAN, Clare J AT Co, 353rd Inf

KONGABLE, J.W. (Bill) AT Co, 354th Inf

ROSS, Wayne J H Co, 353rd Inf c/o Polly Hollenback, daughter-in-law

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In France, Luxemburg and Germany. Carried ammunition for heavy machine gun. Passed away August 6th in Houston while on a business trip. Official cause of death was heart attack. Would have been 78 on August 29th. Was divorced, no children. Is survived by his Brother Demetrios Christophides, sister in law Tula, 1-nephew Alexandria 3 nieces Sophia, Calli and Helen, also nieces and nephews. [If any further info needed please do not hesitate to contact me. I know you are probably all at the Reunion.... hope you all have a good time. Fran Meola (Secretary to O.G. Rusty" Christophides) s. Could it be because he received the Victory Medal?

We would love to know why he was given this wonderful honor. When taps was played I have to admit there wasn't a dry eye at the cemetery. I know he was very proud to receive this honor.....and so were we.


Fran Meola
(Secretary to O.G.Christophides)

Charles E. Jackson, K Co. 355th Inf

[In response to an email with pictures from the reunion]

How nice; I enjoyed the pictures. Unfortunately, we were unable to attend this year because my husband, Charles E. Jackson, 355th, K Co. was in the final stages of Pick's Disease when the reunion began. He lost that battle on August 27. The reunions had meant so much to him, and one of his great pleasures of the last few years was co-chairing the host committee for the 2000 reunion in Tacoma. I intend to keep up membership in the society and hope to attend in Washington in 2004. My e-mail will remain the same. Elizabeth Jackson

Joseph V. Comensoli Jr

My father, Joseph V. Comensoli Jr, served in Co. B, 353 Infantry regiment, rank T-5, Scout from January, 1945 to his post-war discharge. He was also a member of the 89th division Softball squad that competed in a lot of inter-divisional competition. He had his basic training in the replacement Camp Fannon in Texas before going to France. He was from Ishpeming in Michigan's northern Upper Peninsula. He passed away on Fathers Day -June 2000. We have found a lot of memorabilia of his time in Europe including service medals, a roster and autographed softball from the 89th div team. Also a small booklet called "The history of the 89th division", a fold-out map of the service record of the division, and many pictures of unidentified concentration camp scenes at Ohrdruf). I just discovered the website and understand there is a reunion planned this month in Indy. Would any of you know of or remember my father or the softball team? Is there any way i could share this memorabilia with fellow 89ers? I could try to get to Indianapolis if necessary to meet with the archivist. Would appreciate any response/comments. THANK YOU ALL FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY Alan Comensoli, Detroit, Michigan

[Editor: I am truly sorry we couldn't get this online before the reunion but hope repeating your request in this issue of the Newsletter will get some response Thank you.]

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Letters and Exchanges

These communications are repeated here roughly in order of receipt.

[In order to prevent confusion on my part, when communicating with me please include your name, unit as well as email address. I will help me a lot. Thank you]

In Response to Fran Meola's Questions

From: Darrel Carnell

Dear Fran:

I am saddened to hear of Rusty's passing. Although our friendship was of very brief duration (the week or ten days it took to drive from Hunter Liggett in California to Camp Butner in North Carolina) I have ever since remembered his fondness for fresh fruit and his cheerful outlook on life. I just wish he could have made it to another reunion.

As to the military honors at his funeral: It is my understanding that all veterans are entitled to final military honors, although all communities are not sufficiently staffed to perform them. I believe that an honor guard, a final salute, taps and presentation of the flag are customary. I did not know that the funeral home required inspection of discharge papers, though.

I guess I'll be left out of the final retreat because I lost mine years ago. A word to Joe: I have been suffering from terrible and incapacitating pain in my right leg and hip for several weeks. The onset was quite sudden and is probably caused by pinching or compressing of my sciatic nerve. But because I suffer from type II diabetes I am worried that perhaps that plays a part in my discomfort. I hope your other half's hip replacement was a success. Thanks for letting us know, Fran.

Darrel Oh where is Bernie or is it Schwartz?

From: Darell Carnell

While attending Oregon State College in Corvallis as an ASTP student, I knew a handsome little New Yorker named Bernie Schwartz. He was always neat as a pin and even in a GI uniform he was a sharp dresser and had an engaging personality. Many years later I learned that Bernie Schwartz was the real name of Tony Curtis, the Hollywood actor. I have ever since wondered whether the Bernie Schwartz I knew at OSC was in fact Tony Curtis. Any help out there from former OSC students? [Or anyone else? Darrell is dying to know]

Czech Army Commendations for 354th Inf

From: Jerry Shuster

Thank you so much for the reply. A bit more information regarding my wife's deceased father, Arlan Ingram, has came to light. We accept your invitation to print the information in your newsletter.

The following is a copy of the Certificate from the Czech Army:

The Commandant of Czechoslovakian Army in Susice wishes to (illegible) his gratitude to the following (illegible) of the American and British Armies:

Joseph P Zutell, 2nd Lt, 05_7515
Company M, 354th Inf, 89th Div

Fred H. Jaspar, S/Sgt, 37448400
Company M, 354th Inf, 89th Div

Leonard E. C__plin, Acting Sergeant, 2572226
Royal Corps of Signals, English

_orn E. Drew, PFC, 36067232
Company M, 354th Inf, 89th Div

Arlen Ingram, PFC, 38608593
Company M, 354th Inf, 89th Div

Byron S. _ooney, Pvt, 11131658
Company M, 354th Inf, 89th Div

The above mentioned escaped from their Prisoner of war camp in Mokrosuky in the district of Susice on the night of 4 to 5 May 1945, and joined up with the Czech soldiers in Susice. On the following day, they disarmed the German garrison in the town, numbering 63 men. Then, accompanied by a Czech Army officer and members of the Czech National Freedom movement set out for the tanks of the 4th Division of the 3rd American Army in order to connect up with them. After a journey through areas still partially occupied by the enemy, they reached the spearheads some 20 km away, and gave information about the strength of the enemy craft in the neighborhood and brought the tanks into Susice.

The area Commandant of the Czechoslovakian Army in Susice Susice, May 10, 1945 We have copies of the certificates, both in English and Czech. My wife, Linda, wishes to contact any of the persons involved with this action, or anyone who knew her father. She is also sending dues by snail mail requesting membership as a friend of the Association.

Jerry and Linda Ingram Schuster
2201 N. Main
Altus, Ok. 73521

Dear Veterans

From: Sgt Patrick Brion

Dear veterans and family of the 89th US Infantry Division,

It is with a great honor that I finally managed to contact all of you in one time. I already had contact with some of the veterans of your unit and I would like to thank them also through this mail.

My name is Patrick Brion. I am a senior NCO working at General Staff in the Belgian Armed Forces. Since some years, I go every year with a group of Belgian survivors of the REIMAHG underground Me-262 factory. This factory was occupied by elements of the 89th US Infantry Division around mid-April 1945.

Since the beginning of the year, together with a German friend who lives in Jena, we are doing extensive research about the complete history of the REIMAHG factory. So far, we managed to find a lot of information in several archives like in Weimar (Thuringian State Archives), Federal German Archives and so on...Also in the US, over the National Archives (NARA) I managed to obtain some of the After Action Reports of the 89th and it sub-units.

We are also the only ones who have official access to the underground complex.

You would ask, why are these guys doing this things... Indeed, a good question. The purpose of all this work, and believe me, we have already put an enormous amount of work into it, is two reasons: - the first one is to write a complete and comprehensive historical work about the REIMAHG. About the forced laborers, the aircraft, the factory but also about our unit. - the second is to convince German authorities to finally recognize the REIMAHG as a official memorial site. Things are looking very good in that direction.

The Memorial Day 2002 was also in a way a première, because one of the veterans of the 89th was present. I wasn't able to speak to him (but through E-Mail) and I was very happy that he was there. I also managed to get our Minister of National Defense there, this followed by the usual courtship of press and television. But this was very good, since that day the Germans still remember that day...So, I would to appeal to all of you who did such a great job during that period. Could you help me out with pictures and all information concerning that period? I can guarantee you that it will be taken into account. We managed for example to find over 60 former Hitler Youth members and they were very happy to talk about that period.

If you have still good memories of that period, you can mail them or send to me. Another idea would be that next year, more member veterans of the 89th could be at the Memorial Day. It would make a difference. I noticed that emotions were very high with all people at this year's memorial day. Also invited were the Belgian veterans of the 16th Bn Fusiliers, which joined you in combat in April 1945. Why not think about putting a memorial plate on the mountain, thus telling people that the 89th US Infantry Division was the unit to liberate all these people!!!

Dear Veterans and family, I would really be very grateful to obtain support of anyone of you. You were the people who were in the middle of that important history and your contribution could make the difference between a permanent memory and a forgotten part of history.

With deepest regards

Patrick Brion
1 Sergeant Major
Belgian Verification Agency (BEVA) ' 32 2 701 2455 or 2473 6 32 2 701 2959

Email: or Address: Damstraat 96 1800 VILVOORDE BELGIUM

[Dear Patrick:

I note you have made good use of our email listings. I will also include your message in the September Newsletter for the benefit or new users. I am also forwarding your message to Mary Brunner for possible use in the TRW.

Thank you very much for your thoughts and suggestions.

Editor] Reunion with Arch Keeling

From: Mike Nobel

Hey Mark,

It was a pleasure meeting you and your dad in Indianapolis. I had no idea that I would be so affected by that encounter, especially handing over a photo of Arch Keeling in 1945 to Arch Keeling in 2002. That alone made the whole journey worthwhile. I'm going to carefully study the website and review your dad's memoirs. And to that point let's stay in touch because I'm very interested to learn more about the division's experience. If I can offer any help in putting some of those pieces together (editing or researching), please don't hesitate to contact me.

From Wally Dunn

From: Wally Dunn

Glad to hear from you again ...your Dad was in my company...I am sending you the picture you wanted which is a full company review at Rouen France after the war and when our company was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French helping the retake of their country ...the man in front is the CO of Company L which at the end of the war was your truly after Capt Harris had been seriously wounded prior to the Rhine crossing ...since there was over 200 men in Co L it will be difficult to find your father as the front row is platoon officers and non coms ........I regret to say I don't remember your Dad as we had a lot of replacement near the end and at nearly 83 yrs of age my memory is fading !!! Also sending you a pic of the city of Kaub where we crossed the Rhine below Cologne happy to hear from you again Regards Wally Dunn (Capt)

353rd Regiment

From: MaryAnn Bowser

What my husband is also questioning is if there is a list of the 353 Regiment and who survived from the war. He & most of the men were separated once they arrived in France March of 1945...... From the states prior to going over, he had made with friends with many of them... Thanks...... Mary Ann

[Editor: Certainly there is. For example I'm attaching our current email listings for those using the Internet. If your husband is a member of the Society, he should also have received the latest roster of all member vets. If not, he may wish to join us. Off to the Reunion tomorrow.]

Patton's Reaction

From: Ed Quick

I ran across this excerpt while reading an article about Patton's visit to Ohrdruf. It describes the effect that awful camp had on him. I guess there were no reporters with him when he carried out his "Third Army War Memorial Project," so we have no actual record of what transpired.

However, I know that our battery fired on a number of small German towns and villages after we passed Ohrdruf and I gunned #2 howitzer several times. I wonder if we were ever a part of Patton's "War Memorial?" Maybe I'm a war criminal.

It would be hard to find a German town, however small or obscure, that is completely lacking in historic or cultural importance. After describing the crimes of the Germans, Patton went on to tell about how the Americans wantonly destroyed every village and hamlet in their path. On the same page of his book, in which he describes the atrocities of the Germans, Patton wrote, "We developed later a system known as the 'Third Army War Memorial Project' by which we always fired a few salvos into every town we approached, before even asking for surrender. The object of this was to let the inhabitants have something to show to future generations of Germans by way of proof that the Third Army had passed that way.

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