Remembrances: Larry Coppock--About Dad: Getting Organized

Dad's separation papers read: Sgt. Benjamin F. Coppock, 89th Infantry Division 353rd Infantry Regiment, Company F. Separated from Camp Blanding, Florida,December,1945.

My 19 year old son Ben, and I, were surfing the internet one night last summer when we navigated a path to the 89th Infantry Division's web site. A plethora of information suddenly appeared including a history of the division, links to personal stories, email lists of veterans, photos, and more. I was filled with excitement at the prospect of locating veterans who may have served with dad. Mark Kitchell, the assistant web master, was also very helpful. He happened also to be a son of one of the veteran 89ers, Ray Kitchell. I learned that there was an 89th Division journal that was available for purchase that listed every man who had served. Finally, like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces were beginning to fall in place.

After receiving the 89th book a few weeks later, I began my search by going to or and key stroking names for addresses and phone numbers. I looked for unusual names first. More often than not, I came up empty. There were no street addresses, cities or states listed. But a few were home runs. These precious few contacts eventually led me to men who served in the same company as dad and one of them, Murray Weiss, sent me an original roster of Company F sub divided into platoons and squads. It was dated November, 1944. Dad's name jumped off the page: Sgt. Benjamin F. Coppock, Asst. Squad leader, 3rd Platoon, 2nd Rifle squad, right next to a Lester Devore and 10 others. This piece of paper has become one of my most prized possessions.

Soon after, I began the sometimes exhausting but always fulfilling search for anyone who knew dad. It would lead me to some very interesting phone conversations and one in- person interview.

Much of the content of these approximate 20 interviews are described in a letter to my two older sisters, Linda and Cathy. Names of the persons that I contacted for information are listed below.

Third Platoon, First Rifle Squad:
Salvatore Speranza

Second Platoon, Second Rifle Squad
William Gonz
Lester Devore

Third Platoon, Third Rifle Squad
Harold Alger's grandson ((Harold, deceased)

Second Platoon
Lt. Earl Oot

Second Platoon, First Rifle Squad
John Hebert, Silver Star recipient and sniper

Second Platoon , Second Rifle Squad
Donald DeMent

Second Platoon, Third Rifle Squad
Marlen Pressley
Neal L.Starr

Company Headquarters
Anthony Werthman

Others consulted:
Laurel 'Larry' Dunlap
Norbert Badten
James Horner
Mrs. Van Hoozen (John J., deceased)
Mrs. Mary Brunner
Larry Berg
Mark Kitchell
Ray Kitchell

My Mother, Ruby Coppock
The 89th Division Journal, 1942-1945
The 89th Division web site

My research only turned up one man who had first hand, personal and intimate information about dad-Lester Devore, Delevan, Illinois. I taped two hours of a personal interview with Devore. My hope is that someone else who may read this article may find me. How much easier that would be.

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