March-May 2004 Newsletter
For all veterans, relatives and friends of the
89th INFANTRY DIVISION
WORLD WAR II
World War II Memorial: Washington, DC
Table of Contents: Click on the Link Below to Go To That Section:
Announcements and Editor's Notes
Letters and Exchanges
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Announcements, Editor's Notes and Website Developments
Our newsletters are increasing in volume and interest. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming and if I have omitted or slaughtered your email, please let me know so I can make any corrections/amends. We, Mark and I, plan to continue the newsletters after the Society and the TRW is disbanded, for as long as I am able. It has been satisfying and sometimes thrilling to read and facilitate the exchanges taking place. Remember, if you are doing some research, that all these newsletters are archived on our website. We are also very appreciative of the assistance given by our Organization Representatives.
It would help us very much if, when emailing us, you include the following background information if available:
1. The veterans full name and 89th unit, e.g., regiment, battalion, company.
2 Any previous exchanges with us on the subject (very important).
3. Whether the vet is still with us. If not, do you wish us to keep his name on our email list, marked "deceased", in care (c/o) of your name and email address?
4. Other relevant background.
Thank you. Co-webmasters
Our email lists are available at any time upon email request to the Editor.
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We are pleased to publicize, just below, the availability of the 353rd history, an outstanding history covering, in effect, the whole division and is must reading for 89ers, relatives, friends and scholars. Our congratulations to all involved!
Order yours soon, only a limited number have been printed!
The distributor is:
Q. P. Distribution
22260 "C" Street
Winfield, KS 67156
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Books are $25.00 each, including shipping and handling charges. You may order
books by mail using a check or credit card, but phone or email orders
will be accepted by credit card only. Be sure you include all names and
addresses where books are to be shipped. Once all the advance orders have
been filled, books should be shipped within two days of the distributor's receipt
of the order.
Reunion 2004 Update and Reminder
Full details of the reunion, costs and a sign-up form are available in the April issue of the TRW.
WHEN: Monday, 30 August through Saturday, September 4, 2004
WHERE: Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
HOTEL: Doubletree Hotel, Crystal City (Across from the Pentagon. We're
much impressed with the Hotel, plus their several fine restaurants!)
Chairman, Dick Lee
Assist. Chairman, "Chick" Cecchini
Members: Phil McAuliffe, Bill Scudder John Sherman
DATES: The Program will run from Tuesday, 31 August thru Saturday, 4 September,
2004. This could run longer if you choose to do some early
or late sightseeing, a personal touring or visiting.
FROM YOUR 2ND VICE PRESIDENT (PROGRAMS), Chick Cecchini
We meet soon for what is almost certainly our Society’s “last hurrah” assembling this coming
30 Aug (early arrivals date) thru 4 Sep 2004 in D.C. at the DOUBLE TREE CRYSTAL CITY Hotel.
This hotel is located just across the Potomac River minutes away from the Reagan National
Airport (previously called Washington National Airport). Fortunately the hotel offers
COMPLIMENTARY SHUTTLES from the airport to the hotel and vice versa. It will be a
very busy schedule of official events for those interested and some very interesting tours
for those more interested in sightseeing. We were lucky to have Dick Lee, a former
C.O. of the 3rd Infantry Regiment – the ceremonial troops stationed in our
U.S. Capitol area – whose influence gained us some very special perks. These
unusual perks have been awarded us for this reunion as “special recognition for our
service during WWII”. We’ll be visiting these special sites: WWII Memorial; Holocaust Museum; and
Arlington National Cemetery where we’ll have our Saturday Memorial
Observance in the Amphitheater of the Tomb of the Unknowns. We’ll then proceed
to gather at the Tomb of the Unknowns, where we’ll lay a wreath to the memory of all of
our departed comrades -- those killed in action, and those
Of course, we’ll have our hospitality room set-up which will be open
at posted times -- this time hopefully in a large, single and beautifully located
party room. Unfortunately, due to some logistics problems over which we have little or
no control, we will be unable to set up our usual Memorabilia Room to
see for the last time those artifacts which have brought back such great memories
of past tough times and good times.
As always, Thursday evening there will be an hour or so of a centralized
“cash bar” before the organizational dinners -- separate for each regiment and a combined
one for the rest of the division units.
Our always lively General Membership Business meeting will be held Friday a.m.
during which there will be two highly important items up for
discussion and vote. One has to do with a proposed change in the By-laws regarding
what disposal will be made of our remaining assets upon dissolution of
the Society (more complicated than would appear at first glance). The other – the most
important ever discussed at any previous meeting – addresses: Do we carry on as presently
constituted? When should we dissolve our Society? Pros and cons will be presented
and discussed as to whether or not we agree to dissolve our Society as
presently constituted following the reunion (of course allowing time to wind down
in an orderly way) or recognize some descendant society or association
proposing to follow in our foot steps. Those proposing such solutions need
come prepared to offer leadership, plans and programs, for a continuing
society or association.
Following the business meeting there will be two separate luncheons. The ladies
will be entertained by the Army Band’s talented Strolling Strings for roughly
a half hour during their light lunch service. The men, on the
other hand, will lunch separately and will be entertained by the Army Band’s “Men’s Chorus”
also for about a half hour.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll see the day by day overall schedule
of events. Some of the exact times and places in the hotel are
yet not set in concrete. The only safe thing I can say is come
early – especially if you want to visit the WWII Memorial with
the other attendees early on Wednesday, 1 Sep.
ATTENTION WIDOWS! As some of you are aware our memorial ceremony always heavily involves the
participation of widows of our deceased comrades. We already
know that some of the widows who have attended the reunions in the
past and participated in the memorial ceremonies are planning to be
with us this likely last time. If you are one of our widows who has
not ever before participated in the touching memorial ceremony and,
consequently, have not before honored your deceased husband in our beautiful
ceremony following the reading of the names of our recent dead by
laying a rose at the place of honor in his memory, we urge
you to be with us for the occasion. That rose is returned to
you as your keepsake of the occasion. Write to me soon if you
plan to come and to participate and I’ll make necessary
arrangements for your participation.
As you might expect, we’ll all be taken by bus to all scheduled official events away from
the hotel – the cost of which is covered by your registration fee. We’re planning to
have at least one bus each trip equipped to handle wheel chairs.
Remember, this may well be our last official reunion ever! Come one, come all!
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We have added a search engine to the website. This will allow our users to quickly find any mentions of the specific veteran they are looking for. The search engine can be found here: Home Page/Search Engine.>>
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Ernest St. Clair Easterly, Jr Tec 5 CIB, 353rd Inf Received from John Capdeville
Ernest St. Clair Easterly, Jr., 80, retired chairman of the board of directors of
Livingston Bank and a resident of Denham Springs, passed away Saturday, an. 31, 2004,
at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge. He is survived by his wife,
Willie Mae Facundas Easterly, two sons and daughter-in-law, Earnest III and Terry Easterly
and Nicholas St. Clair Easterly. He was a veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S.
Army with the 89th Infantry Division. He was a member of Live Oak United Methodist Church, Denham
Springs Lodge 297, F&AM, and a 32nd degree member if Baton Rouge
Scottish Rite Consistory.
Rev John B MacDonald, Chaplin, 354th Inf
Died Feb 8 at age 97. Mr. McDonald was born on May 7, 1906 in Leadville, Colorado. He
received a bachelor’s degree from Denver University, graduated from Omaha Presbyterian Seminary
and later received a master’s degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a
chaplain in the U.S. Army during World War II and then minister in the First Presbyterian
in Dallas [Oregon] for 22 years. He moved in 1996 to Forest Grove. In 1940
the married Esther B. Powers; she died in 1998. Survivors include his
daughter, Catherine Ann MacDonald; son, John D; sister, Annie Jane Clark;
and two grandchildren. He was chaplain of the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division.
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Letters and Exchanges
[If you sent a message intended for publication in our Newletters but does not appear in the next
issue, please inform me and we will check it out.]
Darrel Carnell wrote this email to Ed Quick and the webmasters
I just checked Dorigan's (First Sergeant, Battery B, 340 FA) History of
Battery B and found that he named Limbacher Hohe "Hill 501" under
date of March 20. The 353rd History refers to it as Hill 453.
I can't make out the first of the three digits marking
Limbacher Hohe on the map you sent to me, but the
second and third digits are clearly "53". Limbach is the name
of the nearby village, so Limbacher Hohe translates to Limbach Height or Limbach Hill.
I have no idea of how Dorigan came up with Hill 501, unless 453
was its height expressed in yards while 501 was the same
expressed in meters. Any ideas along these lines? From
whence did those hills get their names, anyway? Were they assigned names according to their
elevations? If so, were the elevations expressed in feet (likely), yards (less
likely) or meters (very unlikely in the days of WWII)?
Maybe if Scotty runs this in the newsletter some of the guys more
knowledgeable than we can shed some light on the question. Darrel
Ed Quick responded:
Darrel, Didn't you mention in an e-mail to me that Limbacher Hohe, which
we called Hill 501, was known by another number to the writer of the 353rd history? Was
that number 453? I ask because if you enlarge the map I sent you, what
looks like 453 is printed beside Limbacher Hohe. You remember we thought
the number was the height of the hill in meters? If
that's so, maybe 453 IS the correct designation. Where did we first
hear that the hill was called 501? Was it in Dorigan's history? Ed
From Ed Again:
Darrel, 501 yards equals 458 meters (only 1 percent off of 453) so I think
that Dorigan's map was indeed in yards and the German map in meters - and I believe
that is indeed the height of Limbacher Hohe. Different map makers or
different surveyors could readily be the reason for the five meter discrepancy. Also,
I think an artillery map would probably be in yards rather that feet, because
firing distances were always expressed in yards.
Scotty and Mark:
Leave it Engineer Ed to figure out that 501 yards is within one percent accuracy of
458 meters! Maybe between the two of us we have solved
that half century plus puzzle!
Wanted to see if you can help finding info about Edgar Bryan Fulton: From Pat (Fulton) Burger email@example.com
My Father was in the 355 th, Co. E. Was in the 3rd Army. He arrived overseas on April 13,1945. Upon reading your
combat history I found that there was listing for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalion for the
355th. How did they decide this? Did it go by company letters? See I don't know which battalion
my Dad was in and didn't know if you could help me out on this. Also on
his discharge papers listed in the campaigns fought it says campaigns 33 &
40 in Central Europe. Was this only 1 campaign or 2 ?? I have been
to other vet websites and this has them confused.
One main reason I am seeking this information is to learn about my Dad's war
years, but also my oldest sister is going to be visiting Germany later this
summer and she was really hoping to go to some of the cities where our
Dad had fought. So where were some of the cities in Germany that
the troops was stationed at? My Dad was discharged on Nov. 27,1945, so
what did he do after V-E day until then? Was he possibly stationed at Lucky Strike Camp?
See my Dad never talked about the war, or if he did I was very young at
the time and might not remember if he did. He passed away in 1987 from ALS
(Lou Gerihg's disease). So all my answers went with him. If you can help me
out with any of this, I would be so grateful. Here is my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This here email@example.com is my husband's e-mail.
Thank-You, Pat (Fulton) Burger
P.S. My Dad's name was Edgar Bryan Fulton he went by Bryan, he was from Cadiz, Ohio
Mark Kitchell responded:
I am the son of 89th veteran Raymond Kitchell and co-webmaster of our
website www.89infdivww2.org. Let me attempt to answer some of your
questions. This will also be included in our newsletter to be published later this month.
I gather that company "E" of the 353rd Regiment was in the 2nd Batallion. I
surmise this from this history of the 353 in World War ONE (http://www.kancoll.org/books/
As for your sister's trip to Germany, our website already
has MANY details on where the 89th Division was in Germany and Europe. Please
see the page about our trip to Europe (Tour of Remeberance: /society/tour.htm). Also, the
combat history has even more detail (/combat/index.htm).
As for your question about Campaign 33 and 40, I do not know the answer.
Please let me know if this answers your questions.
Info About PFC Leo H. Williams, Sr from Leo H. William Sr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello sir, I am sending this e-mail in hopes of finding information on or about my father.
He was in the 89th div. During WW2. He was in the 355th regiment of infantry. His name
is PFC Leo H. williams, Sr. He is now (deceased).
I would like to get a regimental history and provide help to anyone who may want info
about him. I am very proud of my father and even though he is gone i still
love him very much. I would appreciate any help that you can. God Bless America and
all who serve...yours....Leo h. Williams Jr.......
From Raymond Kitchell:
Dear Leo-Unfortunately, the 355th has no official history. Try the 353rd history,
advertised above which includes information on other regiments
involved. We are posting your letter in hopes other may have known your father.
My father Lowell G. Jackson, from Jim Jackson: Jim_Jackson@nps.gov
I am writing to you regarding my dad, Lowell G. Jackson of Marion Illinois. He passed away in
1992. I remember some of the stories he told me, along with places (such as
concentration camps -Ohrdruf, Zwickau - that he helped liberate).
Unfortunately, I didn't get as many details as I
should have or wrote enough of them down over the years. His military service record was
among those destroyed in a fire in St. Louis.
A friend of mine who is a WWII history buff, helped me use the stories and info I had to
trace his service time. I know he enlisted as an artillery officer originally, but then
was hurt sometime in training. After convalescing at home, he was recycled and I'm
fairly certain he ended up in the 89th, eventually as a Sergeant. A number of the
places and events that he told me about match up to the 89th history. His name
doesn't come up in the unit history book I found. His discharge papers show he
mustered out at Ft McCoy, WI after the war from the 76th. If I remember
correctly, some members of the 89th were reassigned to the 76th, for Occupation
duties following the war.
I wanted to touch base with the unit...see if there was any possibility anyone may
have known/remember him. I'll go back through the photos from training
and the war. (He is wearing the Rolling W on his uniform.)
Second, I see that your reunion is this August in Washington DC. I currently work for
the National Park Service in St. Louis, MO. Your reunion announcement does not mention a
visit to the WWII memorial in DC. This is a new memorial, and will be
dedicated the end of this month. I wanted to be sure everyone at the reunion knew about it.
Thanks for your time,
Jim Jackson., Law Enforcement Specialist, National Park Service
Ohrdruf Story, From John Overton: email@example.com
Dear Mr. Kitchell,
First, thank you for assembling a vast amount of interesting and valuable info re the 89th.
Second, I am at this moment attempting to e-mail a bit of additional history of Ohrdruf
for your use as you see fit. Third, and most importantly, I'll be beginning
my 88th year of life tomorrow! Never dreamed of reaching such antiquity. Best regards
from an old dogface. John W. Overton 1016 E. Richardson St. Farmer City, IL
61842 Ph 309-928-2923.
My connection with the 89th Division was as a member of a prisoner of war interrogation team, IPW#148,that
was attached to the 354th Regiment. The horror stories reported by members of the 89th
reinforce my memory of what I witnessed in the Ohrdruf camp. I also remember
yet another macabre story that can be added to the collection if you deem
it appropriate and useful.
After we had passed through the concentration camp we heard rumors that the
mayor of the nearby city of Ohrdruf denied knowledge of what had been
occurring in the camp. Further, we heard that when he was ordered to visit
the camp he failed to show up and when a detail was sent to
fetch him, he was found to have hanged himself at his home. In 1993, my correspondence
with the then mayor of Ohrdruf produced information that the mayor in office
in April 1945 was one Albert Schneider and his death in that month was caused by hanging.
General Lesley McNair at Camp Twenty Grand 1945, from Nacny Gates: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Mr. Kitchell:
I'm a researcher for Google Answers, a division of Google.com: http://www.answers.google.com/answers/
I'm contacting experts on, and veterans of, Camp Twenty Grand. I'm attempting to help a client who is
asking a question about the camp, and about General Lesley McNair, who was killed at
Normandy in July 1944. My client, a WW II vet, says:
"In the first part of 1945 [around February 1945] I was in a Repot Depot called Camp
Twenty Grand awaiting my unit's transfer to the front lines (We were assigned
to the 9th US Army). The troops were called to attention as we were to be
reviewed the General of the US Army Ground Forces. We were told that he was General
McNair! The name meant nothing to me at the time until he stopped in front of me
and looked me in the eye! He was a four star general (not
three stars) and he was the only officer above a bird colonel that I have
ever seen to date. So, he made a lasting impression!
"Several weeks after my encounter with the general, I read in the Stars and Stripes that the
general was killed in action. I have just finished reading Stanley P. Hirshon's “General Patton,
A Soldier's Life" and he reported the same facts that Google dug up. I
was convinced that he made a simple error in dates and rank. However, Google
confirmed his facts! I am quite certain that the general that stopped in front of me
in 1945 was identified as general McNair and that no other general by that
name was head of the US Ground Forces in WWll. Question: How could I
possibly encounter Gen. McNair almost a year after his death?"
My own research has shown that McNair's death was reported within days of its occurrence in
1944, during Operation Cobra. The client is wondering if maybe the Army had
some sort of "stand-in" they tried to pass off as General McNair for some time
after his death. I, however, am wondering if perhaps this was some sort of prank
played at Camp Twenty Grand. Could my client and his comrades have been told they were being
reviewed by "General McNair" as some sort of joke?
When I expressed this theory to my client, he responded: "It has been suggested that the
encounter at Camp Twenty Grand was an attempt at fooling new arrivals at the camp
by some sort of impersonation of Gen. McNair. Impersonating a four star general, in
time of war, is a very serious court martial offense. I very much doubt that
scenario, as the review, as I remember it, was of thousands of assembled
You can read the full question at:
I am attempting to contact anyone who was at Camp Twenty Grand in early 1945 to
see if they have any knowledge of General McNair being present. (McNair's death at Normandy in
July 1944 was widely reported; however, my client believes that a "stand-in" was used
for McNair as part of FUSAG, at least into early 1945.)
Any help from you would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to forward my e-mail
to anyone you think may be able to assist me. Thank you. Sincerely,
Nancy Lynn Gates
Google Answers Researcher
Major Elmer J. Ricker, from David J. Ricker: DRicker@bham.rr.com
My name is David Ricker and I am the grandson of then Maj. Elmer J. Ricker, 354 Inf.
Regiment. “Papa” passed away in 1988 and he did not talk about his combat experiences; I’m
sure you can understand why better than I would. I am not
looking for “war stories”. What I would like to know is what he was like to
serve with, what kind of a leader he was. Having known him as my Grandfather is
one thing, but I want to know more. After seeing the movie “Patton”, I imagined Papa
to be similar to the General, but without the General’s ferocity.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
David J. Ricker
We will place your inquiry in the March/April Newsletter on our website
and in the next issue of The Rolling W, our official magazine. Would you also
like me to put his name and unit on our 89th email listing, marked
deceased c/o grandson, using your name and email address? Hopefully, you will get some
responses. Please let me know. Best wishes,
Questions about antiaircraft units in the 89th, from Karla Iverson: Karlotta7@comcast.net
Hello, My sister and I are trying to reconstruct my father's WWII service record. We don't
have much information to go on. As I'm sure you know, enquiries to the government result
in an account of the fire losses of WWII files. However, my father
had said that he trained recruits after about the end of 1942, and was in an anti-aircraft
unit in Europe. We have a picture of him in Luxembourg. And we have
his shoulder patches, which include the rolling W patch. As he was from Nebraska,
and we also have pictures of him in Colorado, we assume that he was in the 89th
training at Fort Carson. We also have a patch of his from the 5th army - the
patch with the mosque dome in the background. Could
you please help us?
We have two main questions:
What antiaircraft units were in the 89th? And Do you have any knowledge of the 89th and
the 5th Army interacting?
If you could help us clear up these mysteries, we'd really appreciate it. Also, if you know
of any rosters where our dad might be listed, that would really help! Or
are there message boards where we can ask if anyone knew him? Well,
that last one may be hoping for too much, but I had to ask
anyway. Oh, his name was David L. Martin, and he mustered out as a
Staff Sergeant in 1945. Thank you so much for all the work you do with this.
From Mark Kitchell: From the Divisional Organization page on our website (/combat/units.htm) it
seems that the 550th AMA AW Bn (Mbl) (5 Mar 45-31 May 45) was attached to the 89th.
8th Army Airfore Replacements, from Roger Myers: email@example.com
Sir: In early November I wrote you as I was researching my father's military service
history. I noted in my email that in his personal effects I found an 89th Infantry
Division shoulder patch. I also noted that he was actually discharged as Sgt., 69th
Amphibian Tractor Bn.
I was viewing your website this evening and read with interest a personal story that
talked about the replacements from the 8th AAF. In fact, my father did serve
in the 8th AAF in an Air Service Command Depot during 1944. AND, I know that he did not
stay with the 8th AAF when it left England...he must have transferred into an
Infantry Division and eventually ended up with the 69th Amph Trctr Bn. I have discovered
also that he returned to the U.S. on December 15, 1945...nearly the same
date as the 89th ID returned.
I am wondering if he could have been one of the replacements to the 89th from
the 8th AAF? Is there any way to track that possibility? Incidentally, my father did indicate
that he had crossed the Rhine, been part of a liberating or
occupying force at an unnamed concentration camp, had escorted German POWs from
the front lines and was involved with the blowing up of a bridge
which was being guarded by a German sentry. Perhaps these are clues....
You indicated that you were waiting for a new official 89th History. Wondering if you have
any further suggestions for me? My father's name was William Myers - 36631815. Thanks
much for your help.
Hello my name is Patrick Nicely from El Paso Tx, I am looking for a
record on Thomas Clint Nicely, if you could contact me with any info I
would be much in your debt thank you CelticHorn@hotmail.com
The only name I can locate in the 89th listings is a P. R. Nicely, F Co,
355th Inf. Does that help?
Dear Mr Kitchell
It might, thank you very much for taking the time to look it up for me, I really
do appreciate it. Once again thank you very much sir
Contact from a German Girl Liberated by the 354th, from Karla Weaver: firstname.lastname@example.org
This wonderful email came from a German-American woman who was liberated by the 89th Infantry Division.
As you can see, she never forgot her contact with the Division. What follows is an exchange between her
and William Weaver. We will be putting a more detailed personal story from Karla on the website soon.
To Whom it might concern,
With an open heart and deepest thanks, I am searching for a soldier who on
May 1. 1945, gave a terrified little girl a stick of gum and a gentle
stroke on her hair, in the middle of Hohensteiner Strasse, Niederwurschnitz, Germany.
My name is Karla (then Mautzka) Weaver. I was only
8 years old, living in that small town when it was liberated by
the 354th, VIII Corps. My mother and I had been hiding in
the basement of an apartment house, one block from the center of town.
I am one of those persons, then a frightened, dirty, tear stained
child, who was given that famous first stick of gum by a young GI. It
was my first introduction to "America". That kindness, in spite of all
the fear and hate of war, compelled me when 20, to escape from
what became East Germany and later yet, to come to America. (In
1996 I obtained pictures of the apartment where mother and I hid, including the
bullet wounds in the brick structure).
I have been copied the "German" (language) civilian version from the city hall of
the events by the Waffen SS on April 23, 1944 and the American reaction to
the SS for the following week. Also I have copies of the town records of the results
and the actual taking of Neiderwurschnitz that led to my introduction to “gum”. In
addition, I have put to words what occourred as seen through
the eyes of a small girl. I would be happy to copy it all and
pass it to whom ever would appreciate it, with my thanks and fond wish that
someday, I might know who the kind
young GI was that introduced me to “America”.
Karla T. Weaver
Dear Mrs. Weaver,
Thank you for your most interesting inquiry and offer to pass along the translation (or the
original) of the events in the town of Niederwurschnitz commencing April 23, 1945 and continuing
until May 1, the day on which you received your first stick of kaugummi
or whatever it was called at the time.
I note in a document entitled Combat History of the
354th Infantry Regiment, page 25, that on April 22 or 23 the
354th Infantry "I & R" platoon (Intelligence and Reconnaissance) entered Niederwurschnitz.
The Platoon or some of its men ran into a fire fight and
eventually withdrew and regrouped. The History doesn't mention Niederwurschnitz
again that I note, but writes of activities in several of the neighboring villages.
I was at this time with Company A, 1st Battalion of the 354th Infantry and if we
were ever in Niederwurschnitz itself, I can find no reference to it in either the
Combat History or my letters home, several of which are still available from that time.
I'm sure the Webmaster of the 89th Division, of which the 354th was one
of three Infantry Regiments, would love to hear from you and publish your request
in the periodic news which he put out on the Website. His name is
Raymond Kitchell and he can be contacted at email@example.com The
Website itself is www.89infdivww2.org.
I remember the area of Germany very well, and, despite the tragedies of humans and
nations, the beauty of the countryside, attractiveness of the people and
homes and some especially welcome Spring days still
can be drawn up in my mind.
The 354th, along with the entire 89th Division of which it was a part, was pulled
back from the Zwickau, Wilkau, Planitz area about the second week of
May, since that portion of Germany was to be part of the portion
occupied by the USSR. What happened to you and your family those days and weeks of the
spring and summer of 1945?
I have never been back, although my wife and I had hoped to make a trip across
France, Luxembourg and Germany and to revisit each of the towns
and villages and some of the fields and highways which
I'd walked across so many years before. Unfortunately, an unexpected and untimely virus
laid me low last year, and it is more a hope than
a plan that I may have recovered sufficiently by next year to think
of making the trip. I will be 83 if we do it next summer, and I rather suspect
some of the auto rental companies might look askance at
my trying to rent a car to drive in a foreign country at that age, but we'll have to
see. We do have grandchildren who might be delighted to take on
the job of chauffeur.
I lived in Austria from 1945 to September 1947, and again in 1951 and 1952,
always in Oberoesterreich, in such towns as Linz (for a
couple of months in 1951, Eferding, Steyr, Kirchdorf, Windischgarsten,where I was living and working
when my teen age girl friend from our home town flew
to Europe to marry me. (We were married in Paris, for when she arrived, wives of
service men were not permitted in German or Austria. In fact it was
six months after I smuggled her in before we got her a food ration card.)
We also lived several months in Enns,
and about a year in Gmunden.
I note that you now live in Springfield, OR. Years ago, in 1976 to be more
precise, I had retired from my career as a corporate lawyer and went to Eugene
to teach corporations and securities law at the Law School there. We lived there
ten years and enjoyed Oregon thoroughly. One of our daughters graduated from the
university there in 1970, another got her law degree there in 1985, one
grandson graduated from undergraduate school there and later graduated from the
medical school (Oregon Health Sciences University) five years ago. Another lives
on Alder street now, and I have been on the phone with him several times
this afternoon. He is a computer specialist working for a company in Eugene.
Finally, one of our granddaughters attended U. of O. last year, one of my faculty
friends now is my neighbor here in the desert, and
he or we are frequently getting calls and visits from friends and
relatives in the Eugene area. Last summer my wife and I rented two cottages
at Sunriver for two weeks, and had an open house for our children and grandchildren.
We never had less than six there and in one five day spell
had 24 of our descendants, their spouses, girl or boy friends and the like. We're great
Oregon fans. We hope you like it, too.
I don't know how many pages are involved in the information you have about Niederwurschnitz
that last week of April, 1945, but if it is
not excessive, I'm sure I'd enjoy seeing it.
Sincerely, W. D. Randolph, many years ago, almost
in another life, Executive Officer, Company A, 354th
Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division U. S. Army, in Germany.
Springfield, Oregon USA
Editor: These types of exchanges are why we have this website!
Lookinf for info about Jess Nero, from Otto Nero: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Otto Nero. My father, Jess Nero, was in the 89th during WWII. He had many great stories about his experiences. Dad died Memorial Day, 2002 of cancer. In the weeks prior to his death, he transcribed some of his experiences on tape. He also left me many mementos of the war and the 89th.
I would like to contact others in your society that knew Dad, and might have some stories about him! I am in the process of scanning all of the photos he left me. I wood be most happy to send a disk to you if you desire.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Otto Nero, Houston, Texas email@example.com
I am adding your Dad's name and unit to our official email listing marked deceased c/o son Otto. Updated list is attached. We will include your request in our next Newsletter (March-April).
We welcome stories and photos , a disc would be fine, which we share with the 89th official magazine, The Rolling W. You are also invited to join our Society and attend our last reunion here in Washington, DC in late summer.
Please reply, Ray Kitchell, Co-webmaster.
More Vets of Hunter Ligget, from Patrick Zuchelli: firstname.lastname@example.org
I enjoyed reading the 89th Inf. Div. site. My father was Ed J. Zuchelli
and he was with Co. L of the 353 INF. He passed away in 1986. This site
helps keep his and all of yours memories alive. On a lighter side, Both
my brother and I have spent lots of time at Camp Roberts and Fort
Hunter Ligget. My brother through the National Guard and I was a
Patrick L. Zuchelli
A Day at the New World War II Memorial, from Mark Kitchell
My father and I had the pleasure of visiting the new WWII memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC today (May 16, 2004). It looks great and will be a wonderful destination during the reunion. Here are a few pcitures:
WHAT WE READ BACK THEN by Gerry Stearns, H Co, 354th Infantry
Of course, the most important things were letters from home and mail coming and going. There was also room for newspapers, home town or near camp, comic books, field manuals, magazines, etc. But what started me to thinking about this were a couple of different-shaped paperback books that turn up every so often when I'm looking for something else in my collection of paper-back detective and cartoon books. Printed on the front covers is a small circle are the words Armed Services Edition. For nearly 60 years I've remembered got 'em in the Army but I couldn't remember where or when. Just recently, I decided to learn more about them from just reading what was printed on the covers and mixing in facts from my usual research source, www.google.com.
To begin with, they are exceedingly GI, that is, uniform. Each in about 4 ˝ x 6 ˝ inches, with the short side at the left edge, something like a capital "L" lying on the long side. (This special design is so the books can easily be slipped into cargo pockets of fatigues or a field jacket.) My two books have green covers, with a red stripe on the bottom (long side) with either message…"This is the complete Book, Not a Digest" or "Condensed for Wartime Reading". (Other series have different covers). Each has a photograph of the paper jacket of the original civilian edition. It's an "overseas" edition published by a non-profit organization developed by the Council on Books in Wartime. The cover says, "U.S. Government Property. Not for sale". (I said GI, didn't I?) The books were not to be resold of made available to civilians. On the yellow-colored back cover of each book the original civilian publisher was named as having arranged for this special edition. So far as I could make out, the publishing industry, which probably had both ink and paper restrictions during the war and lowered sales, arraigned for the Government to publish these books free in the hope that the troops would buy the hardback copies when they came home. Cases of books were sent to chaplains to be distributed to troops overseas or on warships at sea. It was expected that each reader would hand the book on when he'd finished and that eventually the books would be discarded alas unreadable. I still have these two because I never quite finished them. They were non-fiction, on matters I was interested in but very heavy going.
The 123 million copies of these Armed Services Editions were the largest free distribution of fiction and non-fiction in world history. Over 1300 titles were published including mysteries, biographies crime stories adventure novels and "classic works of literature". Inside each back cover of my copies are 39 numbered titles, a number of which I bought second hand in hardback or non-ASE paperback years later. I was particularly disappointed to discover #719, "The Sad Sack" by one of my favorite cartoonists, Yank Magazine's Sgt. George Baker. Now I have to go look for a copy. Don't know if I would be able to afford one. Collectors, you know.
The ASE's (my version, less typing) were published from mid-1943 to some time in 11947. Naturally, 56 years later, there would be a lot of collectors and collections of these cheap editions which might easily have been thrown away, or just disintegrated. (My copies, while still readable …I mean you can read the words even if boring, have browned pages just this side of brittle.) Ten or twelve state universities have Rare Book or Special Collections of ASEs, one of which is really interesting. The University of Texas collection, "1324" out of original "1322 titles" looks like another bad joke about Texas exaggeration until you read another article which says there was a total of 11324 titles. So much for Texas jokes.
Back in November 2002, three American publishers brought out four different titles in the old ASE format, for distribution free to American servicemen stationed on land outside the US and on US warships…"War Letters, Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars", Shakespeare's play "Henry the Fifth", "The Art of War" by the classic Chinese author, Sun Tzu, aaand "Medal of Honor, Profiles of American Heroes." More than 1000 copies were in the pipeline, all of which were paid for by private donations, not as during World War II by the government.
The founder and coordinator of this project was Andrew Carroll, who was the collector and Editor OF "War Letters". Seems he ran into a copy of an ASE in a used book store and decided it was a grand idea to revive the program. (His hardback edition of over 200 letters home from GIs serving in conflicts back to the Civil War was on the New York Times bestseller list for some time. I remember that late last year there was an hour long show on public TV revolving around some of these letters.
Carroll is also the honcho of "The Legacy Project" involved in the collection, publication and distribution of previously unpublished war letters. I understand that in talking with the VFW last year, he received their commitment to underwrite the publication and distribution 2.5 million copies of the original ASE War Letters to veterans, active service members, and VFW friends.
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