by Les Hinshaw
Some 200 of America's greatest heroes will begin arriving in Columbus Friday for a three-day gathering. They are members of the 106th Infantry Division Association, who, back in mid-December of 1944, helped stave off four German armies in the "Battle of the Bulge".
The “youngest” division in the U. S. Army at that time, the 106th was activated in March of 1943, and the average age of the men who fought with the outfit was only 20.
D. B. “PETE” FRAMPTON, JR., of 10 N. Waverly St., general convention chairman, said yesterday “the division was out to make history and it did.”
The 106th was the first division to be cut off in the big German push on the “Bulge.” For five days, they held St. Vith and a road junction the armies of Von Runstedt were supposed to take on the first day of the drive.
In that battle, the division lost some 8000 men killed, missing or captured.
Their valiant effort still is remembered by the officers who knew its real meaning. Frampton said he has just received telegrams recommending the division from Gen. Omar Bradley and Gen. Matthew Ridgway, and several other top-ranking officers.
Recalling a famous incident of the battle in which the Germans tried to infiltrate through American lines by donning U. S. uniforms, Frampton said:
“That maneuver, called ‘Operation Grief’ by the Germans, was directed by Col. Otto Skorzeny, the man who kidnapped Mussolini. The plan went haywire for the most part when a captain in the 106th got hold of a document telling of ‘Operation Grief’ on the first day of the battle.
“By that evening, after the document had been decoded, everyone in the division knew about the plan. Everyone was suspicious of anyone he didn’t know, fearing he might be a German in disguise.”
At the convention, the association’s seventh annual, movies of the fighting around St. Vith will be shown, including both American and captured German films.
As a novel twist, members attending the get-together will not be given standard convention. cards. Instead, each man will get a set of two cardboard tags tinted silver. They will look like regular service dogtags.
One of them will have convention Information on it, the other will have the delegate’s name, address and former unit listed on it. Just to make things “homey,”
there will be signs scattered about reading: “Dogtags must be worn at all times “
The convention will get under way Friday morning with registration at the Ft. Hayes Hotel. Friday night, there will be an informal party. At 10 p. m. Friday a few of the delegates will appear on Chel Long’s program over WBNS-TV.
Saturday morning will be taken up with business sessions for both the association at its Ladies’ Auxiliary. The association has a Memorial Fund through which it gives out college scholarships to children of the 106th men killed in the war. The auxiliary will donate five table model radios to the Chillicothe Veterans Hospital Saturday.
SATURDAY NIGHT will feature the big banquet, floor show and dance. The convention will close Sunday morning with memorial services.
Among those attending the three-day session will be Maj. Gen. Alan W. Jones of Washington, D. C., division commander until mid-December of 1944; Brig. Gen. Herbert T. Perrin of Gambier, 0hio, division commander after that time, and Brig. Gen. Leo T. McMahon of Harrisburg, Pa., commander of the division’s artillery battalions.
STEPS TO LEARN whether additional money is available for GI home loans have been planned by Ohio AMVETS, according to State Commander Stuart J. Satullo.
First step will be to ask each AMVET post in Ohio to inquire of its home town money loaning institutions the volume of GI home loans now being granted, compared with those granted prior to May 5 when the interest rate was increased from 4 to 4% per cent
Secondly, the Ohio Department of AMVETS will contact various state agencies to learn the state-wide answer to the same question.
Ohio AMVETS feel that there has been little or no change in the granting of loans to GIs by financial institutions in many Ohio cities, despite the rate increase. Satullo said.
Courtesy of John Schaffner