November 9, 2007 -
14 Carolina's Lisa Reyes has more on a World War II hero who will be
CHARLOTTE -- The Carolinas Freedom Foundation
hosted its annual breakfast Friday morning to honor area veterans.
The breakfast kicks off a series of events in Charlotte for the
The special honoree is a
Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. Sgt.
Francis Currey joined the Army at just 17 years old and on Dec. 20,
1944, his life changed forever.
"I only got a couple of minor wounds
that day," the 82-year-old retired platoon leader said.
The breakfast ran from 7:30 a.m. to
9 a.m. Friday.
The humble soldier was assigned to the 30th
Infantry Division in the midst of the Battle of the Bulge. He
and small squad of men were asked to guard a bridge against the
"We lost practically the
whole division out there," he recalled.
By the next morning, Currey said he did
what he had to do.
"By that time we were surrounded by
Germans and we were going to get out of there but we weren't going
to leave the two wounded," he said.
Lt. Col John Falkenbury
says Currey is a role model.
"It's men like Frank and the ones
before him that I try to emulate," he said.
The breakfast will last from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
There will be a wreath laying ceremony at 11 a.m. at Polk Park and
the parade gets under way at 11 a.m. Saturday.
April 18, 2007 - 'It was a job he had' -
Andrew Arthur Mousin
BALLSTON SPA - If Tuesday's ceremony was
for someone other than Andrew Arthur Mousin ... he'd have been
all for it, Mousin's daughter, Patty Schwartzbeck said. But if
it were a ceremony honoring him?
"We couldn't have gotten him to show up," said Mousin's
son-in-law Rick Schwartzbeck said.
Saratoga County honored Mousin, who died in 1989 at the age of
78, as its deceased veteran of the month. Mousin, of Greenfield
was a self-employed logger until taking a job as a forester with
the county Environmental Services from 1968 until his
Patty Schwartzbeck said she rarely heard about her father's time
in Europe with the Army growing up. "It was a job he had," she
said. "He didn't talk."
But there was a story to tell. Mousin cleared land mines with
the pioneer and ammunition platoon of the 30th Infantry
Division's 119th Infantry Regiment. In those days,
clearing mines involved using a primitive, hand held metal
detector or more commonly working on your hands and knees in the
mud probing the ground with a bayonet.
On Jan. 20, 1945, Mousin and his outfit were clearing one such
minefield in Germany when the dying German Army opened up with
mortars. Mousin was awarded a Bronze Star for that day.
Gene Corsale, chairman of the county Honor a Deceased Veteran
Committee, said Mousin had five battle stars in Europe -
Normandy, Ardennes, Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe -
while the average for an American soldier in Europe was just
three major campaigns. JIM
KINNEY,, The Saratogian - Saratoga,NY,USA
April 04, 2007
- Medal of Honor Recipient: Staff Sergeant Paul
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army,
Company I, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Petit-Coo, Belgium, 23 December 1944.
Entered service at: Madison, Ala. Birth: Hobbes Island,
lowa. G.O. No.: 73, 30 August 1945-.
He voluntarily attacked a formidable enemy strong point in
Petit-Coo, Belgium, on 23 December, 1944, when his company
was pinned down by extremely heavy automatic and small-arms
fire coming from a house 200 yards to the front. Mortar and
tank artillery shells pounded the unit, when S/Sgt. Bolden
and a comrade, on their own initiative, moved forward into a
hail of bullets to eliminate the ever-increasing fire from
the German position.
Crawling ahead to close with what they knew was a powerfully
armed, vastly superior force, the pair reached the house and
took up assault positions, S/Sgt. Bolden under a window, his
comrade across the street where he could deliver covering
fire. In rapid succession, S/Sgt. Bolden hurled a
fragmentation grenade and a white phosphorous grenade into
the building; and then, fully realizing that he faced
tremendous odds, rushed to the door, threw it open and fired
into 35 SS troopers who were trying to reorganize themselves
after the havoc wrought by the grenades.
Twenty Germans died under fire of his submachine gun before
he was struck in the shoulder, chest, and stomach by part of
a burst which killed his comrade across the street. He
withdrew from the house, waiting for the surviving Germans
to come out and surrender. When none appeared in the
doorway, he summoned his ebbing strength, overcame the
extreme pain he suffered and boldly walked back into the
house, firing as he went.
He had killed the remaining 15 enemy soldiers when his
ammunition ran out. S/Sgt. Bolden's heroic advance against
great odds, his fearless assault, and his magnificent
display of courage in reentering the building where he had
been severely wounded cleared the path for his company and
insured the success of its mission.
January 23, 2007 -
OBITUARY - Col. Layton "Joe" Tyner - Army colonel was
-- When two Pulitzer Prize-winning writers were doing research
for books on the Korean War, they sought out Col. Layton "Joe"
The decorated 33-year Army veteran who retired to Sarasota was a
military aide to one of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's top commanders
in Korea, Gen. Walton "Bulldog" Walker.
Walker's Eighth Army helped drive back the North Koreans who
invaded South Korea in 1950. Tyner was a passenger in Walker's
Jeep later that same year when it crashed, killing Walker and
leaving Tyner hospitalized for nearly a year.
The accident was one of several close calls for Tyner, who also
served in World War II and the Vietnam War. He also narrowly
survived the flu pandemic in 1918 at the age of 2 that is
believed to have killed as many as 5 percent of the world's
Tyner, who remained active in retirement as a car, boat and
plane enthusiast, died Jan. 15 of complications from a tumor. He
"He was always considerate of others and earned their respect
because he respected them," said his daughter, Libby Tyner of
"He was a Southern gentleman all the way," said his wife, Grace.
"He always said 'please' and 'thank you' and I never heard him
say an ugly word about anybody in the 48 years that we were
Born Aug. 3, 1916, in Raleigh, N.C., Tyner attended North
Carolina State University and had been serving in the National
Guard for two years when it was mobilized in 1940 shortly after
the start of World War II.
He took part in the Normandy invasion with the Army's
30th Infantry Division in June
1944 and was wounded two months later in the German
counter-offensive at the Battle of Mortain in France.
He was among the occupation forces in Japan after the war when
he was sent to Korea in 1950.
He later recounted his experiences in Korea to Pulitzer
Prize-winning historian John Toland, who wrote "In Mortal
Combat: Korea 1950-1953," and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
David Halberstam, who was doing research for a book on the
Korean War, said Tyner's son, Layton "Max" Tyner, an Army master
sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
After Korea, Col. Tyner's military career included observing
tests of an atomic howitzer in a Nevada desert in the mid-1950s
that blew a 45-ton tank off the ground, and serving as one of
the Army's top logisticians in the Pentagon during the Vietnam
In the 1960s, he had approximately 4,500 American GIs in four
battalions in Germany under his command. Before retiring in
1971, he was stationed at Florida's Homestead Air Force Base,
where he oversaw the Nike, Hercules and Hawk missile sites set
up in South Florida in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Among the medals he received were a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star,
a Combat Infantry Badge, an Air Medal with four oak leaf
clusters, an Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf
clusters, and a Legion of Merit Medal with an oak leaf cluster.
"If he didn't have to take mandatory retirement at 55, my dad
would probably still be serving," his son said.
In retirement, he co-owned a yacht sales business and was a
member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary/Flotilla 84, where he
taught engine maintenance classes and patrolled local waters.
He was also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Services are pending. He will be buried at Arlington National
In addition to his wife and two children, Tyner is survived by
two sisters, Gladys Parker of Raleigh, N.C., and Doris Howard of
Ormond Beach, and son-in-law Jack Bispham.
Memorial donations may be made to Pensacola United Methodist
Church, 9255 State Hwy. 197 S., Burnsville, NC 28714; or to Pine
Shores Presbyterian Church, 6135 Beechwood Ave., Sarasota, FL
Herald-Tribune - Sarasota,FL,USA
January 22, 2007 -
William H. Peeck
William H. Peeck, 93, died on Jan. 18 at the Attleboro
Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Langhorne, Pa. A
lifelong area resident, Mr. Peeck grew up in Hopewell and
Trenton, and lived in Pennington for 44 years before moving to
the Attleboro Retirement Village in 1995.
A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, Mr. Peeck was a
technician fourth grade in the 30th
Infantry Division, and served with the "Old Hickory"
Division in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Mr. Peeck worked for the U.S. Postal Service in the Trenton
area for 35 years. At the time of his retirement in 1972, he was
supervisor of the Circle Branch Post Office.
A member of the Pennington Presbyterian Church, he served on
its Board of Deacons. He also managed a team for the Hopewell
Township Babe Ruth League.
Predeceased by his parents, William H. and Christina Peeck;
his wife, Mary B. Peeck, to whom he was married for 57 years;
brothers John and Arthur Peeck; and sister Lucy Murray Briggs,
he is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, William D. and
Wendy M. Peeck of Greece, N.Y., and Robert E. Peeck of Ewing;
two grandchildren, Christopher and Andrea Peeck; a
sister-in-law, Betty Peeck of Hamilton; a niece, Evelyn Marion
of Pennington; and a grand-niece Susan Harbowy of Bellevue, Neb.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. from
the Blackwell Memorial Home, 21 N. Main St., Pennington, with
the Rev. Paul Rhebergen, interim pastor of the Pennington
Presbyterian Church, officiating.
Interment will be in Highland Cemetery, Hopewell.
Friends may call on Tuesday from 7-9:00 p.m. and Wednesday
from 10 a.m. until the time of the services at the memorial
Memorial contributions may be made to the Pennington
Presbyterian Church, 13 S. Main St., Pennington, 08534.
Valley News - Hopewell,NJ,USA
December 31, 2006 -
Tennessee author in search of G.I. Joe
Chet Sewell, a
Tennesee author, has spent the last four years searching for
information about an American soldier whose cross he
stumbled upon in Colleville-sur Mer, France, near Normandy.
The soldier was born in Suffolk, but spent his teenage years
in Camden, South Carolina, before joining the Army and
heading to Europe. Sewell has been tracking the soldier’s
life through research and interviews. Contributed photo
Tennessee author Chet Sewell has spent the last four years on a
journey. He knows how it began, but the ending, that's still up in
the air. To figure it out, he needs help from the people of Suffolk.
In June 2002, Sewell was on a family vacation in Europe. He wanted
to see the World War II Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur
Mer, France, where nearly 9,400 American soldiers are buried.
Coincidentally, the day they visited the site was June 6, 1944 n
While walking through the cemetery, Sewell stumbled upon one of the
white crosses dotting the 172 acres. What caught his eye was the
fact that the date of death on the cross was July 20, 1944. Sewell
was born that day, just six years earlier.
“It was like the cross lit up right in front of me,” he said.
The marker read: HUGH P. GODWIN, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army,
Service #20406906, 105th Engineer Combat Battalion,
30th Infantry Division, Entered the
service from: South Carolina, Died July 20, 1944, Buried at: Plot J
Row 11 Grave 35, Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer,
France, Awards: Purple Heart.
Sewell took the information and began working backward, tracing
Godwin to Camden, S.C., where he spent 11 years of his short life.
For the first 12, Sewell would learn, Godwin lived in Suffolk, where
he was born. Godwin's mother was Carrie Beckham and his father was
While doing research in South Carolina, Sewell found two of Godwin's
cousins, Bobby Charles Russell of Columbia, S.C., and Howard “Bill”
Luther Thrower of Charlotte, N.C. Thrower could recall visiting
Godwin's family in Suffolk and seemed to think his father, J.B., was
in the plumbing business.
Sewell was able to learn a lot about Godwin's life in Camden,
including that he had a fiancé, as well as that he was stationed in
Florida before being sent to Europe. A letter from the Army
explained how he was killed: Godwin was a combat engineer whose job
included removing mines. While on a mission in St. Lo, he was killed
by machine gun fire from the Germans and died instantly.
Sewell even found Godwin's older brother, James B. Godwin, who
provided photographs, but declined to discuss his brother further.
He told Sewell that was a closed chapter in his life that he
preferred not to revisit. Sewell has respected those wishes,
continuing on with his fact-finding mission using whatever other
tools are available to him n museums, newspaper archives and more.
In the hopes of learning more about Godwin's early years in Suffolk,
Sewell paid a visit here two weeks ago. He tried the Visitors'
Center, Mills E. Godwin Court House, Morgan Memorial Library, R.W.
Baker Funeral Home, the tax department in City Hall, Seaboard
Station Railroad Museum and the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society
with no luck.
A trip to Main Street United Methodist Church (Godwin's family had
been members of the Lyttleton Street UMC in Camden) proved fruitful.
Godwin, his mother and brother were members of that church while
they lived in Suffolk, and old records revealed what Godwin's middle
initial -- “P” stood for: Parker. Godwin's father, however,
was not mentioned.
“The father is an elusive character,” Sewell said.
He had hoped to learn more about Godwin's childhood n to possibly
find the house he grew up in, the school he attended, former
classmates, friends or relatives. Anything and everything could help
him describe Godwin's early years.
Obviously, the big question is “Why?”
Why would Sewell go to all this trouble n thousands of hours spent
making phone calls, traveling to South Carolina, Virginia and beyond
n all in an effort to piece together the puzzle of a young man he
never knew and is not related to?
For Sewell, the answer is simple.
“He means everything to me, my generation and America. He was a
plain and ordinary G.I. Joe that gave everything so we could live
the good life.
“These kids gave it all n for what? A white cross in Normandy.”
The story of WWII has been told time and again, but no one has told
the stories of those thousands of young, small-town Americans who
fought so bravely. Those who returned from the war went quietly back
into society and built the America of today, Sewell said.
Sewell plans to write a book about Godwin, to both illuminate and
“It's been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my
Suffolk News-Herald -
December 18, 2006 -
A dedicated Bulldog
- December is a nostalgic time of year for Ed Jacobsen. More
than 60 years ago at this time he was a part of the Allied
offensive in Belgium and Holland during World War II.
having been grazed on his buttocks by a bullet, he was ordered
back to the front lines.
In the spring, during a reconnaissance patrol for the
30th Infantry Division, 119 Armored Division, seeking
contact with the Russian Army as the two forces drew close to
each other, he headed toward a bridge on the Elbe River that the
Allies had taken over a short period before - only to discover
the hard way that the Germans had quickly regained control of
captured and held in a prisoner of war camp near Magdeburg,
Germany, but escaped after 17 days with three of his buddies -
not knowing by then that the war had ended.
their escape, they stole a jeep and were fired upon as they left
- apparently their captors hadn't received the memo that the war
was over, either. Jacobsen was shot in the left eye, though he
was able to see with it for many years later, finally losing
vision in that eye about 15 years ago.
Germans treated me OK," Jacobsen, 85, remembers. "They were
scared because they knew the end was coming."
another reason it's a nostalgic time of year for Jacobsen, a
devout University of Redlands alumnus and proud former member of
Pi Chi, the university's oldest fraternity.
university prepares a float for the Tournament of Roses parade
in January as part of its centennial celebration, Jacobsen will
be reflecting on the time he and his buddy scored a touchdown at
the Rose Bowl.
the on the same day as Tournament of Roses.
injury prevented him from ever playing at Redlands High School,
but a played freshman football at the university.
"I was a
center lineman" for Redlands, Jacobsen recalled. "I think we
were playing Occidental, and we were supposed to be playing at a
different field, but something happened and we got transferred
at the last minute to the Rose Bowl - not the New Year's Rose
to Jacobsen, "We recovered a fumble, and as we ran toward the
end zone, I remember as my buddy and I looked out at the stadium
we thought to ourselves that it looked pretty empty, because
3,500 people scattered around the Rose Bowl doesn't look like
very many people."
a retired Realtor who still has his broker's license, now lives
up the street from his alma maters at Plymouth Village.
father, a former economics and business administration professor
at the university, volunteered their family's home when once "in
the mid-30s several athletes from San Joaquin brought along a
bulldog that was being kept in their hotel room. We offered to
keep it in our basement while they were on Christmas vacation,"
Jacobsen said. "As a kid, that bulldog was big to me. Sometime a
year later, maybe in '33, '34 or '35 the university adopted a
bulldog as its mascot."
children know him to be supportive, hard working and a loyal
alumnus for Redlands.
to go to the Homecoming games and the Feast of Lights," said
Steve Jacobsen, 54, a pastor in Santa Barbara. "My mom was
involved with Town & Gown. When she passed away, he created a
scholarship fund in her name that he still contributes to."
to Steve, his father did some complementary real estate
consulting for the University of Redlands. "He'd never charge
them" for his consultations, Steve said.
family lived in San Bernardino, Jacobsen was involved with the
Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.
always placed a premium on civic duty," Steve said. "While he
was never a politician, he was involved around politics. I
remember once flying up with him to Sacramento when I was 10,
and he took me with him to the state Senate and I was able to
sit in a senator's chair."
very solid citizen," according to former Redlands school board
member and Principal Barbara Phelps, who graduated from Redlands
High School with Ed Jacobsen, and later attended school with him
at the university. Phelps also described her former classmate as
"a dear friend. When Ed tells you you're his friend, he's your
friend. He's always concerned about the people he knows, and
he's always very caring and very giving."
Jacobsen never seemed to navigate far from his roots. In his
childhood days, Plymouth Village was nothing but orange groves.
He witnessed the construction of Currier Gymnasium at the
university; he "watched the president's house roll over the hill
and up the other side to become the Alumni House. I watched the
(Sara Grace Parker) Hall of Letters get built."
said he practices some principles he observed in Ed.
"My father has always been a great listener" to Steve and his
sisters, Kristen of Santa Cruz and Karen Stancer of Santa
Barbara, as well as their older son Alan who died in June 2005.
Ed's wife Dorothy died 12 years ago.
would let us learn to take responsibility from our own actions,"
Steve said. "Even though he might not have always thought our
own decisions were the best for ourselves, he always supported
them and let us take their own path. I try to remember that as
my own kids grow up."
Redlands Daily Facts - Redlands,CA,USA
November 11. 2006 -
Stockton man spent years
trying to forget his war experiences
Flores of Stockton, a U.S. Army veteran, wears a
sergeant-rank jacket with medals attached that he
received for fighting in the Battle of the Bulge in
Germany during World War II.
As he sat recently at the kitchen table in his
Stockton home, Perfecto P. Flores opened a gallon-size Ziploc bag
and emptied its contents. Out tumbled the blue boxes containing the
medals he earned while serving in World War II. A couple of
others - the Purple Heart and Bronze Star - already lay on the
Unlike many veterans whose medals rest in
display cases, Flores keeps his along with some black-and-white
photos and other mementos in a box in his garage.
He acknowledges that for a long time he tried
to forget the nearly three years he spent in the U.S. Army.
"He never really talked about the war," said
Flores' nephew Perfecto Munoz. "I knew he had a Purple Heart because
our mother told us."
Flores didn't even share his war experiences
with his wife, Carmen. "He never wanted to talk about the
war," she said.
began to change this year after he was interviewed for a book about
Company B, 526th Armored Infantry Battalion.
The unit was eventually attached to the 30th
Infantry Division, which comprised mostly Mexican-Americans
A few weeks ago, Munoz spent a couple of days
talking with his uncle and taping his reminiscences.
"One thing he said was that when he came back,
he was very different," Munoz said. "It was really hard for him to
think about the people he lost. He saw some things that were just
Born and raised in Stockton, Flores, 83,
entered the Army when he was 19 or 20. He can't remember his age,
but he does recall his enlistment date - March 19, 1943.
While he could have received a deferment as the
sole provider for his mother and siblings, Flores said, "I asked to
go up right away."
All his friends were enlisting, he said, and he
didn't want to be left behind. Prior to joining, the farthest he had
traveled from home was San Francisco.
"When I crossed the California line, I cried
like a baby," Flores said.
He went to Fort Knox, Ky., for training and
became a member of the Special Troops, or T Force. Members had to
have an IQ of 110 or more, he said. Flores' was 118.
Flores had the choice of going to officer
candidates school or noncommissioned officer school. He chose the
After 13 weeks at Fort Knox, Flores spent
another six months in the Arizona desert training on the General
Grant tank. Although three battalions trained on the Grant, Flores'
was picked to go to Europe. The other two were sent to the Pacific.
The battalion arrived in Wales three months
before the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944. They set up camp in an
apple orchard and began re-training.
In his European campaign, Flores survived many
ferocious battles, chief among them the assault on Malmedy, Belgium,
in the winter of 1944-45. "We were the first troops in Malmedy,"
According to a photocopy of an article he
keeps, "dozens of GIs were gunned down in cold blood by soldiers of
the 1st SS Panzer Division on Dec. 17" in Malmedy.
Flores witnessed other atrocities. He recounted
how the Germans would line up prisoners and shoot them, then stack
the bodies like firewood and use them as cover.
Then came Jan. 3, 1945, when Flores and his
unit were advancing up a hill in Malmedy. The men had been told
there weren't many Germans on the other side. The information proved
wrong. Two divisions - 28,000 soldiers - waited for them, he said.
As they climbed the
hill, a young soldier from the South, Gordon Blaisdell, was to
"He said, 'Hey, let's
go get them,' " Flores recalled. Flores told Blaisdell there
were too many soldiers.
"He raised his head and got hit by a sniper's
bullet" and was killed instantly, Flores said.
Instinctively, Flores went to his fallen
comrade. In doing so, he was hit in the back by shrapnel.
The troops regrouped, reinforcements arrived
and the Allies eventually won the battle. By then, Flores was in a
hospital receiving treatment for his wound.
Luck was with him when he arrived at the combat
hospital. The medic was an acquaintance from high school.
"He wiped my face and recognized me. He said,
'Doctor, doctor, he's from my hometown.' And the doctor said, 'Bring
him over,' " Flores said.
Flores later found himself at a hospital in Le
Havre, France. "The doctors told me I had a million-dollar
wound," he said. In other words, Flores would be going home.
He, however, wasn't ready to go.
Flores managed to steal a Jeep from the
hospital. He made his way through Paris and into Belgium.
"I wanted to see who was left from my
battalion," he said.
Flores was picked up by counterintelligence
officers. After being taken to headquarters, he called his company
"That's when I said I should have gone home,"
Flores said. "They didn't do anything to me. I guess they said I was
loyal, or maybe crazy."
Munoz can understand why his uncle went back.
"That's my Uncle Perfecto - he always went back
to family," Munoz said. "He had been with these men for (two) years
and felt like they were his brothers.
"He felt he had to go back to them."
Flores would go on to travel through the major
cities in the area, such as Cologne, picking up the "generals and
other big shots" of the German military. Flores was then put in
charge of a prison camp at Wiesbaden, Germany.
Flores was discharged on Dec. 7, 1945, as a
staff sergeant. He returned to Stockton and later enrolled at
California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.
He spent his career as
a foreman at Albert Paper. He married Carmen, and the couple had two
daughters, Paula and Laura. In February, the Floreses will celebrate
50 years of marriage.
For now, his World War II mementoes remain
tucked away in the white box with the exception of a few medals that
were placed on his Army jacket for a photo.
"They look good like
that," Flores said. "I'm going to have my daughters put the others
Stockton Record - Stockton,CA,USA
November 6, 2006 -
Kinston may have
been first city in nation to celebrate signing of WWI Armistice
Carolina Doughboys first to smash Hindenburg
November 3, 2006 -
Costellow seeks reelection as conservation
Earl Costellow has served 42 years as
a conservation district supervisor for North Logan in various
positions such as chairman, vice chairman and joint chairman. He is
He serves on the following offices, organizations or positions:
Conservation Districts' Awards Committee, Farm Bureau Board member,
Logan Cattleman’s Association member, Gideon’s member and Chandlers
Chapel Methodist Church Board member.
Costellow has served in the past as Gideon’s treasurer, Logan County
Extension Board member and Southern States Cooperative Board member.
He served in the Army in the 30th Infantry
Division and was in Germany during World War II.
Earl Costellow is married to Polly Anderson Costellow and they will
celebrate 60 years of marriage this coming December. Earl and Polly
have two sons, Kenny and Troy, three granddaughters, three grandsons
and two great-grandchildren
Earl Costellow says:
"'Conservation, Development, Self-Government' is the theme of the
district movement, symbolizing the dedication of district officials
to purposeful, constructive action in the field of conservation,
resource development, and grassroots leadership are fundamental to
American growth and prosperity."
"Keeping a close relationship with the Conservation District staff
and the NRCS Office is very important, and I have been fortunate to
be able to work with this dedicated staff. It is so important to
know the personnel that help implement the conservation programs for
the landowners in Logan County.
"The Kentucky State Cost Share Program has helped so many local
landowners; anytime you can help a farmer and our environment, it is
a step in the right direction.
"I would like to say thanks for the opportunity to serve Logan
Countians and hope to continue to do so in the future."
Leader - Russellville,KY,USA
September 10, 2006 -
Local Volunteer Receives
At the recent Annual Meeting of the Camp
Blanding Museum & Historical Associates, one of our senior
volunteers was awarded two prestigious awards and two letters of
commendation, which came as a complete and overwhelming surprise
Frank W. Towers, a
senior volunteer since the beginning of the Camp Blanding Museum in
1990 was totally surprised when called by Col. Kent Petelle,
President of the Camp Blanding Museum & Historical Associates, to
come forward to receive these awards.
First, Frank was awarded “The Florida
Commendation Medal” by the Florida State Adjutant General, M.G.
Douglas Burnett, for “Exceptionally Meritorious Service to the
Florida National Guard” due to his Leadership, Initiative and
Altruism, contributing to the preservation of the history of the
Florida National Guard, as well as the history of the 9 Divisions
that trained at Camp Blanding during the period of 1940 to 1943.
His ability to plan, organize and to encourage others to ensure that
the sacrifices of our soldiers and airmen are not only recognized,
but preserved for future generations, has been a tremendous success.
Secondly, Frank was awarded “The President’s
Volunteer Service Award”, for his commitment to exceptional service
to the community and contributing considerable time and resources in
support of the Camp Blanding Museum for over the past 16 years, and
was hereby recognized as “Outstanding Senior Volunteer”, by Order of
the President of the United States, signed by President George W.
Additionally, Frank received a letter of
Congratulations on receiving the Florida National Guard’s
Commendation Medal from Governor Jeb Bush And lastly, a letter of
Appreciation for his many years of dedicated service to the Florida
national Guard and the Camp Blanding Museum, by the Adjutant
General, M.G. Douglas Burnett.
Frank was so overwhelmed at this point that he
was rendered “speechless” and could only say “Thanks”!
Frank trained here at Camp Blanding with the
43rd Infantry Division in 1941-1942, and having come from Vermont,
he got ‘sand in his shoes’ and after his wartime service, settled
near Camp Blanding for the rest of his life. Upon learning of the
establishment of the Camp Blanding Museum & Historical Associates in
1989, he joined with this prestigious group of founders and became a
Charter Member, and has been active in the Museum’s affairs ever
Later in service, Frank was assigned to the
30th Infantry Division and served with distinction with this unit in
WWII in Europe. The 30th Infantry Division was one of the 9
Infantry Divisions that trained here in 1942-1943.
So, he had a dedicated interest in two of
Blanding’s Divisions, and has tried to serve in a Liaison capacity
to both of these Divisions all through these past 16 years.
Frank, now 89 years of age, is married to his
lovely bride, Mary-Olive Thomas, whom he met in Jacksonville in
1941, and they have been married for 63 years and have 4 children.
He takes extreme pride in his work volunteering at the Museum one
day each week and at other times as needed, and enjoys speaking with
veteran visitors who had trained at Camp Blanding and reminiscing
about those “old days”. We just have a lot in common to talk
about, he said! He also visits schools in surrounding counties
and Senior Citizens Homes, giving talks on WWII , the Holocaust and
on the Camp Blanding Museum.
In January of
this year, Frank Towers was awarded the Jim McCawley Veterans
Service Award for being the “Outstanding Veteran of Alachua County”
as a representative of the D-Day – Normandy Association.
July 31, 2006 -
late than never
GENEVA - After 62 years, Geneva native John D'Agostino Jr. has
received his Purple Heart.
When he was offered the medal in a hospital in England, where he was
recovering from shrapnel wounds suffered in the Battle of Normandy
during World War II, he turned it down.
"I'm a survivor, not a hero," D'Agostino recalled saying at the
time. "The heroes are buried right there in Normandy."
D'Agostino said he still feels that way today.
"Because of those people I'm back here (in the United States)," he
A couple of years ago, D'Agostino was encouraged by his children and
friends to pursue the Purple Heart he turned down in 1944. His
girlfriend, Retha Foisy, encouraged him to obtain the award and
leave it for his children, Thomas D'Agostino and Sandra Weisman.
Born in 1917, D'Agostino attended Geneva High School and spent much
of his adult life in the area.
He was drafted into the Army in 1942 and inducted at Fort Niagara.
"I just waited for the letter to come in and didn't object,"
D'Agostino said of being drafted.
D'Agostino was part of the
Infantry Division, 117th Infantry Regiment,
which landed on the shores of Omaha Beach on June 12, 1944. As a
scout for his outfit, D'Agostino's job was to make sure the
hedgerows were clear and to alert his outfit of what was ahead
before they pressed on.
On July 26, D'Agostino was hit by shrapnel from an explosion caused
by German artillery. D'Agostino was transported from a field
hospital to the British hospital where he was offered the Purple
Heart. After shuffling around hospitals in England, he eventually
came back to the U.S. and received treatment at Valley Forge General
Hospital in Philadelphia.
Upon leaving Valley Forge, D'Agostino was reassigned to the 112th
Infantry Regiment in Mississippi. The regiment was preparing to
fight in the Pacific when the war ended.
D'Agostino came back to Geneva and married his wife, the late Mary
Avis Murphy of Seneca Falls, in 1946.
D'Agostino finished up his high school education with the
encouragement of an old teacher. He then went to Freeman Business
School on Exchange Street, where he studied accounting. He graduated
from Mohawk Valley Community College in 1957.
D'Agostino worked as an internal auditor for military bases such as
the Seneca County Army Depot, Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome,
Oneida County; Lexington Blue Grass Army Depot; and White Sands
Missile Range in New Mexico, from which he retired around 1980. A
few years later, he followed his son to San Diego, Calif., where he
has lived since.
Last month, D'Agostino received a letter stating he had been
re-approved for a Purple Heart by Major Jerome E. Kuczero, acting
chief of the Military Awards Branch.
"It is an honor to issue this symbol in recognition of your faithful
and dedicated service to our Nation during a time of great need,"
D'Agostino said he doesn't show his Purple Heart off to anyone or
display it. Not that he isn't proud.
"I'm not a medal man," he said.
D'Agostino also received the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze
Star, and a Battle Star in recognition for his service in the Battle
Lakes Times - Geneva,NY,USA
July 03, 2006 -
A trip to
Normandy, France, four years ago changed the life of a Tennessee
Chet Sewell was with his wife, LaVonne, daughter, Mitzi Bradley, and
son-in-law, Bean Bradley, on June 6, 2002, during a family vacation
in Europe. The family wanted to take a tour of the Normandy American
Cemetery Colleville Sur Mer where about 9,400 Americans are buried.
While touring the cemetery on Demolition Day,
Sewell was walking with his daughter and stumbled upon a white cross
that had the date of death as his birthday -- July 20. Although the
years are different -- he was born in 1938 and the year of death was
1944 -- Sewell knew this was a special marking. This cross belonged
to Camden native
Hugh P. Godwin.
"It was like the cross lit up right in front of me," Sewell said, as
he described the overcast, hazy day when he saw Staff Sgt. Godwin`s
He explained that when he saw the date, he immediately stopped and
wrote down everything that was written on the white cross:
"HUGH P. GODWIN, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Service # 20406906,
105th Engineer Combat Battalion, 30th Infantry Division, Entered the
service from: South Carolina, Died July 20, 1944, Buried at: Plot J
Row 11 Grave 35, Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer,
France, Awards: Purple Heart."
With the information Sewell copied off the cross, he began to work
backward from Normandy, to South Carolina, and finally to Camden. He
hooked up with the Camden Archives and Museum, where he was able to
find Godwin`s obituary which contained Godwin's aunt's name -- Lou
Beckham Russell. While Aunt Lou has died, Sewell was able to find
Godwin's cousins, Bobby Charles Russell of Columbia and Howard
``Bill`` Luther Thrower of Charlotte, N.C.
Sewell met with Russell and Thrower at the beginning of this year
and was able to see several family photos and find out a little more
information on Godwin's life before the Army.
A Camden High School group picture from 1938 was discovered through
the archives when Godwin would've been in the 11th grade. However,
with a little more than 100 students listed and the decay of the
photograph, Sewell's and Godwin's families were unable to identify
Godwin in the picture. The picture was taken on the steps inside the
Thrower, who lived with Godwin, Aunt Lou and his mother on Lafayette
Avenue in downtown Camden, remembered Godwin being called into the
service the latter part of 1938, which was before he was able to
graduate from high school.
Recently, Sewell and Thrower met in Camden to "walk the streets"
where Godwin grew up.
are looking to find out more about Hugh," Sewell said. "It`s like
pulling at the end of a ball of string -- one tidbit of information
leads to another."
Although Sewell found several small pieces to fit his puzzle while
in Camden, he was able to locate one large piece to the puzzle that
helped him get more information -- he and Thrower found the memorial
that Aunt Lou had placed in honor of Godwin in the Kershaw City
Cemetery. What makes finding the memorial even more chilling is that
Sewell and Thrower found the memorial exactly four years later --
June 6, 2006 -- and off by just a few hours to being the exact time
it was in Normandy when he found the white cross that started his
Thrower originally believed Godwin's memorial was placed at Quaker
Cemetery because that's where most of his other family members are
buried. Later, through much research, Sewell discovered that
Godwin's memorial was at the Kershaw City Cemetery with the graves
of his mother, Carrie Beckham, wife of J. B. Godwin. Thrower said
his mother's family was mostly from the Kershaw and Lancaster areas.
His father, also known was Jeff, was believed to be in the plumbing
business in Virginia, but that's the extent of the information
Sewell has been able to discover about him.
Godwin was born on May 27, 1921, in Suffolk, Va., and came to Camden
around the age of 12 after his mother died. He was a member of
Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church. Sewell and Thrower have
attended a church service to inquire about information anyone might
have on Godwin, but they had no luck.
want to capture his life as much as possible,`` Sewell said. ``I
want to know what size shirt and shoe he wore, and I know there are
still people out there who grew up with him who would probably know."
While visiting Camden, Sewell and Thrower went to a meeting held at
the American Legion Post No. 17 in hopes of finding more information
about Godwin. While they weren't able to find out anything new, they
did see Godwin's picture on the wall with his information --
information that did have some error that Sewell was able to
The major problem Sewell said he has is finding connections because
Godwin was stationed in South Carolina and Florida before going
overseas. Thrower said that he remembers one really cold day in the
fall or winter of 1943, when Godwin brought a young lady home to
meet the family. Thrower later identified the young woman as
Godwin's fiancé. Godwin was then transferred overseas in
February 1944, shortly after his last visit home. This young lady
has not been identified or located.
Shortly after Godwin's family heard of his death, Thrower's mother
wrote a letter to the company commander asking for an explanation of
how he died. The family received a letter back explaining that his
job as a combat engineer included removing mines. While on a mission
in St. Lo, he was killed by machine gunfire from the Germans and
"My generation was very fortunate because through their efforts, we
were able to go to college," Sewell said. "They bought the ticket,
and we got the ride."
Sewell has been in contact with the Army headquarters in California
and hopes to find out the belongings recorded for Godwin -- the way
he was, pictures he carried, etc. He said it can take six to eight
months for this information to be available to him.
are a lot of questions that I have that haven't been answered,"
Sewell said. He has made hundreds of calls with about a 1,000 calls
Sewell has been in contact with Godwin's brother, James B. Godwin.
James helped Sewell with some information and pictures, but there
are still several questions that need to be answered.
want to try to put a human face on a guy from so long ago ... tell
the stories that haven't been told," Sewell said. "The journey
through it has been half the chase."
BEEKER, C-I Localife editor,
Chronicle Independent - SC, United States
June 19, 2006 -
WWII veteran recalls his
Edward C. Arn of Wooster was not one to look back much on the war in
which he won so many medals — the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the
Purple Heart and others — but when he allowed himself the “luxury of
introspection,” he “pondered the meaning of his World War II
time he spent browsing through mementos in 1976 became a memoir,
according to the introduction to “Arn’s War: Memoirs of a World War
II Infantryman, 1940-1946,” a book edited by Jerome Mushkat and
published by University of Akron Press.
memoir of World War II, written by ... an infantry captain who
Company F, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry
Division, is a valuable addition to military history and
social history,” said Jena Lohrbach, director of marketing for the
University of Akron Press. “Arn takes readers on a wartime journey
with him in the European Theatre of Operations through a clear and
honest account of combat from the viewpoint of a sensitive and acute
‘civilian in uniform.’ ”
recalls growing up during the Depression, explains his motivation
for volunteering for World War II service, remembers his basic
training in the United States, and relives his duty overseas.
was sent to France a few weeks after the D-Day invasion, and he
distinguished himself in combat in the hedgerows near Normandy, the
Battle of Moretain, and the push through northern France to the Elbe
River. He spent 16 months on the front lines, undergoing a
transformation, said Lohrbach, from a replacement soldier to
writes in a straightforward and engaging manner that avoids false
sentimentality or romanticism,” said publicity material about the
book from the publisher. “Instead, he gives readers keen insights
into the daily life of soldiers locked in gruesome events far beyond
their experience and describes how it feels to be under fire, to
suffer a wound, to agonize over the deaths of friends, to endure
true suffering, to sacrifice, and to survive.”
book, available through bookstores ($32.95 cloth, $19.95 paperback),
is a “timeless story,” according to its editor. And its accuracy is
not tied to the author’s mere memory, it’s guaranteed by Arn’s
inability to throw anything away. To research the work, Arn “dug
into storage boxes filled with a myriad of reminders,” Mushkat said.
Scrapbooks. Photo albums. Maps. Newspaper clippings. Textbooks.
those artifacts to encourage his recollection, Arn was able to put
together his story in a “matter-of-fact” manner, said Mushkat.
does not glorify war nor offer self-congratulations to embellish his
experiences,” said Mushkat, a professor emeritus of history at the
University of Akron. “He realizes that as a front-line soldier, much
of the war was beyond his view. Yet he does not accept standard
military histories that tell the story from the top down and all too
often ignore the contributions small units made to victory. Instead,
he makes the point that wars are won on the ground by the
life-and-death struggles of determined foot soldiers, no matter
their pain, sacrifices, fears, and often capricious deaths.”
sense painting the author’s part in the war in heroic colors, the
editor noted. There were no heroes in Arn’s war.
person could act with heroics in one instance, then succumb to
combat fatigue in another,” explained Mushkat. “In short, the only
standard to measure an infantryman rested in his ability to close
with and destroy the enemy.”
Repository (subscription) - Canton,OH,USA
June 6, 2006 -
'Never forget,' veteran
Snyder if he's part of the Greatest Generation and first he squirms,
then he sighs, then he shrugs.
"I did my
job," he says.
Greg Lovett/The Post
Arnold Snyder, now 82, landed on Omaha
Beach three days after D-Day.
1943 photo courtesy of Arnold Snyder
Photo courtesy of Arnold Snyder
Arnold Snyder holds a Nazi flag he and
other soldiers found at a small headquarters in Germany.
Snyder returned home in 1945.
was to follow the largest seaborne invasion force in history from
the coast of France through the forests of Belgium to the Nazis'
years ago today, the Allied invasion of Europe began, and with it
the beginning of the end of World War II. Although it was code-named
Operation Overlord, the world knows it simply as D-Day.
At 6:30 a.m.,
troops from the south coast of England began landing on the beaches
of Normandy. By 10 p.m., more than 150,000 American, British,
Canadian and French troops had moved into France from the air and
sea in an invasion front that stretched 50 miles. Nearly 5,000 died
in the initial landing.
followed three days later, emerging from a landing craft on Omaha
Beach on June 9. He was 20 then, a college student from
Philadelphia. He's 82 now, a retired pharmacist in suburban West
fathom the depths of what was happening," he remembers. "When you're
in combat, you can't fathom what's going on to your left or right.
It's like you've got horse blinders on."
second lieutenant in the 30th Infantry
Division, Snyder remembers scaling the hedgerows, mounds of
dirt 6 or 8 feet tall that bordered the Norman farmlands.
"I picked up
a .50-caliber machine gun and fired at an armored truck with German
infantry inside," he says. "The truck was open and the Germans would
shoot from either side, so we didn't travel in the road."
Normandy, Snyder says, his unit was bombed twice — by American
B-17s. "They bombed short," he says.
And then he
was hit by shrapnel in both legs.
there bleeding, and this young American soldier says to me, 'What
bleeding," Snyder told him.
began cutting Snyder's boot laces. "You won't be needing these," he
said, and then he stole his boots.
medic came by and evacuated me," Snyder says. "I was only in combat
a couple of weeks."
treated at a Canadian medical hospital in Germany, then returned to
his outfit along the Belgian-German border.
supposed to go on R & R, but the Battle of the Bulge intervened," he
out an American tank that had been commandeered by Germans," he
recalls. "I remembered they told us to hit tanks in the back where
the fuel tank is, so I ran across and grabbed a bazooka."
returned home in early 1945, Snyder had earned three Silver Stars,
two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Except for his minor
shrapnel wounds, he had come through World War II unscathed. But
fate was not kind. In 1951, at age 27, Snyder was felled by polio
and spent a year in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.
does not put on our shoulders what you cannot bear," he says, "so
even though I'm stooped over, I do what I can."
In 2001 he
founded Operation LOVE (Love Our Veterans Everyday) — a group that
visits area schools to promote volunteerism and patriotism.
me is that at one time we had 16 million Americans under arms. Now 3
million are still here," he says. "I was 18 when I went in. I'm 82
now. We're not going to be around forever.
forget, never forget. Remember the Alamo. Remember Pearl Harbor.
. . . There's so much to remember."
Ron Hayes, Palm Beach Post - FL, United States
June 4, 2006 -
A Brief Comparison of
Haditha and St. Lo
Everyone has heard of the "killings at Haditha," even though the
military investigation of what happened there is still underway.
Has anyone heard of the "killings at St. Lo" in July, 1944? A
comparison of the New York Times coverage of those two events is
A Google News search of Haditha + killings + New York Times
yields 891 hits as of Sunday noon. The articles on this subject
in the Times are driving the national and international news in
all media on this subject. The Times and its reporters are cited
in most of these articles.
did the Times run about the killings at St. Lo in July, 1944?
It ran no
stories, front page or otherwise, on St. Lo when it occurred.
(Operation Cobra was intensive bombing by the US Air Force, in
support of the effort to break out of St. Lo, and move against
the Germans across France.)
strikes killed slightly over 100 GIs and wounded about 500.
Without a doubt, the strikes were badly executed, and
serious command errors were made..... Finally, a formation
of five medium bombers from the Ninth Air Force dropped
seven miles north of the target, amid the
30th Infantry Division. This latter strike inflicted
the heaviest casualties--25 killed and 131 wounded--on the
first day that COBRA was attempted.
Lt. Gen. Leslie J.
McNair, former Commander of Army Ground Forces and currently
the "commander" of the fictional "1st Army Group," was
killed in his foxhole by a direct bomb hit as he waited to
observe the follow-up ground attack
mention is made of French civilian casualties is made in this
Air Force account of the "friendly fire" bombings around St. Lo,
but surely there were many of those, also. Was the New York
Times aware of this mass killing of American, British and
Canadian troops, and of French civilians, a month after D-Day?
How could it not be aware of an incident of this magnitude?
did the Times publish during the war about the killings at St.
likely because the then Editors of the Times realized that
publishing that story then would have harmed the war effort. And
defeating the Nazis was more important than revealing, then, the
tragic mistakes that led to these killing. (BTW, the Air Force
concluded that the off-target bombings were the fault of the
weather, and mistakes made by certain pilots and officers in
targeting, but no one was convicted in any Court Martial of any
Source for events at St. Lo:
This is an Air Force historian’s account of the use of air power
for the D-Day invasion and beyond. The causes of the killings at
St. Lo are described on pages 24-25.
John Armor ,
NewsBusters - USA
May 6, 2006 -
Thank you' from a true
hero - Note from Medal of Honor recipient among Piazza's keepsakes.
"I've been lucky to meet a lot of war heroes, and they're
the best in America. They come across as regular people,
just doing their job." (Denis Poroy/AP)
SAN DIEGO -- Mike Piazza reaches into his locker and pulls out a box
full of treasures. He opens it to photos of young soldiers from
distant wars, of cards and letters.
"Here, look at this one," Piazza says, extending an envelope
containing a thank you note signed by Francis
S. Currey. "He's the man I was telling you about, the one I
signed the bat for who was the Medal of Honor recipient for World
"I met him at
a Fourth of July ceremony last year; that's when I gave him the bat.
He's pretty old now. He was real humble, just a decent,
got a letter from someone who told me that President Eisenhower said
[Currey's] actions shortened the war by three weeks. What an amazing
person. I love being connected with people like this in some way.
this, they're the real heroes. I've been lucky to meet a lot of war
heroes, and they're the best in America. They come across as regular
people, just doing their job."
Currey of the U.S. Army, Company K, 120th
Infantry, 30th Infantry Division was, research shows, an
automatic rifleman with the 3rd Platoon. A native of Loch Sheldrake,
N.Y., he was defending a strong point near Malmedy on Dec. 21, 1944,
when the enemy launched a powerful attack.
Overrunning tank destroyers and antitank guns, German tanks advanced
to the 3rd Platoon's position, and, after prolonged fighting, forced
the withdrawal of this group to a nearby factory. Sgt. Currey found
a bazooka in the building and crossed the street to secure rockets,
enduring intense fire from enemy tanks and hostile infantrymen who
had taken up a position at a house a short distance away.
In the face
of small-arms, machine-gun and artillery fire, he, with a companion,
knocked out a tank with one shot. Eventually, after intensive
fighting, the enemy, deprived of tanks and with heavy infantry
casualties, was forced to withdraw.
Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and
repeated braving of enemy fire, Sgt. Currey was greatly responsible
for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for
rescuing five fellow soldiers, two of whom were wounded, and for
stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion's
his heroism, Sgt. Currey was awarded the nation's highest military
honor. In his letter to Piazza, he wrote: "Thank you for the
personalized baseball bat. It will hang in an honored spot over my
living room fireplace in South Carolina. It will contribute to my
following your career right up to your induction in the Baseball
Hall of Fame."
shakes his head in wonder. "There are some amazing people out
there," he said. Lyle Spencer,
MLB.com - USA
January 31, 2006 -
30th Division Veteran Receives Prestigious
Saturday evening the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board held its
1st Annual Veterans Award Banquet at Santa Fe Junior Community
College, which was sponsored by the Collegiate Veteran Society.
This award ceremony was to honor those who have made outstanding
contributions to Alachua County’s Veteran Community.
The members of the Alachua County Veterans Service Advisory Board
was to name the top annual veterans award,
“The Jim McCawley Veterans Service Award”.
The vote of this body was to honor the man who had spent the last
years of his life dedicated to creating Veterans Memorials so that
those who gave their lives serving their country would never be
After the welcoming remarks by Bob Gasche, Chairman of the Alachua
County Advisory Committee, there was the Presentation of the Colors
by the ‘Gator’ Detachment, Marine Corps League and Korean War
Veterans, then the Pledge of Allegiance, Invocation and Posting of
The Keynote Speaker, Lt. Gen. John LeMoyne, U.S. Army (Ret’d), gave
a short and appropriate message to fit this occasion.
Storm Roberts of WKTK Radio Station gave a short summary of the past
accomplishments of Jim McCawley, and the proposed Veterans Service
Award. He acted as the M/C for the award ceremony that was to
follow the evening’s banquet.
There are over 22,000 veterans in Alachua County, and of these
veterans of the various veteran organizations, 16 were nominated for
this prestigious award, and 9 non-veterans of these organizations
were also nominated, all for their outstanding contributions to the
Alachua County Veteran Community. Each one was presented with
a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ for their accomplishments during
2005 by Lt. Gen. LeMoyne.
During the buffet, the audience of approximately 500 veterans, wives
and supporters were given a treat by the ‘Snapshot Quartet’, singing
many old time popular songs and those with which the veterans of
each era were familiar.
After the banquet, the time had arrived for the
determination of who would be chosen for this first time Prestigious
Award, and all awaited eagerly to hear this name
The name called was ‘Frank
W. Towers’, of LaCrosse, FL, a veteran of WWII who had served
with distinction with the 30th Infantry
Division in Normandy in June 1944. This award was presented
to him by Lt. Gen. John LeMoyne, and the audience gave him a
The vote of the Veterans Advisory Board was
unanimous in conferring this Award.
Mr. Towers said, “I am speechless!” Thank
Mr. Towers said later that this was the second
time that he ever found himself ‘speechless’, the first time being
in September 1999, when he was presented with a Medal and
Proclamation, inducting him as a Member of the Order of the House of
Orange-Nassau by her Majesty, the Queen of the Netherlands.
Mr. Towers, being
awarded the 1st “Jim McCawley Veterans Service Award” was cited for
his activities in forming an organization, “Les Fleurs de la
Memoire” in Normandy in 2000, whose members are pledged to adopt a
grave of their choice in the Normandy American Cemetery
overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy, or in the Brittany American
Cemetery. In the intervening years since 2000, there have been over
7,600 graves adopted in these two cemeteries out of a total of
14,500. Work will continue until all of these graves have been
Their website can be
Members adopt these graves and pledge to visit
their ‘adopted son’s grave’ at least once during the year, but in
all probability more often, and pay tribute to them by placing
flowers on their grave upon each visit. These members have set
themselves up as ‘adoptive parents’ to replace those parents and
next-of-kin who have never had the opportunity to visit their own
son’s grave due to financial or physical problems, and with the
passing of time, these parents and next-of-kin will no longer be
They proclaim: “They Shall NOT be Forgotten!”
“They gave their lives for our Freedom and Liberty!”
Towers was cited for his accomplishments of volunteer work with the
Camp Blanding Museum at Starke, FL,
where he acts as a volunteer docent explaining the significance of
the Museum’s existence to the visitors, as a Memorial of WWII, and
being on the Board of Directors of the Museum and acting as its
Membership Chairman and Manager of its Gift Shop.
Towers, at 88+ years of age said that he has to
keep busy, and these two projects fill that void, and
both projects help to perpetuate the memory of our Veterans who have
gone on before us.
He is scheduled to go
to Normandy the first week-end of April to attend the 5th Annual
Congress of “Les Fleurs de la Memoire”. Gainesville, FL
January 9, 2005 -
share, record history
There are times when Bill Fuller
wonders what his father did in certain situations and wishes he had
a way to ask.
That's one of the reasons why Fuller is recording what he remembers
from the Depression, his service in the 30th
Infantry division Field Artillery during World War II and
"A lot of
people are reluctant to take the time to write their history. I
encourage you to do that," he told a group of about 40 people
gathered Wednesday in MacArthur Auditorium at the Indiana Veterans'
the speaker for the monthly World War II Round Table meeting, which
features veterans and their stories. He shared anecdotes of his
European tour of duty after he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
interest in airplanes, Fuller tried to sign up for the Air Corps,
which eventually became the Air Force. But he didn't realize it was
a part of the Army.
18 months of training and officer school, Fuller and his artillery
battery were sent to England in February 1944.
being awakened by the droning of airplanes flying south on June 6,
1944, D-Day. Nine days later, Fuller's battery landed on Omaha
second experience under fire -- the first had him shaking like a
leaf, he said -- Fuller was awarded a Bronze Star. He had been
traveling with the infantry in France, and they were expecting an
fire like that, it does get your attention," he said, while
describing both instances. "I didn't have experiences like that very
part of the Allied group that pursued the Germans back to their
homeland in late August and September 1944. He fought in the Battle
of the Bulge at Ardennes and was in Germany on V-E Day, May 8, 1945.
a volunteer with the veterans' home, said it's important to record
stories such as Fuller's because of the context they can provide to
a significant historical event.
younger generations, they're going to face their own crises,"
Fletcher said, explaining he records his interviews with veterans
for the Library of Congress. "When I take their personal histories
... you find out what they have gone through. They survived it, and
it's like, 'wow.'" Erin Smith,
The Courier-Journal - Lafayette,IN,USA
December 31, 2005 -
Menorah-lighting ceremony sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center of
Monroe took place in Veteran's Memorial Park, Tuesday.
JAMESBURG — In the sun-lit Veterans' Memorial Park on Tuesday, a
crowd gathered in front of a large white menorah for a ceremony
celebrating the importance of bringing light out of darkness.
"The menorah is the universal symbol of justice and freedom,"
said Rabbi Eliezer Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center of
Monroe, as he welcomed war veterans, township officials and families
to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah. "In a world of darkness,
we strive to bring more light into the world."
The menorah-lighting ceremony has taken place every year for the
past seven years at the park, a central location in Jamesburg, and
has been sponsored by Chabad for the past four.
"The public property (of the park) is important to the message of
universality," said Rabbi Zaklikovsky.
Hanukkah celebrates the freedom of the Jews from Syrian control
after the Maccabees fought for an end to persecution.
Perhaps the idea of freedom was most personified by the many
Jewish war veterans who turned out for the ceremony.
former commander of VFW Post 609 and a member of the
30th Infantry Division
in World War II, the veterans have been attending the ceremony since
The veterans, who displayed many of the awards and commendations
earned during their time in service, gathered in front of the
menorah as Mayor Tony LaMantia, Councilman Otto Kostbar and the
builder of the menorah, Neil Greenspan, turned on the three bulbs
for the third night of the holiday.
"It is heartwarming that we can have the celebration in the
presence of those who are modern day Maccabees," said Rabbi
Zaklikovsky about the veterans.
Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein, whose district includes
Jamesburg, also attended the ceremony and said the holiday is a
celebration of religious freedom.
"It proves you don't have to be the strongest military," she
said, referring to the smaller Jewish army fighting against the
strong Syrians in the story of Hanukkah. "The people with the
greatest spirit can prevail."
George Applebaum, a World War II veteran, said he looked at the
ceremony as an expression of religious freedom, and that he is glad
the menorah stands next to a Christmas tree, adorned with lights, in
the middle of the park.
"We have the right to have ours and others have the right to have
a tree," he said.
Besides celebrating religious freedom, many in attendance said it
was commendable that the menorah was placed in Veterans' Memorial
Park, a central location in the town.
"It speaks well of American culture and brotherhood," said Mr.
Kostbar. "This is the center of town."
"It is nice that they have the tree lighting and the menorah in
one place everyone can see," said Jenny Ludas, children's librarian
at the Jamesburg Public Library.
The ceremony ended with dancing and singing of holiday songs as
well as jelly doughnuts and hot apple cider to warm up in the cold
"I think it's wonderful the way Jamesburg celebrates all of the
holidays," said Ms. Greenstein. "It is a community event and brings
Cranbury Press - Cranbury,NJ,USA
November 9, 2005 -
Recollections of a 'just war'
Mel Goldblatt was awarded a Silver Star for valor during World
War II. His career has included a family tool business, a sports
supply company and working as controller for the Jefferson
winter during flu-shot season, decorated World War II veteran Mel
Goldblatt decided to check and see if he had been awarded the Purple
Heart for "a little nick" he acquired while being fired upon during
the war. With the aid of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey's office, he
learned that he had not been awarded a medal for his injury, but
instead found to his surprise that he had been awarded the nation's
third-highest medal for valor -- the Silver Star -- for a mission in
which he had taken part that provided information critical to the U.
S. Army's crossing of the Rhine River as they made their way toward
now 83, was a scout and the assignment, which he calls "a rubber
raft adventure across the Rhine," was to find German machine gun
nests, and more specifically to evaluate whether a levee would be
passable by soldiers in full combat gear.
established that the levee was not going to be an obstacle and at
some point were challenged by a German machine gun nest. "We stopped
breathing and it got real quiet, the Germans eventually decided
they'd just heard something weird in the river and we went on about
our business and got back OK," recalls Goldblatt. That was March 21,
1945, two days later U.S. troops began crossing the Rhine River into
Germany and within a few weeks the war in Europe was over.
doesn't remember receiving the Silver Star at the time it was
issued, but he recalls many of the experiences leading up to it
quite well. He had enlisted in the Army for the same reason millions
of others had: "I thought it was a just war and I wanted to help win
it," Goldblatt says. He did his basic training in January of 1943
and joined the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon of the 76th
platoon was sent to England as replacement troops for the
30th Infantry Division, which had just amassed numerous
casualties. "The first few weeks were a piece of cake," Goldblatt
says, "but then on Dec. 17, 1944 the 30th was called into action at
the Battle of the Bulge -- the largest land battle the U.S Army has
ever fought and the last major German offensive on the Western
"Winter was not well planned for in the Battle of the Bulge,"
Goldblatt says, because (Gen. Douglas) MacArthur and others thought
the war would already have been won, so many soldiers were getting
frostbitten from a shortage of adequate winter foot wear. But, he
says, "that's nothing like the soldiers today being sent to war in
Iraq in vehicles without armor." He also believes that
psychologically, World War II was a lot easier than the war in Iraq
because at that time we knew who the enemy was."
During that battle, Goldblatt won the Bronze Star while fighting in
the frozen countryside of Malmedy, Belgium.
soft-spoken when it comes to the war. For a while he kept in touch
with some of his buddies from the 30th, but eventually that faded
guess I feel incredibly lucky. A lot of those guys just never came
home. It was the luck of the draw, and while the things I
encountered were dangerous, the odds for us were nothing like the
D-Day odds," says Goldblatt.
over the logistical planning of the whole Normandy invasion:
"Brilliant work. They knew they were going to lose a lot of lives,
but waiting would have been bloodier," he says.
few years ago Goldblatt and his wife Phyllis visited the cemetery at
Omaha Beach in Normandy during a vacation in Europe, an experience
that's not easy for him to talk about. "Cross after cross after
cross, it's devastating, you know? Even though that was a very
justified war," he laments.
war was a terrific learning experience for me. Before enlisting, I
had been studying English and music at the University of Kansas
City. So I went from studying liberal arts to trying to fire an M-1
rifle. It was a hell of a transition, as it was for thousands of
other guys," Goldblatt says.
After the war, Goldblatt returned to his studies, first at Columbia
University, and then at New School in New York City. In 1949 he
formed a pioneering off-Broadway troupe, which ran successfully for
three consecutive summers. Then in 1952, with the post-war building
boom in full swing, Goldblatt moved back home to Kansas City and got
into the family business, Goldblatt Tool Company. "I took over the
advertising and we just grew like crazy for about ten years,"
recalls Goldblatt. He successfully expanded the company to
California before the family decided to sell the business to Stanley
During the mid-1970s the Goldblatts were raising their children,
Justine and Daniel, in Marin County when Mel took a job as financial
controller for the rock band Jefferson Airplane. He was also
producing some plays, one of which was Lonne Elder's highly
acclaimed "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men," which was performed by The
Negro Ensemble Company. He also produced big-name concerts, such as
Duke Ellington and Carmen McRae at the Marines Memorial Opera House.
Around that time their son was getting interested in tennis and
Goldblatt started thinking there was an opportunity to supply the
growing tennis industry. He started First Service sports supply,
which began with swim and tennis clubs and has since evolved and
expanded to meet the needs of the fitness industry. His son Dan now
runs the company, which has been located in Petaluma for the past
nine years, but Goldblatt says he still likes to go down and get in
the way sometimes.
outspoken about his current views on our country. "My dad used to
tell me, when the brick layers and the plasterers would come in on
Saturday morning, that those who work by the sweat of their brow do
not get their fair share. I think we're spinning toward feudalism
with CEOs getting millions of dollars while half the country doesn't
even have health insurance."
Goldblatt continues to live what has
been a rather illustrious life here in Petaluma, and while this
twice-decorated war veteran may not agree with current politics, he
continues to display the U.S. flag in his yard nevertheless.
Argus-Courier - Petaluma,CA,USA
September 10, 2005 -
shares 'War Stories'
FOR SIX days
and nights, Angel "Bill" Garcia was one of about 600 camouflaged
American soldiers who resisted German attacks in the area called
Hill 314, a strategic position in the Battle for Mortain, during
World War II.
later, Garcia, a 44-year Burlingame resident, went back to that hill
in Normandy, France where a black marble memorial for the 30th
Infantry Division now stands.
He stood in
front of that memorial with Oliver North for the Fox News Channel's
show, "War Stories with Oliver North," last month.
"Freeing France from Hitler," will air at 5 p.m. Sept. 18.
was a staff sergeant and machine gunner, remembered what it was like
being hidden in a fox hole from Aug. 6 to Aug. 12, 1944.
He fought in Company H, 120th
Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, also known as "Old Hickory."
They only had
the foliage to protect them. He was the lone machine gunner, but was
flanked by riflemen.
without food, water and were low on ammunition. There were no
medical supplies," Garcia said Thursday. "Every night, the Germans
would come up the hill patrolling, trying to find where we were.
Sometimes they would attract our attention by firing and wait for us
to fire back so they could locate us. But we weren't firing at that
But below the
hill, Mortain was destroyed, he said.
scared, because I was mad, and when you get mad you don't get
Garcia said, wearing his World War II uniform
in his Burlingame home.
the Germans were overwhelmed with American and British
fought in other campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, the
Ardennes and Central Europe.
Europe on April 6, 1945, serving one year, 9 months and 14 days and
went home to his wife, Margaret.
discharged "at the convenience of the government" on July 29, 1945.
they don't want you anymore," Garcia said.
He has been
married to Margaret for 63 years, and they have two sons and a
Burlingame Planning Commissioner, Garcia is decorated with the
Combat Infantry Badge, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, two Purple
Hearts from shrapnel wounds, and a Presidential Unit Citation for
fighting in Mortain.
He is a
member of Veteran of Foreign Wars, Post 7427 in San Mateo.
he is excited about the upcoming show, although he's never seen a
"War Stories with Oliver North" episode.
"I thought he
was a gentleman," Garcia said. "Aside from what people have said
about him, (North's) a great guy."
San Mateo County
Times - San Mateo,CA,USA
September 01, 2005 -
Time to honor those very brave men of the Infantry
War II, the European Theater of Operation ground forces were awarded
179 Congressional Medals of Honor.
The 6th U.S. Army Corp which consisted of the following divisions
the 3rd, 34th, 36th, 45th, 85th and 88th earned 57 of the 179 medals
in the European Theater of Operation.
number represents 32 percent of these awarded, making the 6th Corp
the most decorated Congressional medals of honor Corp in World War
No. 1 -
3rd Infantry Division, 34 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 2 -
1st Infantry Division, 16 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 3 -
36th Infantry Division, 15 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 4 -
34th Infantry Division, 9 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 5 -
45th Infantry Division, 8 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 6 -
2nd Infantry Division, 6 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 7 - 30th Infantry Division, 6
Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 8 -
82nd Infantry Division, 6 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 9 -
88th Infantry Division, 4 Congressional Medals of Honor
No. 10 -
85th Infantry Division, 4 Congressional Medals of Honor
Infantry is called upon to fight without promise of either reward or
relief. Behind every river there's another hill, and behind that
hill is another river.
weeks or months in the line, only a wound can offer them the comfort
of safety, shelter and a bed. Those who are left to fight on evading
death, but knowing that with each day they have exhausted one more
chance for survival.
or later, unless victory comes, this routine will end as a body on
two medics' litters or a bodybag and grave marker.
The Infantry, for so indispensable a role in the American
accomplishments in World War II, their numbers were small. From a
population of 132 million, the military drew into service 16.3
million persons. Fewer than one million took part in extended
combat. Fighting men comprised 10 percent or less of the full
military complement. Infantry men, numbering only 14 percent of the
American troops serving overseas, suffered 70 percent of the
Medford Transcript -
August 18, 2005 -
Moss remembers WWII heroes, horrors
Bob Moss, of
Linton, remembers the many heroes and horrors of World War II.
"I'm like a
walking encyclopedia," he said.
remembers how the war split families, leaving mothers the lead role
in raising a family and being the breadwinner for the first time in
how the word patriotic was the defining mood of the country.
how just the thought of burning the American flag would make most
Moss, a WWII
veteran, knows all too well about the sacrifices that were made
during the war.
ladies had never worked before, but they got up and worked," he
time, Moss believes the country was at an all-time patriotic high.
had burned a flag he wouldn't have lived to see the next day ... so
many people had family in the service," Moss stressed.
There was no
such thing as a protest. If you did protest the war you were just
thrown in jail, he said.
was probably the most together as it had ever been," Moss said.
plans on how to occupy this country," he stressed.
remembers over 60 years ago when he registered for the draft. It was
1944, he was a young 18-year-old, and it was the summer between his
junior and senior years of high school, he explained.
missed the Battle of the Bulge that started in December 1944.
As that young
18-year-old, in February 1945, he was sent to the front line. He was
the youngest man in his company, making him a part of the small
percentage of WWII vets who are still alive today.
was grouped according to a buddy system. Each young soldier had an
older soldier as a buddy. Moss' buddy was 20 years older than he
remembers his buddy's name, Fred Sunderland, who was 38 years old at
had three children. His daughter was 16 years old, only two years
younger than Moss.
Company G the 117th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division," Moss
infantry replacements ... we went through two replacement depots,
then right to the front.
"I had about
100 days of combat from February through May."
remembers the front line, but he doesn't dwell on it. He knows there
are many war vets that choose not to even remember at all. But he
chooses to remember and to tell others who are interested in
In fact, he
has an entire room that is mostly devoted to the history of not only
WWII, but also other American wars. There are books upon books with
notes and names. There are military contacts, some who have passed
away and others who have disappeared throughout the years. War
medals and military patches, some of which are even Nazi, are
carefully placed throughout his room.
helped people obtain their war medals. He knows firsthand about the
hardships of getting the well-deserved medals. After all, it took
him 40 years to get his purple heart.
He has spoken
at local schools and shared his stories.
self-proclaimed "walking encyclopedia" remembers and is one of the
few remaining WWII vets who knows firsthand of the heroes and
horrors of a war that will not be forgotten.
Daily Citizen - Linton,IN,USA
August 10, 2005 -
WWII stories fresh in veteran's mind - Cleveland native to share
tales of `disgusting' combat
He knows war.
than 60 years later, Edward C. Arn still thinks of what he saw and
the men who died around him.
``There is nothing glorious about war,'' said Arn, 96, of Wooster.
``It is deadly, down to earth, honest to God, disgusting in many
the world remembers the 60th anniversary Sunday of the end of
fighting in World War II on V-J Day, Arn's story is still as fresh
in his mind as it was when he fought in France after D-Day, in the
Netherlands, in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge, and fought to
the River Elbe in Germany, about 50 miles from Berlin, as the war
ended in Europe.
it is told in the book Arn's War, Memoirs of a World War II
Infantryman, 1940-1946, to be published by the University of Akron
Press in the next few months.
Arn, a native
of Cleveland, was a College of Wooster graduate who worked as a
salesman when he decided to join the Army at the age of 33 through a
U.S. Army Volunteer Officer Candidate program.
He became an
infantry instructor as a second lieutenant at Fort McClellan, Ala.
infantry replacement soldiers.
``Men, no one
wants to die, particularly at your age. So, here at McClellan the
more you listen, learn and remember, the longer you'll stay alive,
wherever you're going,'' he wrote in the book of a standard speech
he gave to his recruits.
Eventually, Arn volunteered for combat.
arrived in France on July 17, 1944, about six weeks after D-Day, and
fought with the
30th Infantry across Europe for the
next several months.
On his first
exposure to combat, he wrote ``in split seconds, I had a thousand
reservations about my ability, I was now scared as hell.''
the sights and smells of war.
``What was to
become a familiar sort of sticky-sweet smell entered my nostrils,
the odor of the uncared-for departed.''
most dramatic descriptions are of the Battle of the Bulge and
fighting in Belgium in the winter of 1944-1945.
He called the
famous battle ``a ludicrous nightmare, never to be forgotten.''
And he wrote
of the ghastly winter conditions.
some of the movies about the Battle of the Bulge, the ever present
set snow was often waist-deep,'' he wrote. ``We suffered almost as
many casualties from trench foot as from enemy firepower. Trench
foot is a disease peculiar to soldiers fighting in winter
conditions. A combination of dirt, sweat, water-soaked shoes, wet
socks, and cold weather resulted in the creation of blisters, deep
sores, and, finally, infection in the feet.''
soldiers lost feet through amputations, he wrote, that some soldiers
saw ``an oil drum full of amputated feet in a military hospital in
letter home to his parents, Arn wrote of New Year's Eve 1944 and
``the only thing we're celebrating is the fact we're alive.''
He wrote of
seeing the bodies of Americans who had been massacred at Malmedy,
``I saw the
frozen bodies stacked in small buildings as we passed through
Malmedy, proceeding in a southeasterly direction. I can recall
staring at the rows of shoes.''
By the end of
the Battle of the Bulge in late January 1945, he wrote that from
where he stood, ``I once again expressed my hatred of the insane
left the Army at the end of the war as a captain, having served as a
commanding officer of
Company F, 2nd Battalion, 119th Infantry
Regiment, 30th Infantry Division.
wounded twice and earned two Purple Hearts and the Silver Star.
to civilian life and married his wife, Pat, and continued selling
until he took a job at the College of Wooster in 1958. He retired
there in 1974 as director of alumni relations.
returned home, he said, he suffered emotionally from what he saw.
``It was a
mess,'' he said. ``I was in the thick of things and carried
baggage... some dear friends didn't come home.''
While he was
in combat, his company suffered 128 killed in action and 600
``You get the
idea of turnover,'' he said in an interview at his Wooster home.
Arn had to
write letters to about 50 families of soldiers who died in his
``It is the
hardest thing in the world to do,'' he said.
this day, Arn said, he wonders ``if I hadn't sent kids to their
deaths, which I had.''
died in his arms.
are in actual combat, and when they are, they come out different,''
he said in an interview.
Jerome Mushkat, an emeritus professor of history at the University
of Akron who edited Arn's book, said Arn's experiences in war are
was just an ordinary person, making a living before the war, then he
goes into the service facing circumstances beyond anything that he
ever anticipated,'' Mushkat said. ``He exceeded expectations and was
an extraordinary person.''
Mushkat said, ``epitomizes the best qualities of Americans at war.''
Arn said he
wrote the memoir over a 10-year period starting about 1976 and
initially wrote it for his children and grandchildren. He and his
wife have five children and one foster child, 16 grandchildren and
He said his
combat experience has turned him against war today.
said, `Why in the world can't man sit down around a table and solve
a problem peacefully?' And apparently we never will,'' he said.
tragic thing about war, Arn said, is this: ``It takes young men. Men
that are just beginning to get organized. Oh, I hate war.''
Jim Carney, Akron Beacon Journal - Akron,OH,USA
July 18, 2005 - 60th
Anniversary of World War II
Sixteen million men and women served in World War II; 400,000 died;
millions more survived. The war, which began on July 7, 1937 spanned
across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as across Europe,
Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It was not until May 8, 1945 that
Germany surrendered and August 15, 1945 that Japan surrendered,
turning the chaotic lives of those 16 million soldiers from wartime
to calmer times.
Of those that survived, many veterans of the war now live in
different parts of the country, but many live in the Harlan area.
Here are the stories of three of those veterans.
HARLAN -- In October of 1944, Don Norgaard was captured for the
second time as a prisoner of war (POW) in World War II. He sat in
Dortmund, Germany for seven months this time, remembering being
previously captured only two months earlier and freed by the French
Norgaard was considered Missing in Action (MIA) for four months
while in Dortmund, separated from his company, the
30th Infantry Division
of the United States Army.
In April of 1945, American soldiers liberated Norgaard from
Dortmund, freeing him from the dangerous times of a POW.
"I remember when they came to liberate me," Norgaard said. "They
asked if there were any Americans there and I was so happy to see
them, I cried."
Norgaard spent a year and two months in a military hospital in
Galesburg, Ill. recuperating from his injuries before he was allowed
to return to Harlan, where he would later find himself with a purple
heart and oak leaves, symbolizing two injuries in the war.
Norgaard was drafted into the U.S. Army on December 26, 1942, and
left for the war with 15 other men from the Harlan area, none of
whom fought in the war together later on.
"I remember the day we left," Norgaard said. "It was icy and we were
on a bus. It was so icy that we had to get out and push the bus up
While serving, Norgaard toured around the United States to places
like Little Rock, Ark. and Boston, Mass. but eventually found
himself at Omaha Beach in France 10 days after D-Day. He went
through Belgium and Germany before becoming a POW.
"The most memorable time was when I came home," Norgaard said.
When he returned from his duty in August of 1946, just short of two
years after he was drafted, Norgaard tried many jobs including
farming. He ran a gas station for 11 years and now has worked on
small engines for the last 20 years.
But a few pieces of shrapnel that remain in Norgaard's ankle bone
remind him of the experiences of being a POW in WWII.
Harlan Tribune -
June 30, 2005 -
60 YEARS AGO - PFC Robert R. Hellen, stationed with the
30th Infantry Division in Germany, was awarded the Bronze
Star Medal for meritorious achievement in combat.
Hudson Sun - Framingham,MA,USA
June 18, 2005 - Monroe Township High School
students are learn about history and honoring past veterans.
MONROE — Memorial Day parades and ceremonies are no longer the only
ways to honor veterans of past wars. As students at schools all
over the country have discovered, the best way to learn the stories
and honor veterans is to simply listen to them. Students
from Monroe Township High School videotaped their interviews with
war veterans for inclusion in the National Veterans History Project.
The video with clips from their interviews as well as those from
other New Jersey schools — including South Brunswick High School,
Steinert High School in Hamilton, West Windsor-Plainsboro South High
School, Hamilton West High School and Nottingham High School in
Hamilton — was screened for the students June 2 in the Monroe
Township High School auditorium.
Through the Veterans History Project, signed into law October 27,
2000 by President Bill Clinton, students can videotape or record
interviews with war veterans and then send the tapes to the Library
of Congress, where they will be processed and made available for
research. In addition, biographies of the participating
veterans are put in the National Registry of Service and can be
"The students are learning the history directly from those living
it, not in the books," said Tim Schurtter, program officer for the
Library of Congress. "It is a way to honor the veterans for the
future and save their memories."
The ceremony included speeches by state Assemblywoman Linda
Greenstein, D-14; U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.; as well as an
official presentation of the video to Mr. Schurtter for the Library
Many local veterans showed their support for the project at the
ceremony and were given an opportunity to identify themselves and
what war they fought in.
A few veterans who were interviewed for the project were given the
chance to speak about their personal experiences, including Stan
Hoffman of Monroe, a member of the
30th Infantry Division
in World War II who was awarded a Silver Star, Purple Heart and Bronze
"This, to me, is very important that we get to the young and future
generations," he said in an interview prior to the ceremony.
"(During the interview) I felt comfortable, but I started talking
about veterans and I couldn't stop sobbing, thinking of the
horrendous acts. It helps (the students) realize how war affects a
Ms. Greenstein said that of the six schools that participated in
the project, 130 students were paired with 65 veterans of World War
II and the Korean and Vietnam 7wars. "The single most
important thing was the bonding between the students and the
veterans," she said. Although the students who previously
participated in the project have all since graduated from the
school, many current juniors were present at the assembly and
expressed their desire to be involved in the project next year.
"I personally love history and I think it would be the best thing
to participate in," said Katie Payne, a junior at Monroe. "We read
about wars, but unless we get a firsthand point of view, we don't
know how it affected the people because we didn't live through
them." Monroe junior Talha Alvi, whose grandfather is a
World War II veteran, agreed that the information is more
interesting when it comes from the veterans themselves.
"The veterans are like everyday people, but they fulfilled their
line of duty and it is important to keep their legacies alive," he
said. "The stories are frightful, (but) they make you want to do
your part to help your country."
Matthew DeFilippis, social studies coordinator at Monroe High
School, worked to match the different veterans with the students at
the school. He said the students were hesitant about participating
at first, but began to enjoy the process after it began.
"You learn a lot more on a one-to-one basis," he said.
According to Mr. Schurtter, the project was developed by U.S.
Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin, after he listened to his
father and uncle swap stories about their own personal war
experiences. Congressman Kind decided to tape the stories
for his two young children to watch when they were old enough to
appreciate them. He then took the idea to Congress where it passed
unanimously and was later signed into law.
So far, the Library of Congress has collected over 35,000 stories,
but there are 19 million war veterans still alive, Mr. Schurtter
said. "It is a great success for families of veterans who
maybe hadn't heard the stories and for veterans to speak and for
students to piece the history together," Rep. Holt said in a
separate interview. The most important idea he stressed in
his speech was that being involved in the project gives students a
way to "do history, not read it."
Mr. Schurtter said that the project is as beneficial for the
veterans as it is for the students themselves.
"Sometimes people aren't willing to share and most haven't even
told a family member," he said. "It's a way for them to tell the
stories they keep bottled up inside. We keep hearing them say,
'thank you for asking.' " Amy Lemelman, a junior at Monroe
High School, is looking forward to being able to participate in the
project. "If we don't learn about this, we take it all for
granted," she said. "The veterans did so much for our country and
they deserve to be recognized." For more information on the
Veterans History Project, please visit the Web site at
Cranbury Press - Cranbury,NJ,USA
May 9, 2005 -
later, WWII veterans feel pain -
Museum honors thousands during V-E Day celebration
Oct. 6, 1942.
date that Keith Strock, 83, says he will never forget.
on that fall day that Strock, of Garrett, was drafted into the Army. It
was a day that Strock said he remembers feeling more eager than scared.
going, and I thought ‘what the heck,’ ” he said. “I was eager to go,
because all my friends were already gone.”
on a wooden bench Saturday in the Kruse World War II Victory Museum,
Strock easily recalled boot camp at Camp Blanding near Starke, Fla., the
three years he spent as a corporal with the 30th
and the injury that would end his tour of duty in Europe and leave
pieces of shrapnel permanently embedded in his leg.
long ago, Strock said he wouldn’t be able to talk about his experiences
in the war because they would trigger flashbacks. Strock overcame his
fear, however, and is now a volunteer at the museum, where he speaks to
hundreds of visitors every year about that time in history.
and hundreds of other WWII veterans Saturday celebrated the 60th
anniversary of V-E Day – the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945 –
Strock said he is amazed at how much time has passed.
“Oh, no, not 60
years,” he said. “That’s really hard to believe.”
Kruse museum bubbled with V-E celebration activities that honored Strock
and other World War II veterans with a mock USO show, displays and
speeches. More than 2,000 veterans and their families and members of the
public were expected to attend the international celebration, museum
spokeswoman Marti Wright said.
the celebration as a way to mark the anniversary and thank the veterans,
“We wanted to
commemorate (the anniversary) with this huge party,” she said. “We’re
just proud that we could do this.”
celebration offered the opportunity for veterans such as Dominick
Colangelo of Angola to talk about their experiences in the war.
school to join the Navy at 17, shortly after his brother was killed
while serving aboard the battleship USS South Dakota.
fine until I go to Great Lakes, Ill. (for training),” he said. “When
they shut that gate, I knew I was grown up.”
Colangelo would go on to serve aboard a ship that delivered troops and
supplies to Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Colangelo, a retired truck driver,
said he mostly has fond memories of his time in the Navy.
“You just don’t
want to see it happen again,” he said.
Harry Stewart, of
Bloomfield Hills, Mich., said he felt obligated to leave his home and
family in New York City to volunteer for duty in the Army Air Corps at
18. Stewart would go on to become a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen,
an all-black fighter group, and fly 43 combat missions while stationed
Stewart, 80, said
the experience in the war afforded him the opportunity to do and see
many good things.
“I guess I was
too young to be scared,” he said. “It turned out to be a delightful
Blevins, 79, talking about the war brought back vivid memories of
outsmarting the enemy while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. It also
invoked painful memories of seeing victims in concentration camps.
nothing but skin and bones,” he said. “The odor was so bad, and the
conditions were horrible.”
Blevins said he
is fearful that the lessons of World War II and the sacrifices of its
veterans are lost on younger generations.
knows nothing about the horrors of war,” he said. “The things I’ve seen
… with all the horrors I’ve seen, it’s hard to remember a lot of them
because you don’t want to.”
Barmore, 19, of Carmel, said he understands why V-E celebrations must
to recognize people who made what we have today possible,” he said.
Blevins and other
veterans are quick to dispel any talk of hero status. Their
participation in the war was just a duty they had to perform, they said.
hero,” Blevins said. “I just went over to do a job.”
, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - Fort Wayne,IN,USA)
May 8, 2005
V-E Day plus 60 years
Despite a tour of brutal, sometimes deadly hand-to-hand fighting across
Europe, Army paratrooper Elden "Dan" Burdin got drunk the day the
Burdin and his
unit, E Company of the 17th Airborne Division, were bivouacked at the
Essen, Germany, castle of a rich industrialist they had captured. The
soldiers were enjoying some of the 800 bottles in their captive's
extensive wine cellar when they heard the Germans had surrendered,
ending World War II in Europe.
more or less a surprise," Burdin said of the surrender.
But he and his
compatriots had been seeing signs that all was not well in the German
"They had a lot
of soldiers there and I don't know how many of them surrendered," he
said. "Thousands and thousands of them."
VICTORY IN EUROPE
officials surrendered to the Allies after Adolph Hitler committed
suicide in Berlin on April 30, 1945.
surrender was signed by German armed forces chief of staff, Col. Gen.
Alfred Jodl, at Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower's
headquarters in Reims, France, on May 7, 1945.
officials designated May 8 as the day to commemorate their victory in
Europe, known as V-E Day.
announcement of the German surrender was passed down the military chain
of command to the officers of Burdin's company, who announced it to
were quite joyful," recalled Burdin, at the time a 22-year-old platoon
sergeant whose parents lived in Cambridge. "We were all a bunch of young
fellas and we realized we were going home some time, but we did not know
when. I didn't end up going home for pretty much nine months. "We all
got drunk. The next day the company commander said to me, 'Sgt. Burdin,
every man in this company was drunk last night.'
"I said, 'Yes,
sir.' It was the only time I ever got drunk during the war," he said.
Burdin had been a
witness and participant in history during his World War II service.
The young soldier
had parachuted with the famous 82nd Airborne Division behind enemy lines
in Normandy before dawn on D-Day and fought all across Europe, part of
the combined Allied force which was invading Nazi Germany when the war
came to an end.
He and a
small contingent of his unit were separated from their company when they
dropped by parachute behind Omaha Beach early on D-Day, June 6, 1944. By
mid-July, when they were relieved, Burdin was one of only 15 men to come
out unscathed out of a company of 150 paratroopers.
Twenty-three-year-old Fairfield native Leslie Hann was on a troop ship
headed for New York harbor and home when word came down that Germany had
surrendered on May 7, 1945.
word spread through the troops" on the ship, Hann recalled. "We were all
happy, but there was no party."
forward observer and radio operator for the 230th
Field Artillery, a unit of the 30th Infantry Division, had earned
enough combat points to come home on a furlough before most of his
comrades. He returned with a fist full of medals and awards -- including
the Silver Star and Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters -- for his
service in the combat zones of five major battles, including the Battle
of the Bulge.
soldiers aboard his ship were happy that the war in Europe was over,
that joy was tempered by the knowledge that, after their furloughs, many
of them would be preparing to return to combat duty in the Far East as
part of the planned invasion of Japan.
Hann, who has
lived in Augusta since 1954, planned to visit Maine before heading to
Fort Benning, Ga., where he was to be joined by the remainder of his
unit to train for the expected fight ahead. Of course, the invasion
never took place. The U.S. dropped two atomic bombs and Japan
surrendered in August.
Artillery observers usually were up with the infantry for four days at a
time, but Hann said he was at a forward station for 28 days one time. He
directed one of the biggest artillery barrages, sending the order to
fire to 728 ship and shore batteries. His unit helped liberate the first
city in Germany, he said.
KISS A STRANGER
Thelma Whitney of
Augusta was at Wells Beach with her children, sister and mother when
they heard the news that war in Europe was over. Whitney said she and
her sister left the children with her mother and took a bus to Portland
to join in the celebration.
was like a circus," said Whitney, who remembers crowds on streets
forcing vehicular traffic to a standstill.
"It was mobbed.
There was no traffic because everyone was walking."
People in the
city were celebrating, hollering and kissing strangers. "It was truly
quite a gala event," she said. "You were ecstatic, in a way. But in a
way, you weren't."
jubilation was measured by the knowledge that her husband, Donald, was
still in the South Pacific combat zone, where he served in the unusual
position of an Army staff sergeant and captain of a tug boat used to
"It was sort of a
sad-glad thing," the 85-year-old recalled. "You were glad for everybody
else whose husbands would be coming back. But we didn't know what would
happen to our loved ones" in the South Pacific.
shortages were difficult for mothers, such as Whitney, who were raising
children alone, she said. The experience made her sympathize with single
were available on the black market, but necessaries usually were limited
by rationing coupons handed out to each family.
really get much of what you needed. But my husband (in the war zone) was
supplying the largest ships with things like meat. He'd write and say we
delivered a load of pork, and here I was. ... If I had one pork chop,
I'd lick the pan. I remember my sister and I cut two pieces of bread in
half so we could make two sandwiches."
In rural Maine,
the end of fighting on the European continent was cause for celebration.
But the hardships
of war left little means for celebrating.
remember my mother telling me that the war was over, and that was a good
thing as far as a 9-year-old was concerned," Howard Annis recalled. "She
sent me outside with two pans and I stood on the road and banged on
those pans. People passing by in cars would honk their horns and wave."
course, only half the war was over. But Annis' father was in the Coast
Guard patrolling off the New England coast and the end of the German
threat would relax some of the strain on his service.
biggest thing as far as I was concerned was that my father would be
coming home. Not that day, but he would be coming home soon," Annis
said. "It was quite a while," however, before his father came home to
Manchester for good.
the war was much more limited than the war news that is available today.
And a 9-year-old boy had even less information, he said.
His family also
was isolated physically.
though they lived on Route 17, with few neighbors and strict limits on
gasoline, "We were really sheltered from the world in Manchester, Maine,
even though we were only 5 or 6 miles outside of Augusta," Annis said.
"Day to day, it
was just that my Dad wasn't there," he said. "He'd attempt to come home
sometimes and he wouldn't make it. He'd hitchhike or something and have
to turn back because he wasn't going to make it in time, so we didn't
see him much."
His mother, a
cook at the local school, had an unreliable car and little gas to drive
it. She often brought home leftovers from meals she cooked for students
to help the family get by.
Annis recalls his
biggest hardship was restriction on sugar imposed by wartime rationing.
restrictions on gasoline and all kinds of things that affected the
adults. But, for a kid with a sweet tooth, it was the limits on sugar
that were hardest. We'd have a cup or a bowl with our sugar and that's
all we'd have for the month."
THROUGH THE NOSE
Moulton Webber of
Augusta saw World War II through the nose glass of a B-17.
bombardier-navigator, Webber, now 81, had completed 35 combat missions
as part of the 303rd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, famously known as
the "Hell's Angels."
He was headed
home -- half-way across the Atlantic in the troop ship USS Brazil --
when the German surrender was announced over the ship's loudspeakers.
The men received the news joyously, but it came as a surprise to few of
"We knew it was
winding down. We expected it pretty soon," Webber said. "We kind of
expected it to come around that time."
After he got off
the boat on Staten Island, N.Y., he headed for Maine. "I was home by
early June," he said.
Moulton, who rose
to the rank of first lieutenant, was shot down on his first mission and
reported missing in action on Christmas Eve 1944. He fought through
bitter German resistance on the long, cold, high-level bombing missions.
His unit became known worldwide for the number of missions it flew and
its most well-known member, movie star Clark Gable.
to the states, his bomb group was upset to learn they were being trained
in Texas for the invasion of Japan -- until the two atomic bombs were
"We didn't think
it was fair to go through all those missions and have to fly again," he
of East Winthrop was in Berlin when the war came to an end.
A first sergeant
with the 269th Combat Engineer Battalion, 69th Division, Farnsworth's
unit helped spearhead the American drive to Berlin, where it was among
the first to link up with the Soviet forces that invaded the German
capital from the east.
knew it was ending," Farnsworth recalled. "They were just surrendering
to us in droves." (GARY REMAL,
Kennebec Journal -
2005 - MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands, May 7 (Xinhuanet) -- US President
George W. Bush is going for a two-day visit to the Netherlands Saturday
evening. On top of his agenda is a visit to the World War II Netherlands
American Cemetery and Memorial on Sunday.
cemetery, the only US military cemetery in the Netherlands, lies in the
village of Margraten about 10 km east of Maastricht, the first Dutch
city liberated by the Allied forces at the end of the World War II.
bordering Germany and Belgium is also world-famous for its monumental
role in the integration process of the European Union (EU). The EU
leaders met 14 years ago here and later signed the Maastricht Treaty,
one of the key documents in establishing the union.
The site of
the cemetery, which has an area of 65 acres (263,000 square meters),
lies near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway, which was originally
built by the Romans and used by Caesar during his campaign in that area.
In May 1940,
Hitler's legions advanced over the route of the old Roman highway,
overwhelming the Low Countries. In September 1944, German troops once
more used the highway for the withdrawal from the countries occupied for
cemetery entrance people can approach through the Court of Honor with
its pool reflecting the chapel tower. The walls on either side of the
Court of Honor contain the Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded
the names of 1,723 missing US soldiers
area is divided into 16 plots where 8,301 US soldiers were buried. Their
headstones are set in long curves. A wide tree-lined mall leads to the
flag staff which crowns the crest.
The site of the cemetery was liberated on Sept. 13, 1944 by troops
of the US
30th Infantry Division which were advancing
northeastward toward the Roer in Germany, as part of the US First Army.
This battlefield cemetery, one of the first to be used for the interment
of American soldiers who fell on German soil, was established here on
Nov. 10 of the same year by the US Ninth Army.
(Xinhua - Beijing,China)
May 7, 2005 -
60 Years Later
- Veterans Remember Germany's Surrender As Day Of Jubilation
Sixty years have passed since the surrender of Nazi Germany, yet V-E Day
is still fresh in the minds of the soldiers who celebrated it in 1945.
"May 8th was a day of jubilation," recalled Frank W. Towers, a graduate
of St. Johnsbury Academy, Class of 1935, who served as a first
lieutenant of the 30th Infantry Division during World War II.
Fighting had mostly ceased by mid-April of 1945, said Towers, and U.S.
troops anticipated word of Germany's surrender several days before it
was officially announced. Towers was stationed in Wolmirstedt, Germany,
at the time.
"Naturally we hoisted many loud cheers, and some of the men fired their
rifles into the air in celebration, and a few artillery rounds were
fired, although this was not officially sanctioned," said Towers.
On that same day in France, Henry Whipple remembers lying on his bunk
writing a letter home when the PA system at Camp New York announced the
end of fighting in Europe.
Camp New York was a staging area in France with many tents to house
troops that were stationed there. Whipple recalls everyone being happy
and jumping around, but after an hour or two the time for celebrating
was over. The Pacific Theater became the next mission.
"We still planned on going to Japan," said Whipple. "Our war wasn't
In the United States, USO dances and drinking beer were part of V-E Day
celebrations, said Bernard "BJ" Murphy of St. Johnsbury.
"We celebrated like any young teenagers would do," said Murphy, who was
stationed in the West for gunnery training.
Bundled In Long Johns
Now a St. Johnsbury Center resident, Henry Whipple joined the Army Air
Force in 1943 because he heard the food it served was better than the
Classified as 1A (physically fit and deployable), Whipple knew he would
be drafted if he didn't obtain a student deferment. A few months shy of
his graduation from the St. Johnsbury Trade School, the 17-year-old had
to have his mother's signature before he could formally enlist.
He remembers being bundled in long johns to combat the cool April
temperatures as he and other soldiers left St. Johnsbury by train in
1943. As they traveled south, temperatures soon reached 100 degrees;
however, the new recruits hadn't packed any summer clothing. Whipple was
stationed in St. Petersburg, Fla., from April until October of 1943.
With his electrical and mechanical background from the Trade School, he
was trained for the signal corps and then sent overseas with no
opportunity to visit his home in Lyndonville before deployment.
Travel to England took 14 days, and Whipple was stationed at Ramsbury
Airfield. During this time he transferred to the motor pool, performing
maintenance on C-47 airplanes and military vehicles, earning the title
of ignition carburetor specialist.
The nearest Whipple says he came to combat was watching enemy V-1 "buzz
bomb" and V-2 rockets drop onto London. When the V-1 stopped making
noise, that was when the bomb dropped, he said.
In July 1944 his unit, the 9th Air Force, crossed the English Channel.
He vividly recalls the fog being so thick during the seven-day crossing
that the English vessel he was aboard was forced to drop anchor. He and
others were forced to hammer as loudly as possible on a metal gong to
avoid collision with other ships.
He remembers shells exploding during the war like it was the Fourth of
July, but he is thankful he wasn't stationed on the front lines and was
After V-E Day, Whipple traveled in a convoy with the trucks and
equipment headed to support the troops in the Pacific Theater. Along the
way he and other soldiers sampled grapes and tomatoes from the vineyards
and fields in France.
The atomic bomb brought the war with Japan quickly to a close, and
Whipple returned to his home in Lyndonville for furlough. He was
discharged as a corporal Nov. 26, 1945.
Prior to his enlistment, the farthest Whipple had traveled was
Burlington, Vt. Today he has memories of Windsor Castle, the statues and
waterfalls of Brussels and Holland, and the Champs Elysees. He enjoyed
swimming in the Mediterranean at Marseilles and vividly remembers
wearing just his "skivies" on a humid morning while his ship passed the
Rock of Gibraltar on his way back to the United States.
"I'd never have gone over there if I hadn't been in the service," he
Bernard "BJ" Murphy of St. Johnsbury, a graduate of St. Johnsbury
Academy Class of 1943, signed up to fight but missed being part of the
"action" of World War II.
Murphy, who became a prominent developer, enlisted in the Army Air Force
right out of high school and desperately wanted to fly military
aircraft; however, an imbalance in his eyes caused him to be washed out
as a pilot.
The wing board's decision to send him off to gunnery school disappointed
the young soldier, and the extended training delayed his deployment for
about a year.
"Probably saved my life," said Murphy of his training as a tail gunner,
"but I thought it was the worst thing that ever happened to me."
By the time his training as a B-17 tail gunner was completed, the war
was over. He served three years in the service and was discharged in
1946. He was told later that half of his pilot class had been shot down
during the war.
Frank W. Towers, now a Florida resident, returned to Germany in April
this year when he was asked to speak in honor of the 60th anniversary of
the liberation of the city of Magdeburg by the 30th Infantry Division.
As a member of that division, Towers helped liberate a slave labor camp
housed on the outskirts of Magdeburg in 1945.
"The sights of these emaciated, starved, diseased people will forever
remain a vision in my mind, that can never be erased," Towers wrote in a
recent interview via e-mail.
Another speaker at the anniversary celebration was Ernst KAN, a Jewish
man Towers had helped liberate. Before an audience of about 1,000
people, the two met for the first time.
"We cried with joy," said Towers. "He to meet one of his liberators, and
I to meet one whom I had a part in liberating 60 years ago. We had come
full circle in Magdeburg, Germany, right where we had first been in each
Ironically, both men now live in Florida - only about 250 miles apart.
KAN visits schools throughout Florida sharing his experiences as a
Holocaust survivor; Towers also gives World War II presentations in
Florida as well as at schools in France, Belgium and Holland.
One of the reasons Towers and KAN were invited to the anniversary
celebration was to help Magdeburg understand what really happened in
After U.S. troops left Magdeburg, Russians occupied the city. Under
Communist rule, no English was to be spoken or taught. Towers recently
learned that for more than 40 years residents of Magdeburg believed the
Russians were their liberators.
"It was hard to believe that the Russians had so thoroughly brainwashed
the citizens of Magdeburg to such an extent," said Towers. "This is why
Ernst and I were invited back on this 60th anniversary, to inform the
public firsthand about our part in this war, being a prisoner, and the
While in Germany, Towers also visited the site of Hitler's bunker and
the Jewish Holocaust Memorial.
"Yes, of course May 8th is a day that will always stand out in my
memory," said Towers, "as it was the end of this six-year reign of
terror, the Holocaust, and happily, a time for so many to go back home,
to continue our lives from where we had left off in 1940-'41, and start
off on a new life." (PATIENCE DUSSAULT ,Caledonian Record -
'Quiet hero' received Purple Heart, Bronze Star for service in WWII'
Eugene P. Jaglowski
was not a yeller.
The Purple Heart
and Bronze Star recipient was, however, armed with a rapier wit, along
with a powerful presence that allowed him to make his thoughts silently
known, especially to his two sons.
"He rarely lost his
temper, but (we) knew if he wasn't happy with something that we were
doing," said his oldest son, Eugene Jr.
came in the form of a stare that would stop the boys in their tracks.
It was this quiet
power, his family said, that likely pushed him to continue working full
time for 20 years after suffering severe injuries in Germany during
World War II.
"He was a quiet
hero that lived in dignity," Eugene Jr. said.
On March 28, the
quiet hero died after battling numerous health problems in recent years.
He was 88.
Born Aug. 21, 1916,
the Harrison High School football player was raised in the same Little
Village neighborhood in which he and his wife later raised their boys.
high school, Mr. Jaglowski — sometimes called "Big Al" — entered the
Army during World War II.
As a staff
sergeant for the 30th Infantry Division's 120th
anti-tank company, Mr. Jaglowski saw a lot of fighting, having
participated in several campaigns, including the Normandy invasion.
In November 1944,
Mr. Jaglowski was severely injured when the building he and other Allied
snipers were inside was bombed in Auchen, Germany.
The structure fell
on top of him, breaking his ankles and seriously injuring his legs, face
and back, injuries that plagued him for the rest of his life.
The injuries left
Mr. Jaglowski in a plaster cast for seven months.
For his military
service, he was awarded a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, a combat infantry
badge and four medals for service in France, Belgium, Holland and
strong-willed person, Mr. Jaglowski didn't let his injuries stop his
life, and in March 1946, he married Josephine Osicek.
In their Whipple
Avenue home, the couple raised their sons, Eugene Jr. and Gregory.
worked full time at numerous jobs including at the old Ford Motors plant
on the Southwest Side for 20 years.
But the Jaglowski
family worked hard and played hard.
"I remember a lot
of laughter in our house. People would come over, the coffee was always
coming and a pinochle game would start and my father was the quarterback
of the entire thing," Eugene Jr. said.
"He was a quiet
person, but he was very well-respected; everybody liked the guy,"
Both sons followed
their father into the military, each serving during the Vietnam War and
both later becoming Chicago police officers before retiring.
After suffering a
series of health problems that kept him from working full time, Mr. and
Mrs. Jaglowski moved to Arizona, where in later years, Mr. Jaglowski
would work at a swimming pool to keep himself busy, family members said.
Eugene P. Jaglowski
Born: Aug. 21, 1916
Died: March 28,
Josephine; sons, Eugene Jr. and Gregory; four granddaughters; and one
services: Funeral Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary
Star of the Sea Church with internment following at Resurrection
Daily Southtown, State Unknown)
2005 - Wamp Presents Bronze Star To Ailing Veteran
Rep. Wamp brings Bronze Star to Parkridge East Ridge Hospital. Ruth
Bates is at right. Click to enlarge.
Congressman Zach Wamp (TN-3)
presented Apison resident Sergeant Louis "Bullet" Bates with a Bronze
Star medal at East Ridge Hospital on Wednesday afternoon for his
meritorious achievement while enduring enemy fire in the Korean War.
Sergeant Bates, currently hospitalized at Parkridge East Ridge Hospital,
was surrounded by his family as Congressman Wamp recognized Bates for
his courage throughout his military service.
He is receiving the Bronze Star for events occurring on the evening of
September 9, 1952 in the North Korean mountains. Sergeant Bates and his
comrade volunteered to transport needed ammunition to the II Republic of
Korea (ROK) military's frontline units, and after successfully refueling
the ROK forces, their vehicle became inoperable. Sgt. Bates spent the
entire night going in and out of folxholes while moving further down the
mountain back to his unit.
"On behalf of a grateful nation, I present this Bronze Star to you,
Sergeant Bates, for your bravery, service and sacrifice," said
Congressman Wamp. "With your family around you, this room is filled with
immeasurable pride in your heroism, devotion to duty and conduct under
fire to preserve freedom around the world."
As a member of the United States Army's 30th
Infantry Division, 987th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, the
86-year-old Sergeant Bates has received numerous medals for his military
service including: Purple Heart, American Theater, Asiatic-Pacific
Theater, Philippine Liberation, Good Conduct, Victory Medal, United
Nations Service Medal, and Korean Service Medal with two bronze service
stars, and now - today's Bronze Star Medal.
(The Chattanoogan -
January 29, 2005 -
Battle of the Bulge.
Former Fredericksburg City Manager John Nolan dodges bullets during
pivotal World War II campaign.
THIS MONTH marks
the 60th anniversary of the World War II Battle of the Bulge. Former
Fredericksburg City Manager John Nolan, a retired Army colonel,
remembers it well.
the platoon sergeant of the 1st Platoon, Company
G, 119th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division. He was an Ohio boy
from Bowerston--population 447--who enlisted in December 1942. In
September, he joined his unit in Belgium as an infantry replacement and
was a corporal placed in charge of eight men. All were new replacements
who would soon be in ground combat.
One of the first
things the Army did was tell him to drop his duffle bag, cut off his
haversack, and get into a truck heading for the front lines.
"When the trucks
ran out of gas, we got out and walked the last 65 miles in three days,"
Nolan remembers. "I knew it was serious when people kept trying to kill
me in Holland. It was the first time I came under small-arms fire. You
never forget that sound."
17, the 119th Regiment was deployed in the Malmedy-Stavelot sector of
the Ardennes to block any further advances of the German Panzer units.
The German movement was spearheaded by one of Germany's most feared and
elite units, the 1st SS Panzer Division. This unit was at full strength
with veteran troops.
Nolan's 30th Division had been nicknamed
"Roosevelt's SS" by the Germans because of the fighting reputation it
had earned in France.
"There was dense
fog, no air cover, and it was very cold. We were fighting up and down
the mountainous terrain," Nolan recalls.
Several days later,
G Company helped surround the 1st SS Panzer Division at La Gleize. The
Germans retreated, leaving 25 tiger tanks, 13 panther tanks, 44 trucks,
46 half-tracks and six 150 mm howitzers. They were trapped and they ran
out of fuel. It was Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day,
Nolan's platoon thought they were going to get a break, but they were
wrong. They had set up in an old house in the town. Someone had
"liberated" two chickens. They had been eating K-rations forever, and
the men were looking forward to a real Christmas dinner. The kitchen was
in the basement, and there was a table with a real crystal chandelier
overhead. The chickens were put on the table and, just then, the
position was attacked by Army Air Corps P-38 fighter planes who mistook
the American tank outside for a German one. The pilots dropped 500-pound
bombs that missed the tank but landed close enough to shake the whole
for cover under the furniture. When the dust settled, we stood up to
find that the blast's concussion had shattered the chandelier and filled
our Christmas chickens with glass shards. We held hard feelings against
the Air Corps for some time. We just knew they were heading back to
their base for a big Christmas dinner. We ended up eating K-rations,"
By Jan. 13, 1945,
Nolan's unit was helping to push the German bulge back to its original
"It was the worst
day of my life," says Nolan. "It was unbelievably cold. I wore two pair
of long johns, wool shirt and pants, scarf, field jacket, wool trench
coat, two pairs of socks, combat boots, four-buckle galoshes, wool
gloves with leather covers, wool stocking cap and a helmet with a white
"In addition, I
carried a gas mask, haversack, mess kit, canteen, K-rations, sleeping
bag, entrenching tool, M-1 rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition, bayonet, 9
mm German Luger pistol with a 10-inch barrel and a sheath knife held
around my neck by a string. I weighed 150 pounds and my gear must have
weighed another 75."
G Company was
ordered up to lead the platoon's attack to capture Bellevaux, a small
town astride a high ridge.
"We were told to
leave our sleeping bags behind and that they would be brought up later.
I decided to put my gas mask in my haversack instead of under my arm. I
used the gas-mask carrier to store personal items like letters from
home, writing material and shaving gear. I also carried an old coal
miner's carbide tin full of tea bags," said Nolan.
Nolan and his
company climbed up the steep slope. There was a foot of snow. As they
approached the ridge, the lead scout saw German soldiers in foxholes
about 30 yards ahead. One American soldier spoke German and called out
to the soldiers to surrender.
"All hell broke
loose," Nolan recalls. "A German MG42 machine gun opened fire, pinning
us down. The first burst hit four of us before we could find cover. I
was knocked down and my back was hurting. I rolled over and took off my
pack to see what had happened. To my surprise, I found a machine-gun
bullet lying in a hole in my pack. It was still warm. It had passed
through my pack, my gas-mask container, my gas mask, nicked my shaving
brush, and stopped on the surface of my coat. It gave me a hell of a
thump on my back that was sore for a few days. This was the only day in
combat that I had ever carried my gas mask in my pack, and it saved my
"We were pinned
down and kept from advancing. We had to get the wounded out. We brought
up a door from a nearby house to evacuate those that couldn't move on
their own. Then the Germans began dropping mortar rounds on our
position. Then they shot rockets that we called 'screaming meemies' at
us. They weren't as accurate as the mortars, but the high-pitched
screeching was terrifying," said Nolan.
started taking causalities from the mortar rounds. "We couldn't move up,
but we weren't going to retreat," he said. "We shot a German soldier
that was trying to move on our flank. Two light tanks that were moved up
and supported by the 3rd Platoon took out the machine gun.
"The attack of the
3rd Platoon was a sight to behold, with a deafening crescendo of
small-arms fire and cannon bursts. They surged through the enemy lines,
and those Germans that survived the attack immediately surrendered," he
G Company was
ordered to set up a defensive position, and night soon fell. The ground
was frozen. Some of the men had been issued TNT and blasting caps, and
used it to break up the frozen surface so they could dig foxholes. Nolan
and his men did not have any explosives, so they spent a long, cold
night huddled together in spoon position on a Belgian mountainside. The
sleeping bags never made it up to the front lines that night.
The next morning, G
Company was ordered to move forward. The 3rd Platoon led the way, with
the 2nd Platoon in support. Nolan's 1st Platoon, having been badly
mangled, brought up the rear. Nolan's company had suffered a 41 percent
"It was a dark,
cold morning as the remaining members of our platoon reluctantly
shouldered packs and rifles and prepared themselves for another day of
combat against a determined enemy," remembers Nolan.
From June of 1944
(D-Day plus four) until the end of the war in Europe in May of 1945,
more than 1,400 men served in G Company alone. A full company was 196
men. In less than one year, the company's roster turned over more than
six full times.
returned home after the war, stayed in the Army and retired in 1972 as a
full colonel. He served as Fredericksburg's city manager twice, from
1978 to 1981 and then again from 1985 to '86. He served on the Orange
County Board of Supervisors from 1991 until 1995. Today, he lives in
Spotsylvania County with his wife of 56 years, Rosemary. He has three
sons and three grandchildren. He is currently the veterans liaison to
the city for the Fredericksburg Area War Memorial.
Arch Di Peppe, Fredericksburg.com)
Paul J. Dooley, 82,
a longtime resident of King George County, died Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005,
at Mary Washington Hospital.
Mr. Dooley, born
Aug. 10, 1922, in Sewickley, Pa., was the son of the late Francis
Rutherford and Willa Dabney Dooley.
educated in the public schools of Washington, Pa. After leaving school,
he moved to Alexandria in 1940. He worked for construction companies in
the Washington, D.C., area prior to entering the U.S. Army in January
1943, where he served three years. Two of those years were in the
European Theater of Operations with the 743rd Tank
Battalion, 30th Infantry Division. He participated in five major
battles, earning five major battle stars.
He returned to the
United States and separated from the Army in December 1945.
In 1947, he moved
to Chancellor and, with a friend, established and operated the
Chancellor Pallet Co. for several years. He then joined the Virginia
National Guard, Tank Company, 176th Regimental Combat Team in
Fredericksburg as a first sergeant, serving for a number of years. He
later transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, 80th Division, training in
Richmond, and after a total of 25 years' service, retired as a chief
warrant officer in 1969.
He was a life
member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Association,
Retired Officers Association and the American Legion.
military service in 1945, he worked for private industry for a number of
years. In 1957, he entered the federal civil service system with the
Department of the Army, from which he retired as an action officer for
the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army.
During the Vietnam
War, he was the military personnel officer at Davison U.S. Army
Airfield, Fort Belvoir. He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church
in King George.
his friends, Jerry and Ellen June Clift and Nancy D. Jennings; and
numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service
will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, at St. John's Episcopal
Church. Interment with full military honors will be held in Arlington
National Cemetery at a later date.
sympathy may be made to Dahlgren Rescue Squad, Box 1375, Dahlgren, Va.
22448; or to the Nicholas C. Mason Memorial Scholarship Fund, Box 101,
King George, Va. 22485.
Nash & Slaw Funeral
Home, King George, is handling the arrangements.
WW II vet gets
surprise party and medals for 80th birthday
LITTLE FALLS -- Patsy "Pat"
Liscio celebrated his 80th birthday in style -- he was the guest of
honor at a surprise birthday party last Saturday, given by his family,
and on Monday, one day before his birthday, he received the gift of a
lifetime via the mail -- four medals, one of them the Bronze Star.
The medals should have been awarded to Liscio many years ago, but due to a
mistake on his discharge papers, the WW II vet just received them.
There was no ceremony and no fanfare at the arrival of the package to
Liscio's Hancock Street address, just Liscio, a proud Army man who
served his country, and his wife Agnes.
Finding the mistake, Liscio said, came about during an eye exam.
"The doctor said I could have received my glasses for free if I were a
prisoner of war, making me a Level 3 veteran," he said.
Liscio, classified as Level 5 for the past 60 years, said he told the
doctor, "I was a prisoner of war."
It was then Liscio was
shown there was no mention of his two months in a German prison camp
anywhere on his papers. "He told me I better check on it and get the
mistake taken care of," Liscio said.
Liscio said he was unaware of the mistake because in 1988 he was given the
Prisoner of War Medal in Rome by Congressman Sherwood Boehlert.
But the "mistake" on his discharge papers, Liscio soon discovered, meant
so much more than free glasses.
He soon became aware medals were never given to him that should have been.
It would not be long, however, once the mistake was corrected that Liscio
would get an unexpected surprise.
"I received a certificate in the mail about a month ago saying I was the
recipient of the Bronze Star, but I had no idea why," he said.
Besides the Bronze Star,
Liscio received the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal
and the Belgian Fourragere.
The new medals join those given to Liscio, the Presidential Citation,
Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, five battle stars, American
Theater Ribbon and the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon.
Once the medals came to his house Monday it all fell into place.
"I now know why I got the Bronze Star," he said. The Bronze Star he said,
was for "Heroic Meritorious Achievement" from August 9, 1944, through
May 26, 1945. Liscio was a prisoner of war from March-May 26, 1945.
Liscio entered the service on March 31, 1943, after receiving a letter
like many of his fellow residents that the president "wanted him."
Liscio turned 18 just two months prior, on January 11.
He was sent overseas and spent time in Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes
(Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe.
Serving with Company C, 117th Infantry Regiment,
30th Infantry Division, Liscio worked as a light machine gunner.
He told how it was he became a prisoner of war.
"We crossed the Rhine River and were supposed to go to a house and wait
for our troop. Suddenly there was artillery fire and we ran to a house
for cover. We went inside. When the barrage was over, we went out to
help the men that were injured. We went back to the house, yelled to the
basement, 'is anybody down there.' We heard someone yell in perfect
English, 'Yeah, come down.' When we got there, they were German
soldiers," Liscio said.
Liscio said his troop, which eventually got to the house, quickly realized
he and five others were taken prisoner. Liscio's pack was found on the
basement floor. Liscio was taken to Bremen Prison, a navy prison camp,
and the treatment, he said, was okay. "Luckily it wasn't the SS troops.
Our treatment would have been much different if it was," he said.
Liscio said his German captors did interrogate him, but said he "played
dumb." He kept telling the Germans he did not know what troop he was in.
Liscio spent two months at
the prison camp.
Liscio showed his Bronze Star and said the medal was the one he was most
proud of, even if it came later than it should have.
The Belgian Fourragere is also special to Liscio. "That was given to my
outfit in Belgium, but I never got it back then because I was taken
prisoner during the time when the outfit received theirs," he said.
Upon his discharge from the military on October 27, 1945, Liscio returned
to Little Falls, where he worked at Melrose Shoe Company, Allegro and
MDS. Liscio also served as a call firefighter for 47 years.
It was upon his return he married his wife, Agnes.
Life went along normally until October 2004. It was then Liscio went on an
emotional trip. He was among the first group of 54 World War II veterans
to head to Washington to see the new memorial in their honor.
The trip will long be remembered by Liscio. "It was wonderful," he said,
misty-eyed at the experience. "I only wish it could have happened 10
years ago so those who have died could have experienced what we did."
Liscio said he will head to Herkimer in the spring for the next group that
will take the trip, and is looking forward to swapping stories with his
fellow servicemen upon their return.
"I am grateful for the opportunity given to us to see the memorial. I
never could have done it on my own," he said.
As for his new medals, despite the lapse in time receiving them, Liscio
beams with pride at the honor of being the recipient of a Bronze Star.
"I was so surprised about it. I knew right away Monday when I opened the
package which one it was," he said. "It even has my name on it."
The medal sits in a blue velvet case with the actual Bronze Star encased
in a plastic dome. Liscio's name appears on the front of the star.
"I never expected this," he said.
Liscio is one of many who have received medals that are long past the time
when they should have been awarded. Some of those medals have been
awarded posthumously to a veteran's family members. Liscio feels luckier
than those men. "I am still alive to enjoy them with my family," he
Little Falls Evening Times - Little
'Oh God, it was cold'
60 years later, details of Battle of the Bulge still
fresh in veterans' minds
Charles Kneisley thinks back to what's been called the U.S. Army's
greatest battle, the Battle of the Bulge.
"Oh God, it was
Today is the 60th
anniversary of Adolf Hitler's last-gasp winter attempt to turn World War
II around. By the time it ended seven weeks later, some 600,000 Germans,
500,000 Americans and 55,000 British had slugged it out in terrible
Survivors of the
Bulge will gather today in Columbia in what may be their last
large-scale reunion. Only about 60 Bulge veterans live in South
Carolina, where hundreds lived before.
Kneisley, 80, of
Charleston, fought there as did Medal of Honor recipient Frank Currey,
of Bonneau, and Jim Mooneyhan, of Charleston.
Sixty years ago,
Kneisley was a medic in the Army's 75th Infantry Division. The battle,
named for the 60-mile "bulge" on maps showing the German advance into
Belgium, was under way when he arrived.
"They called us the
Diaper Division," he said Wednesday, "because our average age was only
There was another
reason: The 75th Division had no combat experience. Other raw outfits
were hustled into the fight, often so fast they left winter clothing
"We rode as far as
we could get in those '40 and 8' boxcars you heard about from World War
I," Kneisley said. "Forty and eight meant 40 men or eight horses, and
you hoped there hadn't been any horses lately. We went into the line
near St. Vith on Christmas Eve."
The Germans felt
they had to capture St. Vith by the second day if they were to take the
port of Antwerp and win the battle. U.S. forces held St. Vith four days
longer than the Germans expected. The delay helped turn the battle in
the Allies' favor.
assigned to an artillery unit. He never faced the infantry, but he saw
what German artillery could do. Still, his most vivid memory is the
"We had to dig in
through the snow and the frozen ground to make gun emplacements," he
said. "You don't think you can dig through frozen ground, but when you
hear those guns go off, you can dig mighty hard."
at Malmedy, north of St. Vith, with the 30th
on Dec. 21. What he did that day led to the Medal of
Honor and helped keep Malmedy out of enemy hands.
He spotted five
American soldiers pinned down by fire from a house and three tanks.
Launching anti-tank grenades while under heavy enemy fire, he drove the
tank personnel into the house.
full view of the Germans, Currey grabbed a machine gun and fired at the
house. When the gun was empty, he changed position and blitzed the house
with another machine gun. Under his covering fire, the five Americans
escaped. The Germans were forced to retreat. Currey, 79, said the
description in the recommendation for his Medal of
Honor omitted "the best part."
U.S. forces had
abandoned a complete field hospital, including a jeep. Two soldiers
fighting with Currey had been wounded, "and we weren't going to leave
them behind," he said. Instead, Currey and his buddies strapped
the wounded onto litters on the jeep, then headed out of town.
"We drove right
past a German tank and through a German roadblock," he said. "Finally,
we hit one of our own roadblocks."
weather also bothered Mooneyhan, 87, who as a lieutenant commanded the
502nd Engineer Company. The unit normally built bridges, but it saw
action when ordered to re-supply a unit surrounded by German forces.
"We went in at
night," he said, "about 50 of us. Each man was carrying rations, water,
gasoline, whatever we could carry. The snow was 3 feet deep, and we'd
hear the (artillery) shells come in." Mooneyhan said he lost two
men that night to enemy fire.
daughter, Barbara Mooneyhan, is secretary of the S.C. chapter of the
Veterans of the
Battle of the Bulge Association. She said
survivors plan to meet at Fort Jackson today.
A statement from
the Army said as many as 23 members of the association are expected to
attend a memorial service at the Fort Jackson chapel in Columbia.
Abraham J. Turner, post commanding general, will host the 1:30 p.m.
Of The Post and Courier Staff )
October 26, 2004 - Sacrifices for freedom: Wall of Valor honors vets
injured in combat.
Wearing the same uniform he came home from the war
in, World War II veteran Edison A. Little, of Poplar Bluff, stood at
attention as the Star Spangled Banner rang out. Little and nine other
area veterans were honored at an induction ceremony for the Wall of
Valor on Friday at the Tinnin Center in Poplar Bluff.
The Wall of Valor honors veterans who have received
medals for valor in combat and/or the Purple Heart.
Little was involved
in the D-Day invasion against the German Army in France on June 6, 1944.
said he was very proud to be put on the Wall of Valor, he especially
enjoyed the opportunity to visit with other veterans after the ceremony.
"I met people who
were in France when I was. Of course we weren't there together, but that
doesn't make any difference. We were all there together," Little said.
induction ceremony, U. S. Rep. JoAnn Emerson awarded a Purple Heart to
World War II veteran William Seabert Greer of Clubb. Greer's Purple
Heart was earned for injuries he received on June 14, 1944 at Normandy,
France, but the medal was never awarded. He is a member of the Veterans
of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. "These men from Missouri
gave so much of themselves ... their sacrifices can't be repaid,"
Emerson said. "These men went above and beyond. ... Thank you for being
inducted into the Wall of Valor Friday include PFC Steve Zisk, recipient
of two Purple Hearts and Combat Infantry Badge. While serving in Europe,
with the Antitank Section,
Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry
Regiment, 30th Infantry Division on June 1, 1944, Zisk received
shrapnel wounds to the right shoulder, after receiving treatment for his
wound, he continued to serve with his company. On March 26, 1945, having
just crossed the Rhine River, he was wounded by small arms fire in the
right shoulder and head.
(By JACKIE HARDER, Daily American Republic, Poplar
September 01, 2004
- A memorial service will be held Friday in Harbor Springs for a former
Burton city attorney.
William R. McTaggart,
79, died Aug. 27 after a long career as a municipal lawyer, including
stints as an attorney for Clayton, Davison and Flushing townships.
The Flint native
had been associated with Burton legal issues for nearly 25 years before
he resigned on April 1, 1974, to be a writer. McTaggart said then
he feared democratic institutions in America had been jeopardized by a
confused state of politics on the national level, according to news
accounts of his resignation. He hoped to suggest alternate
directions for government through books and articles.
resignation surprised longtime Flint attorney Jerry O'Rourke. "I
never understood that," said O'Rourke, adding that McTaggart was a good
lawyer. "He knew when to stop laughing and start working."
McTaggart moved to
a small farm near Boyne City and became city attorney there, writing a
book on township laws before his retirement in 1990. He also
penned children's books, including "Butternut Moon" and the "Gramma
Books" series, according to obituary information.
graduated Flint Central High School and joined the U.S. Army in 1943,
reaching the rank of staff sergeant in the 30th
Infantry Division. He was hit in the leg by shrapnel while
fighting in Germany in November 1944 and received a Bronze Star and a
leaves his wife, Margaret of Oden; and sons James of Petoskey and Robert
of Dallas. Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Harbor Springs
United Methodist Church. (THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION, by Bryn
August 15 2004 - Time to move inland to honor
other Normandy heroics
Here's the thing: We've grandly remembered and honored the events of 1944
that opened the Normandy campaign - the parachutists descending on St.
Marie du Mont, the infantry landings up and down the coast - but we
invariably neglect the campaign's conclusion. Our collective memories,
the ones we hold up to a bright light and celebrate, never get off the
That's a shame, because this weekend happens to be bracketed by the
anniversaries of two remarkable clashes - one centered on an American
unit largely composed of Southerners, the other involving the Polish 1st
Armored Division - in the closing days of the Normandy fighting. They're
eminently worth commemorating.
So get out a map or, for simplicity's sake, imagine the Cotentin Peninsula
as a box with the Allies occupying a beachhead at the center of the
upper edge and the Germans holding the rest. After the landings on June
6, it stayed that way for far longer than planned.
Through June and July, the Allies repeatedly sought to break out and, at
the end of July, finally succeeded with an American thrust south along
the left edge of the box, meaning down the coast that stretches to
Avranches and the bay of Mont St. Michel.
This gave Gen. George Patton's 3rd Army the opening to clear Avranches,
turn the corner west and enter Brittany (the wisdom of which is still
debated today), but it also sent up a huge "hit me" sign to the higher
powers in Berlin.
Believing he saw an opportunity, Adolf Hitler ordered his Normandy
commander, Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge, to mount an offensive
against the exposed flanks of the American columns moving south, in the
hope of stemming Allied momentum and restoring the front in Normandy.
With depleted resources and fatigued men, Kluge doubted the strategic
wisdom of attacking. Still, on the night of Aug. 6 he dutifully sent his
armored columns - including the vicious 2nd SS Panzer Division - toward
Avranches, just 20 miles distant. One thing stood
in the way: the little town of Mortain and "Old Hickory," the American
Mortain sits below a hill where several roads intersect. The Americans
had only arrived the afternoon before the Germans attacked. Initially
stunned by the force of the German armor, the Americans remained cool
and withdrew back through the town and up the slope to the rocky high
They were soon cut off - and would remain so for five days.
The value of the American position - actually two spurs of the region's
wooded highlands, designated Hills 314 and 317 - is obvious to anyone
who visits the tiny chapel perched on the cliff of Hill 314. It affords
a stunning view of the plains below, with the road west to Avranches
pointing straight as an arrow into the distance. Hold the hill and you
hold the road.
Two regiments of the 30th Division occupied
the position, one of which - the 120th - had roots in the 1st North
Carolina Regiment that fought at Gettysburg. While meager in numbers
compared to the Germans assaulting them, the Americans had the high
ground's natural advantages and radios to call in artillery and air
Which the Americans did, often right on top of themselves. In what
amounted to a mixture of the Alamo and Bunker Hill, the GIs sheltered
themselves among the rocks, radioed the position of the closing German
units and heroically held on.
How heroic? Old Hickory lost 15 percent of its
strength. With dwindling ammunition and medical supplies and battle
conditions frequently reduced to hand-to-hand combat, it was as heroic
as it gets.
Why weren't the isolated Americans relieved sooner? Efforts were made,
but accounts of the fight suggest that the situation had its benefits.
The more frustrated the Germans became with the Americans clinging to
the ground above Mortain, the more resources were poured into the
battle, often on direct orders from Berlin.
The Germans lacked the strength to keep it up. Their offensive faltered
and the overall collapse of the German position in Normandy became
imminent. The deteriorating situation literally had German troops
turning on their heels and looking for an exit to the east.
More threatening yet, Patton had guessed the inadequacies of the German
attack and ordered American units to move south and east, below the
German assault, with the goal swinging up behind them to cut off their
line of retreat.
It would have happened, too, had not Gen. Omar Bradley refused Patton
permission to close the now renowned "Falaise Gap" (another long debated
choice) and make contact with Canadian forces moving down from the north
toward the Americans. Bradley feared the potential for casualties from
friendly forces advancing on each other.
Which brings us to the Poles. By an irony of momentous proportions, Aug.
18 found the Polish 1st Armored - a 16,000-man portion of the Polish
army in exile - occupying the space between the halted Americans and
Canadians. Positioned on a ridge near the town of Trun, the Polish
troops sat directly in front of 300,000 streaming, desperate Germans.
Relentless Allied air attacks devastated the Germans, creating a
"Corridor of Death." But for three days the Poles were alone on that
ridge, without relief, and it cost them more than 2,300 men killed,
wounded or missing.
A small museum sits there now and tells the story of the brave Polish
stand 60 years ago. A requisite Sherman tank sits outside.
On Hill 314 above Mortain, a black granite monument reads,
"30th Infantry Division. Valor. Sacrifice.
Courage. They gave their lives for freedom."
There will be anniversaries again for the "Boys of Pont du Hoc" and
accounts of the heroics on the beaches. But it's well overdue to move
inland, through the Normandy countryside, and learn what's there to
admire and honor.
(DailyPress.com, Hampton Roads, VA)
Retired Army veteran Tom Clark of Fayetteville
landed on Omaha Beach on the fourth day with members of his 30th
Infantry unit. The photo is of Clark in 1943 after he was promoted
to staff sergeant.
(Photo by Bill Yoder HenryHerald.com June 5,