THOSE WHO SERVED

 

The following veterans were interviewed and/or researched by 10th-grade students in Mike Gilbert’s 20th Century Global Studies classes at Fremont Ross High School, Fremont, Ohio.  The selections shown here are samplings from the projects of 2005 and 2007.  No efforts in editing have been made.  The projects include factual data and memories from each veteran.  Images that were included with the projects are not available online at this time.  Veterans interviewed for these projects served in the armed forces between 1939 and the present day (2007).  Additional student projects from 2005, 2006, and 2007 are located at the Hayes Presidential Center and can be viewed there.

 

 

BRADLEY JAMES ARNOLD, Operation Enduring Freedom

SUMMER MARTI-KINI ARNOLD, Operation Enduring Freedom

ROY BIGGS, 1950-1952

LLOYD L. BISCHOFF, Korean Conflict    

DOUGLAS A. BOYTIM, Operation Enduring Freedom

WILLIAM W. BREHM, World War II

HENRY EDWARD BREYMAN, Korean Conflict

LEROY E. CLAYTON, World War II

ALEXANDER SCOTT COOK, Operation Enduring Freedom

RANDY LEE COOK, 1978-1982

CARL COOLEY, World War II

GLENN ALLEN COONROD, World War II

JOHN H. COX, Vietnam War

PETE DAYRINGER, World War II

EUGENE DIERKSHEIDE, 1958-1961

ROBERT DOLWECK, 1974-1978

CASIMIR DOROBEK, World War II

HENRY R. DOROBEK, World War II

MARLENE DOWNS, Operation Desert Storm

JOSE FLORES, World War II

ROMEO GALAMGAM, Operation Enduring Freedom

JOHN M. GORDON, World War II

ROBERT H. GUTHRIE, 1954-1962

JOHN HACKENBURG, World War II

ROBERT F. HALL, World War II

JOE HALM, World War II

ROBERT DECK HENSLEY, Korean Conflict

RICHARD HESLET, Korean Conflict

MARVIN HINES, 1960-1968 (including Vietnam War)

CHARLES HULL, World War II

TIMOTHY L. HULL

HERBERT KING, World War II

HERBERT J. KISER, World War II

BOB LAMB, Vietnam War

JOHN LIMESTAHL, World War II

ART LUNDGARD, World War II

GLENN MADDY, World War II

CHARLES H. MEEK, Korean Conflict

EMERSON B. MESSINGER, Korean Conflict

JAMES WALTER O’BRIEN, World War II

PATRICK W. O’BRIEN, JR., World War II

RALPH WILBER O’BRIEN, World War II

CHARLES W. PORTER, World War II

TOM REED, 1980-1983

JOE REYES, 1982-2005 (including Operation Enduring Freedom)

ROSS RODRIGUEZ, Operation Desert Storm

JOHN ROUSH, Vietnam War

MAYNARD G. SANDERS, World War II

ARTHUR SHILEY, Vietnam War

GERARD W. SMITH, World War II

JAMES R. SPIELDENNER, Korean Conflict

JAMES F. SPRIGGS, Korean Conflict

TIMOTHY STEAGER, Korean Conflict

KATHY STIERWALT, 1995-Present (2007)

CARL E. STOUT, World War II

RICHARD THORBAHN, World War II

KYLE TIMMONS, Iraq War

RAY TOEPPE, Korean Conflict

WAYNE S. TRICK, Post World War II

CHARLES WAGNER, World War II

JOHN C. WEAVER, World War II

HAROLD J. WHITCOMB, 1940-1949 (including World War II)

JOHN A. WHITE, World War II

MILLARD “MERNIE” WHITE, World War II

THOMAS E. WHITE, World War II

JAMES E. WILDMAN, Defense Industry 1961-2007

STEVEN R. WILDMAN, Operation Desert Storm

EDWARD BERNARD WILHELM, Korean Conflict

THOMAS JOSEPH WILHELM, Vietnam War

MARY ELLEN MELLICH WONDERLY, World War II, Elkton Triumph Explosives

ROBERT WONDERLY, World War II

RONALD EUGENE YOUNG, Vietnam War

ELLSWORTH NORMAN ZERBE, Korean Conflict

 

 

 

Bradley James Arnold
by Erica Arnold, 2007

 

Operation Enduring Freedom, Senior Airman, U.S. Air Force

 

Bradley’s Life

 

            My brother, Bradley, was born on September 2, 1985, in Tiffin, Ohio. He was born to Nancy (Long) and Brad Arnold. The following year he had to share his parents with a baby sister, Courtney. When he was four they all moved to Virginia Beach because his father returned to the Navy. About two years later he had another baby sister, Erica (me). That same year he started school and since then he has went to school in Virginia Beach, Bloomville, Mississippi, and then finished off in Tiffin. As a little boy, Bradley loved to camp and be outdoors with Mother Nature. His parents divorced when he was about eight and then moved to Mississippi with his father and his sister Courtney. When they moved back to Ohio, his fathered remarried to his current wife, Denise and Bradley inherited, along with a step-mom, two new brothers and two new sisters. In 2003, Bradley decided to join the Air Force and as he graduated he was off to Texas.

            In Texas, Bradley started tech school (boot camp). During that same year he turned 18 too. After his schooling was over he was sent to Spokane, Washington (Fairchild AFB). While stationed there, he was shipped to Florida for some more training. When he came back, he had his first desert training from December of 2004 through May of 2005. About the summer of 2005, Bradley was then shipped to Guam, where he currently is.

            While his time in Guam, he met a girl named Summer. They were married in August of 2006. They are both stationed there until February of 2008.

 

Interview With Bradley

 

Arnold- What type of military services are you in and how long have you been in it?

 

Bradley- I joined the Air Force right out of high school back in 2003, so almost four years now.

 

Arnold- Where are you currently located?

 

Bradley- Currently I am located in Guam with my wife Summer.

 

Arnold- Have you spent most of the four years over seas?

 

Bradley- No, I spent two years stationed in Washington the state and   a year in Texas.

 

Arnold- Do you know any places that you will go in the future?

 

Bradley- Yes, within a few weeks I will be leaving for Qatar and I do not know how long I will be there for. Other than that I don’t know.

 

Arnold- How long will you be in Guam?

 

Bradley- My wife and I are stationed here until February of 08 and then we are to be moved somewhere new. We are hoping to be stationed somewhere in states so we can be closer to the family.

 

Arnold- What is your job?

 

Bradley- My job is called a Civil Engineer and my specialty is Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

 

Arnold- What types of weapons and or tools do you get to use?

 

Bradley- I have two different guns, the M16 and the M9.

 

Bradley’s Job

 

            Bradley is a Civil Engineer. His profession is in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. His main job is to build a base, then defend that base, and then tear it down when they leave. Their main purpose is to keep the runway clear and useable when they are under attack. While under attack he has to keep the planes up in the sky at all cost and keep the bombs on the target. But when he is in normal operations, he has to take care of all the AC in tent city, chow hall, and the morgue. His job also calls for tent build up and tent tear down and to support the security police.

 
Summer Marti-Kini Arnold
by Erica Arnold, 2007

 

Operation Enduring Freedom, Senior Airman, U.S. Air Force

 

Summer’s Personal Life

 

            Summer was born on August 10, 1981, in Grants Pass, Oregon. Her mother is Hawaiian and her father is from Spain. When she was about nine months old, her family moved back to Hawaii and grew up on a small island called Kauai. Summer has five sisters (two older and three younger) and one older brother. Around the end of 1986, she moved again to a town called Anahola. She attended boarding school in Oahu from 1991 to 1997. There she lived in the dorms and only went home for vacations and holidays. Summer graduated at the age of 16 in 1997; and then headed to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

            She studied abroad in Toledo, Spain from January to April in 2000. She then graduated from college in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature. Between the years of 2001 and 2004, Summer lived in Colorado Springs, Houston, and Kauia. Then in 2004 Summer signed up for the Air Force.

            Summer went into the Force as “Open General”, which means that she didn’t know the career she wanted. She was placed as a dental assistant and now she really enjoys it. While living in the Saipan Hall on Anderson AFB, she met my brother, Bradley. They were married on August 4, 2006.

 

Interview with Summer

 

Arnold- What type of military service are you in and how long have you been in it?

 

Summer- I am in the Air Force and have been in here since August 04.

 

Arnold- Where are you currently located?

 

Summer- Currently I am located in Guam with your brother until February 2008.

 

Arnold- Have you spent the whole three years there in Guam?

 

Summer- No I have only been here since January 2005. Before here I was at Lackland AFB and Sheppard AFB

 

Arnold- How long will you be in Guam?

 

Summer- I will live here until February 2008 and then we are moved to new place. Hopefully instate, that way I get to meet you guys.

 

Arnold- Are you from around here?

 

Summer- No I am from Hawaii.

 

Arnold- What is your job?

 

Summer- My job is a Dental Assist but I help out in other places too.

 

Summer’s Job

 

Summer’s job as a Dental Assistant is to help keep service members ready to different parts of the world. They have to make sure that all members go through an annual exam and cleaning. If the patients are not up to the standards, they are put into Class 3. Class 3 means that they are not able to deploy until that condition is taken care of.

Summer does the cleaning and also assist a dentist in procedures like fillings, crown preparations, root canals, and wisdom teeth extractions. She is also in charge of maintaining the oral surgery room at her clinic. In order to be a Dental Assistant, Summer has to be able to perform tasks like taking and developing x-rays, taking impressions, making molds, set-up and break-down on the procedures, stock supplies, give fluoride treatments, instrument sterilization for the entire medical group, and various administrative duties.  Summer gives oral hygiene briefings at the First Term Airmen’s Center and maintains the crash cart for medical procedures. She also has to keep the monitor for their biopsy/consult program ready for any patients that may have high blood pressure, heart murmur or lumps/bumps/sores in the mouth that may be cancerous.

For the medical group, she is assigned to the Decontamination team (picture in newspaper). In case of an emergency situation, she would have to set up an emplace decontamination system outside of the medical facility to sanitize contaminated patients before they enter the building. The Wear chem. Suits, boots, gloves, and a breathing apparatus that has a filter, that way they don’t breath in the bad stuff.

Through out the base, she is assigned to the Search and Recovery team. This team is only activated if they have to go out and recover items. The items could be anywhere from recovering body parts to mechanical parts. Usually they are only activated if there is a plane crash or some other casualty. They form a chain of people all across the area. Each item they recover is bagged, tagged, and then photographed.

 

Roy Biggs
by Trevor Langel, 2007
 

1950-1952, Corporal, U.S. Army

 

Interview

 

Q.  What division did you sign up for?

A.  I didn’t sign up I was drafted into the army.

Q. what was your job?

A.  I was a radioman, I spoke in Morse code

Q. what rank were you?

A.  I got an honorable discharge as an active corporal.

Q. what war were you in?

A.  The Korean War.

Q. what area were you stationed?

A. I was stationed at Strobin Germany.

Q. how long was you in the service?

A. Two years.

Q. What’s your most remembered memory?

A. Driving through towns and their houses made out of stone or brick only for defense.

Q. What was it like returning from war?

A. it wasn’t anything different people treated me the same and went our separate ways.

Q. Where you trained?

A. Camp Kilroy New Jersey.

 

Job Description

           

Roy Biggs job was to be the radioman.  He had to listen to certain frequencies all day a listen to translate them.  He was a Morse code talker.  His job was to send messages to our team and try to intercept messages that were being sent from one enemy base to another enemy base.

            Some of the comrades that he was stationed with had the job to try to defend the Czech republics border, and stop enemies from crossing over into Germany.

 

Personal story

 

As a child growing up he lived a pretty normal life.  His favorite thing to do was to go fishing.  When he was nineteen years old he was drafted into the army.  “I chose to be drafted rather then volunteer because if you volunteered then you would have to stay for four years, but if you were drafted you would only have to stay for two years.”  He was trained in Camp Killroy New Jersey.  He went through three months of training there and then was shipped out.  “I’m one of the lucky ones.  Because 90% of the people who I trained with were being shipped to Korea to do war, while 10% of us was being shipped over to Germany and guard the border of the Czech Republic.  I was one of those 10% that was shipped to Germany and hardly had to do any battles.”

            Roy Biggs did have a very important job though.  Just because he didn’t do as much shooting as everyone else did, he had the job to make sure that everyone who was shooting was in a safer area and would remain alive.  He had to radio with Morse code to tell where the enemy was where they were attacking from, and if our men were in a safe position where they wouldn’t be killed or ambushed.

            “I remember going through the towns on the way to my station, passing broken down houses with some families stranded.  I remember Germany in the rebuilding process still from WWII.  I remember the marble houses that were made sturdy to try to protect families from bombs being dropped, kids dying from starvation, and many memories that you couldn’t imagine.”

          Some of the people would pick up bricks from their old houses that had fallen and the bricks that were still good they would clean off and reuse them. 

            When Roy was stationed at Strobin Germany he meant a girl there who he ended up marrying.

            After Roy was released he returned home with his wife and just started living life like it was usual.

 

Lloyd L. Bischoff

by Andrew Aseltine, 2005

 

Korean Conflict, Corporal, U.S. Army

 

LLOYD L. BISCHOFF’S STORY

 

Lloyd L. Bischoff was born on August 11, 1929.  He grew up in the Fremont, Ohio area.  He attended school in Fremont.  When he was just 21 years old, he was drafted into the United States army.  Lloyd attended basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

            After basic training was completed, he headed off into the service.  He left for Korea in January 1951.  He arrived first in Japan to get his orders.  Lloyd ended up getting to be with a group of men who used an 81-millimeter mortar in the “H” Company of the first Cavalry Division.  They landed at Pohandong for Japan and moved up north towards the 38th parallel.  While there, they engaged in battle with the enemy on a daily basis.  Normally lining up behind hills for protection and shot over them to destroy enemy targets.  His particular job on his 81-millimeter mortar was to use the site to line up the flight of the round.

            Lloyd spent 7 months in Korea fighting against the North Koreans.  After those seven months, he returned to Japan where he worked as a mail clerk.  For this he delivered mail to different troops in his company.  Eventually he was relieved of his duty in December 1952.  During his time in service, he rose to the rank of corporal.  Afterwards he returned to Fremont where he has lived since.

 
Douglas A. Boytim

by Zach Kiser, 2007

 

Operation Enduring Freedom, 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Air Force

 

Military Service

 

            Douglas A. Boytim attended Bowling Green State University and served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for the United States Air Force.  He went for four years but the ROTC program gave him a scholarship for two.  At Bowling Green, Doug was on the drill team and held various duties on the team.  He was commissioned on August 5, 2005 into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida from September of 2005 to November of 2006.  His squadron was the 325th Air Control Squadron (ACS). 

            At Tyndall Air Force Base, he participated in Air Battle Manager Tech School.  For that particular job, he is in the airplane in battle, manages certain things inside, and maintains controls for specific missions.  Doug also participated in Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape (SERE) School, which consisted of being tracked by enemies and knowing how to escape and survive the situation.

            Training for Non-Parachuting Water Survival was held at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.  Doug said that was extremely fun but didn’t say much else about it.  He stated that they would jump out of helicopters into water to get to land or make a rescue and learn to survive the jump.

            Doug then went to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the end of November 2006.  There he continued training to be an Air Weapons Officer on board the E-3 for Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).  The E-3 is a bomber plane but bigger so more men can be inside so it’s more of a tracking plane.  Doug said for the AWACS they give information to ground troops and warn them of any upcoming situation. 

            Doug was shipped over to Iraq on March 20, 2007 and is still serving over there.  I was able to receive this information beforehand, knowing he was bound to go soon.  Since he went over, he sent a few letters to his father in Columbus, Ohio, so I was also able to collect some information from those.

            I failed to obtain information on his exact location, but received a lot on his duties, squadron, and current situation.  He is projected to be back to the U. S. in the next few months and we all hope so.      

 

Job Description

 

            As in training and in service, Doug’s main duty is on the plane he is assigned to and direct troops on the ground.  He uses computers, satellites, and ground men as sources to know what to transmit to others.  He is trained and could if needed, to deploy to the ground level and participate in rescue missions.  Most of his duties I am told are in the aircraft directing ground forces and leading them to where they need to go.  Doug also said that he is disappointed that he doesn’t get to fly the plane.

 

Personal Information

 

            Douglas A. Boytim was born on June 22, 1983 to Tom and Terry Boytim of Powell, Ohio in the Columbus vicinity.  He has two brothers, David and Derek, both younger than him.  He attended Olentangy High School where he played football and baseball, and was an avid golfer.  He graduated in June of 2001 from high school.  At Bowling Green State University, Doug was a part of the ROTC program where he met his future wife Heather Auxter, who lived in Port Clinton.

            Doug graduated from BGSU with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Criminal Justice in August of 2005.  During those years, he participated in an internship with the Delaware Police Department.

            From May of 1998 to August of 2005, Doug worked long hours at Donatos Pizza in Dublin, Ohio.  He also served at the Children’s Resource Center in Bowling Green, Ohio during college from January 2004 to June 2005.

            Hobbies that Doug enjoys are jetskiing, shooting certain weapons, hunting, fishing, most sports, and off-roading in his jeep or in his truck.  Usually he does most of those things with me, but it has been a while.

 
William W. Brehm

   by Rebekah Hubbs, 2007

 

1935-1963, World War II, Captain, U.S. Navy

 

Picture: William Brehm 1

This photo was taken on February 28, 1952.  “Real Admiral Tom B. Hill, Chief of Staff to the Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet, awards Distinguished flying cross to Commander William W. Brehm, 301 Fourth St., NHA, Honolulu, in ceremonies at Pearl Harbor this Morning.  Distinguished Flying Cross was one of three awards presented by Real Admiral Hill to the Honolulu Pilot today.”

 

Picture: William Brehm 2

This picture was taken of William just after he was awarded the Cross.

 

Interview with William W. Brehm

 

Q: How old were you when you signed up to go into the military? A: I was 18 when I went to the naval academy.

 

Q: Why did you go into the service?

A: I went into the military because of the Depression; my father could no longer afford my college tuition at Kenyon College.

 

Q: How many years did you serve? A: I served from 1935-1963.

 

Q: Where did you go for basic training/ boot camp?

A: I went to the naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The academy is close to Baltimore.

 

Q: What did you do while at boot camp?

A: I didn't go to boot camp; I went to the naval academy. It is specialized technical school for young men who wanted to become naval officers. At the school I had to take many classes on mathematics, science, and many classes on naval history.

 

Q: What was your first duty station?

A: I was sent to sea on the cruiser Nashville for three years.

 

Q: What did you do there?

A: I had a different duty each year I was there. The first year I was assigned to the gunnery division. Under my supervision I had four, five inch anti-aircraft guns. My second year I was assigned as assistant navigator to the captain of the ship. I made sure that the ship stayed on course. The last year I was there I was assigned as engineer supervisor in the fire/engine rooms. During this time, while on the Nashville, the ship escorted the Jimmy Do little to Tokyo for raids. After leaving the Nashville I went to flight training school in San Francisco, then to Penniscola, Florida where I got my pilots license. After getting my license I went to New Orleans for more training and I married my late wife Alice Spriggs. After all of my training I went to Jacksonville, Florida for my first solo flight in a one person yellow biplane.

 

Q: What conflicts did you serve in?

A:       I was in World War II. One of the battles I was in was when a group of

Japanese picket boats started firing on the Nashville. During the firing the Captain of the Nashville told everyone on board to go to their General Quarters (battle stations). The battle resulted in the sinking of three Pickett boats and the capture of many Japanese prisoners of War. This was all during the conflicts that were going on in Tokyo.

 

Q: What were your locations while in service?

A: I was in so many places I don't know if I can remember all of them. I was in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, I was in Paris, France, Germany, and in Verona, Italy for two years. I was in Hawaii and Pearl Harbor for a year and a half. I was also in Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Spain, North Africa, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Greece, and many places in the United States.

 

Q: What was the best part of being in the service?

A: Meeting and marrying my wife Alice, all of the traveling all over the world, and I remember talking in high school to my friends about how I wanted to be in a plane, over the Mediterranean and having Greece on one side of me when I looked down, then have Africa on the other side of me. I actually got to do it, it was really fun.

 

Q: Did you make any friends while in the service?

A: Oh yes, I had a lot of friends; I think my best friend was my roommate at the naval academy. His name was Don Furlong, I think he might live up in Michigan or I don't know, he might be dead now it was such a long time ago.

 

Q: What was the worst thing about serving?

A: There wasn't anything really bad, I didn't get hurt and I saw the world, what's not to love.

 

Q: What was the worst thing you encountered?

A: The combat of course, the close air support and getting shot at and being in a propeller plane that I would have to spray the enemy with I don't know what. I remember a time when I was up in the air and came back to ship and then when I got out of the plane I looked at the one wing and there were seven holes in it. And because I was the only person on board who was able to fly two types of planes I was in a lot of little battles, but luckily I was never hurt.

 

Q: What was the hardest thing you had to do?

A: The hardest things were the situations where I got into trouble, if I was getting shot at or ground fire, just knowing that every time I went out could be my last time, it was scary.

 

Q: What equipment did you get to use?

A: I got to fly planes, fighter jets, bombers, I got to fly the "good stuff'. I got to fly Corsairs, which is a bent wing fighter, one of the better planes I got to fly. I got to fly a British fighter, the Spit Fire. I also got to fly F4F, F6F, F8F, F9F, F4U, AD and TBM bombers, and SBD which was a famous airplane that wasn't fast but was an air bomber that could drop 500 to 5000 pound bombs in 20 minutes. By myself I destroyed three of the biggest Japanese carriers at the battle of Midway, June 1942.

 

Q: What was your highest rank and highest honor (award)?

A: My highest honor was that, I was awarded three distinguished flying crosses. Charles Lindbergh was the first to receive it and President Coolidge presented it to him. My highest rank was Captain, next was Real Admiral. I commanded ships, and air groups. My last job was in Italy, I was a representative at Land for South meeting in Naples. I represented the Admiral for the cruiser in the Mediterranean.

 

Q: What did you do when you got out of the service?

A: I looked for a job, came back to Fremont because Alice's mom was sick. I worked for Kessler and Moore. Then moved to Grand Island and worked for Moore business forms.

 

Q: Would you do it all over again?

A: Of course I would if I got the opportunity. I would probably branch out a little bit and get more certifications or something.

 

Personal Story of William W. Brehm

           

            While I was interviewing my uncle, he mentioned one memory that stuck out in his mind.  He told me that while he was in Tech. School for basic training he was talking to a few friends.  He had mentioned his dream of one day being in a plane over the Mediterranean Sea and being able to look out one side of the plane and seeing Greece. The next statement he made was that he wanted to look out of the other side and be able to see Africa.  William told me that while his years in the service he was able to do this a time or two. He also told me that it was amazing to actually have something he dreamt about come true.  William said that because of this, being able to look outside of his plane and be directly over Greece and Africa at the same time, will be one thing that will be very special to him and something that he will never be able to forget. 

 

Henry Edward Breyman

by Marc Breyman, 2005

 

Korean Conflict, Seaman 1st Class

 

HENRY EDWARD BREYMAN’S STORY

 

My grandfather, Henry Edward Breyman, was born on April 13, 1930 to Henry and Alma Breyman.  He was born in Fostoria, Ohio.  He was the only boy in a family of three; he was very close to his older sister Phyllis.  At the age of 14, Henry had what was called a restricted driver’s license, which allowed him to drive to and from school.  Henry graduated high school at age 17.  Many of his friends had decided to go into the service at this time.  He did not want to get drafted into the Army so he enrolled in the United States Navy.  My grandpa said that around 85% of the people in his graduating class went into the service.  Something interesting is that his sister Phyllis secretly got him a fake birth certificate so he could go into the Navy.  Henry started training in 1948 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.  Henry was a Seaman 1st Class.  After training he was stationed on the east coast in New London, Connecticut.  Henry's job was a sonar technician on a submarine.  He was in the Navy from 1948-1955; Henry was active until 1951, then served on reserve duty until 1955.  During his active service in the Korean War, he was stationed in the Mediterranean Sea.  My grandfather told me of the times he was in the Bermuda Triangle.  He said that they spent a lot of time experimenting there.  "It was a fantastic time," he told me.  Henry told me that he seriously believes in the Bermuda Triangle because of the strange things that happened.  One story was about some of their experimenting: there would be a ship on the surface and they would send the submarine down, and after going down they would soon lose communication and sonar to the ship.  He also shared stories of the off time they had where they went swimming in the ocean.  One time, a dolphin for 20-30 feet through the water pushed Henry.  Henry married my grandmother Betty Ann Karshuk on May 3, 1952.  They lived together here in Fremont.  They had two children: the first, my father Mark, and the second, Lisa.  They moved to Fangboner Road in Fremont when Mark was in the seventh grade.  This is where they currently reside.  Henry is a member of the Moose Lodge in Fremont, the American Legion, and the Eagles.

 

Leroy E. Clayton

2005

 

World War II, Master Sergeant, U.S. Army

 

ROY E. CLAYTON’S STORY

 

Mr. Leroy E. Clayton was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on December 26, 1917, to Charles and Elin (Christiansen) Clayton.  Mr. Clayton graduated from Ross High School in 1936 and attended Ohio University.  In 1948 he married Eileen Edwards. They had a daughter, Sara, and a son, Drew.  Their grandchildren include Heidi, Polly, Seth, Drew, and Libby and great-granddaughter Sara.  He served from 1942 to 1946 in the U.S. Army during World War II, which included working with the Counter Intelligence Corps.  During his time with the Counter Intelligence Corps, he looked for spies and security problems and was a part-time investigator with the organization.  While a master sergeant, his family thinks he was part of the Signal Corps.  He was not involved in any of the battles, but remained in the states.  While he was in the amphibious brigade, he was part of the Headquarters Company and worked for the brigade intelligence officer.  His duty consisted of writing reports, interviewing former POWs, and investigative assignments. At one time, he worked undercover at a shipyard in Mississippi.  War information according to Mr. Clayton’s son, Drew: Amphibious brigade was formed and trained to help with an invasion of northern Europe.  When that invasion was cancelled in favor of one in France (D-Day), the brigade was sent from Massachusetts to Florida and given minor duties along the coast.  He often went fishing in a swamp beside the base in Florida.  Because of that, he was sometimes sent into the swamp to look for people who were lost or for planes that had crashed.  Picture shows him in or near the swamp with an American Indian named Patrick Littleboy.  Patrick would go ahead of him into the swamp and shoot snakes.  It was in Florida that he became a part-time investigator with the Counter Intelligence Corps.  He was assigned to help a full-time investigator from Atlanta whenever that man came to Florida.  They traveled to various military bases, as well as to civilian hospitals and jails.

 

Chronology

 

1941: Drafted (before Pearl Harbor)

1942: Inducted into Army

1942: Basic training, Camp Polk, Louisiana

1942: Armored training in California

1943-1944: Transferred to amphibious brigade in Camp Edwards, Massachusetts

1944-1946: Amphibious brigade was transferred to Camp Gordon-Johnson, Florida.

1946: Discharged

Somewhere along the line, had intelligence and security training in Maryland and Texas.

            Mr. Clayton retired from the cost accounting department of the Clyde Whirlpool Division and was a life member of the Outdoor Writers of America.  For many years, he wrote a monthly fly-fishing column for the Outdoor Beacon.  Also, he was involved in Boy Scouts at both troop and district levels.  In his later years, he was a docent at the Hayes Presidential Center.  Some organizations he belonged to included: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brainard Masonic Lodge, The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Zenobia Shrine Temple, the Fremont Shriner’s Club, and the Fremont Elks.

            Mr. Clayton died on Sunday, June 29, 2003, at his home (826 Barker Road) due to a heart attack.

 

Obituary

 

The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, July 1, 2003

 

Dec. 26, 1917 – June 29, 2003

 

LeRoy E. “Roy” Clayton, 826 Barker Road, died Sunday evening in the emergency room at Memorial Hospital at the age of 85.  He was born in Worcester, Mass., to the now deceased Charles and Elin (Christiansen) Clayton.  In 1948, he married Eileen Edwards at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here in Fremont, and she survives, along with daughter Sara (Robert0 Meyers of New Albany; son Drew Clayton at home; grandchildren Heidi (Ted) Waugh, Polly Meyers, Seth Meyers, and Libby Meyers; and great-granddaughter Sara Waugh.  Mr. Clayton was a 1936 graduate of Ross High School and attended Ohio University.  He was a master sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II, serving from 1942 to 1946, including duty in the Counter Intelligence Corps.  He retired from the cost accounting department of the Clyde Whirlpool Division.  A life member of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio, he wrote a monthly fly-fishing column for the Outdoor Beacon for many years.  He had also been involved in the Boy Scouts at both the troop and district levels.  In recent years, he had been a docent at the Hayes Presidential Center.  He belonged to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brainard Masonic Lodge, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Zenobia Shrine Temple, the Fremont Shriner’s Club, and the Fremont Elks.  Visitation: None.  Memorial Service: 11 a.m. July 12, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  Memorials: to the church or Shriners’s Hospital.  Arrangements: Keller-Ochs-Koch Funeral Home.  Online condolences: kellerkoch@ezworks.net.

 

 
Alexander Scott Cook

by Ashley Cook, 2007

 

Operation Enduring Freedom, Sergeant,U.S. Army

 

Personal Information

 

            Alexander Scott Cook is a Sergeant in the US Army and has been in the service for about 3 years and has served in Iraq for 2 of those years. Alex was born August 5, 1984 and is a 2002 graduate from Twinsburg High School in Twinsburg Ohio. He is 22 years old.  Alex  is a soldier from the Army’s 82nd Airborne and was based in Fort Bragg, N.C.

            Alex received his 1st injury on March 24, 2007 while attempting to blow a door off its hinges to get in the building but not being aware that another bomb was set from the inside. Alex was injured in the leg by shrapnel and also was shot in his hip.  Another soldier was injured badly in the head and wouldn’t be returning to the Army, but after some healing Alex would be. He took 2 weeks off and was sent back to Iraq again.  He also earned a purple heart while in the hospital.

            Alex has had many encounters with civilians in Iraq. He is ordered to stay away from them, especially children. He included that the children are friendly but he also has to be careful. He said that its scary to think that a little child would try to kill a soldier. Alex also stated that he isn’t sure if we should be in Iraq. He knows that he wants to go home soon, which should be around December 2007, but doesn’t have an opinion on the war just hopes of it ending.

 

Job Description

 

            A Sergeant in the Army usually plans special operations communications and employs conventional and unconventional warfare tactics and techniques in communications. Proficient in and the instruction of the installation, operation and employment of FM, AM, VHF, UHF, and SHF radio systems to send and receive radio messages in voice, waves, and codes. They are responsible for the establishment and maintenance of tactical and operational communications and communication equipment. They plan, prepare and assist in targets in an area.

 
Randy Lee Cook
by Ashley Cook, 2007

 

1978-1982, Sergeant, U.S. Marines

 

Personal Information

 

            Randy Lee Cook is a veteran of the Marines. He was trained in Camp Lejuene, NC. He was a Sergeant in the Marines between the years of 1978-82. He traveled around the world to foreign countries such as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Iraq and Iran. He was mainly in Iran during the Iran Hostage Crisis. He was there when they took hostages in and when they were let free. Randy often used weapons such as an m16 or a 45 pistol. He was never injured therefore had not received a purple heart.    

 

Job Description

 

            A Marine Sergeant assists the commander as senior enlisted in the unit. They are required to keep track of all policies of the commander. As a sergeant they report to the commander on the status of matters dealing with the operation of the command and also interview and counsel enlisted personnel on professional and personal matters which may affect the efficiency of the command. They also assist the commander in the conduct of office hours and participate in ceremonies, gatherings and briefings, and also assumes other duties designated by the commander.

 

Carl Cooley

2005

 

World War II, Private First Class, U.S. Army

 

CARL COOLEY’S STORY

 

When World War II rolled around it was typical for the young men to go off to war.  Carl Cooley was one of many young American soldiers who went overseas to take part in World War II.  He is also one of the few who survived the war and came home to tell his story.  Carl Cooley's life story started on January 7, 1925, however, my story begins the day he became a U.S. soldier.  When Carl enlisted at the age of 19 he was inducted into the B-12 programs or Army Infantry at the University of Connecticut.  Carl would, however, become a Yankee and part of the 26th Infantry.  When he was shipped overseas his division joined up with General Patton's 3rd armored division, 4th armored division.  The first night, after joining up with Patton, they were attacked and Carl's skills were tested to the max.  Carl could remember the first time he took part in battle as if it were yesterday.  After being attacked, his division followed a tank battalion to seek out the Germans.  He could recall being out in front and on the lookout for Germans.  The battalion had turned down an alley and as he peeked around the corner of a building he was fired at.  Carl can remember vividly being knocked to the ground as the bullet breezed in between his helmet and the brick building next to him and knocked him down to the ground.  As he told this story he made it clear that the events that took place that day were very memorable.  The next action he saw was once again in pursuit of Germans.  As his division moved forward the Germans continued to make attempts to push the U.S. troops back, but they were resilient and pushed on.  This resilience was greatly tested on November 9, 1944 when a company of 180 men set out in the morning to attack the Germans.  They had started the journey by emerging from trees that were on a hillside, and as they emerged from the tree line they were hit with German 88's causing a tree burst (a tree burst was when trees were fired upon and knocked down killing anyone under them.  This was an efficient method used by the Germans.)  By 9 a.m. there were only 20 soldiers left out of the 180 they had started with.  During this attack Carl was wounded (left knee) by a piece of shrapnel metal.  For this Carl was awarded the Purple Heart medal.  After being wounded he was sent to France to be treated at a hospital for his wound, trench foot and malnutrition because at one time he was without food for two and a half days.  Then he was transported to England for the rest of the war to teach school so that he could earn his points to be sent home.

 

Glenn Allen Coonrod

2005

 

World War II, C.P.O., U.S. Navy

 

GLENN ALLEN COONROD’S STORY

 

Glenn Coonrod was born on October 31, 1921, in Vickery, Ohio.  His parents were Ralph Coonrod and Della Hall.  Due to the financial struggles of the time, Glenn decided to join the CCC program in 1939 at the age of 17.  He made his home in Idaho fighting forest fires for the CCC until late 1941 when he enlisted in the Navy in reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He also married Mildred Thompson shortly before he left for duty.  Glenn was assigned to the Light Cruiser USS St. Louis.  The “Lucky Lou,” as it was called, was the ONLY American warship to escape from the Pearl Harbor attack.  Over the course of the war, the St. Louis suffered many battle scars including a large hole from a torpedo and numerous kamikaze attacks.  One such kamikaze attack nearly took Glenn’s life as his quarters were destroyed by the hit.  Luckily enough, Glenn wasn’t feeling well that morning and decided to walk around the deck a while.  That decision saved his life.  His man duty was to re-load and operate a 40 mm mark II & IV quad anti-aircraft gun.  Glenn served as a chief petty officer for 3 ½ years on the St, Louis and was a warded 9 bronze stars, 14 ribbons, and the Silver star for bravery in machine gun batter.  Sadly, Glenn’s health deteriorated with age and he passed away at Toledo Hospital on September 22, 1997.  He was 75 years old.

 

OBITUARY (Funeral Home Remembrance)

 

In Loving Memory of

GLENN ALLEN COONROD

 

Beloved Husband of

MILDRED (THOMPSON) COONROD

 

Born

OCTOBER 31, 1921

 

Died

SEPTEMBER 22, 1997

 

Services

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1997

11:00 A.M.

KNOPPER-KARLOVETZ MORTUARY, FREMONT

 

Conducted by

REV. JAMES R. BELCHER, PASTOR

CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH, CLYDE

 

Burial

GREENLAWN MEMORY GARDENS, CLYDE

 

John H. Cox

by Taylor Brown, 2007

 

Vietnam War, Captain, U.S. Navy

 

PERSONAL INFORMATION

 

Name: John H. Cox

Rank: Navy Captain, Officer Grade Six, Level Six

Job Description: Naval officer.

During the Vietnam War, he was chief engineer of a nuclear submarine, and about half the crew worked under him. He took care of mechanical, electrical, and chemical systems on the submarine.

In charge of the nuclear reactor on submarines.

Commanded nuclear submarines.

Commander of submarine base in New London Connecticut.

Commander of all submarine bases in the Atlantic Command.

 

            John H. Cox joined the military for the education and because he knew that there was a pretty good retirement plan. After high school, he attended the United States Naval Academy. At the academy, he majored in engineering. He trained at the naval academy for four years and graduated in 1962. His first assignment at sea took place during the tensions of the Cuban Missile Crisis. During this crisis, Cox was on a destroyer that performed surveillance duties on Soviet ships in the area.

It was bad weather that set the stage for the remainder of his career. While on patrol near Cuba, hurricane force winds tossed the ship around violently. That experience made Ensign Cox decide to apply for submarine duty because being under the water the boat would be much more stable. After serving twenty years in the navy, many benefits were offered to him, so he decided to stay.  His application for submarine duty got him a call from Admiral Hyman G. Rickover who is known as “ The Father of the Nuclear Navy.” Cox had to be interviewed by several engineers and then Rickover himself in Washington D.C. Cox was accepted into the program. Once he got in the program, he had to go to submarine school for six months at Mare Island. He then attended nuclear reactor school to learn theory for six months and work on a prototype reactor for three months. After passing all of the training, he was assigned to a nuclear submarine.

His first assignment was to the submarine USS Ray. On each of the ships he served, he was in charge of all aspects of the nuclear power plant, except for the Sargo on which he served as the ship’s commander. Later, he commanded a submarine base in Connecticut. He did very well there, organizing his team to perform. As a result, Cox was then offered command of the Atlantic Fleet headquarters, controlling thirty-two bases from Iceland to Panama. After two years in that job, Cox decided that twenty-eight years in the Navy was enough. He retired as Navy Captain.

Mr. Cox believes that submarines were important to the conduct of the war, but were not as vital as the surface navy or attack aircraft. Mr. Cox said it would be a great opportunity if he could explain exactly what he really did in the war, but it’s still classified information. He recommended reading a book called “Blind Man’s Bluff” to get a better idea of his experiences. He also believes that submarines played a big part in the cold War. The Russians could design as well as American engineers could, but we kept a technological edge. Our subs always had the upper hand.

Mr. Cox explained that the reason some of the things he did in the war are still classified is because submarines do things electronically, and it would be easy for someone to develop the same capability if they knew the US were doing it. So the military doesn’t advertise what they do very much. He said that that is why it is so difficult to get funding for submarines. 

Mr. Cox explained that submarines were each originally named after fish. The first ship he was on was the USS Ray, and the second one was the USS Pentado. Now submarines are named after states and cities. Mr. Cox served as executive officer on the USS Memphis.

 

A PERSONAL STORY BY JOHN COX

 

One time when I was in command [of a nuclear submarine] we had a problem in one of the channels in part of the reactor protection, so we started up on the side where the protection was good. We’d run for twelve hours or so, and then we’d shut it down again and go and work on it and try to get it back up within about one hour. We had to do that over and over again.

There were a lot of requirements you had to meet in order to do that, to safeguard the reactor and the submarine. The reason we had to get it running again was that we were [supposed to stay] in an imaginary box so many miles from a point that kept moving, geographically. We would run up to get so many hours ahead [to the front of the box] to stay in the box while we [had the reactor shut down, meaning there was no power to propel the boat, and] were working to fix it. That way we didn’t have to communicate with the surface. You almost never communicate because if you do you are sending out a signal that somebody else could detect, and you want to stay hidden. On a submarine you don’t ever want to be detected.

 

Pete E. Dayringer

by Anna Dayringer, 2007

 

World War II, Corporal, U.S. Army

 

Picture: Pete Dayringer

 

Pete Dayringer
Rank: Artillery Division, Corporal

(June 14, 1920 – June 30, 1987)

 

Job Description

 

      Pete Dayringer was deployed for World War Two on May 26, 1942. His main position was Corporal. This was above the Private rank and below a Sergeant. A Corporal and a Sergeant all made sure that the orders of the day were carried out. He was in the Artillery division and was responsible for maintaining and firing the cannons. He was also in the 140th Field Battalion.

He was in continuous hand-to-hand combat in the jungles of the South Pacific region as well as New Guinea and the Philippines. While on kitchen patrol, he was in an accident where his fingertip was cut off in a meat grinder. While in the army he also contracted Malaria. He fought for over four years and was discharged on December 28, 1945. He then spent time in a military hospital in Ohio while in a coma, which he recovered from.

 

Personal Story #1

 

            My grandfather Pete fought in World War Two for over four years. Unfortunately, he died before I was born so I never got to hear stories from his experiences. However, he shared a few of the better memories with my father when he returned home.

            One story he shared was one that could have ended his life. One day during the war he was riding in the front seat of an Army jeep when they were fired upon. He attempted to jump out of the moving vehicle but his wedding ring got caught on the grommet of the canvas connected to the metal frame.

            This caused him to get stuck in the jeep while it drove through a field of fire. Miraculously, he survived. However, this had been too close of a call and he sent his wedding ring back to my grandmother until he returned home.

 

Personal Story #2

 

            My Grandfather had another story he often told. While stationed in New Guinea for over two years, the troops had to dig foxholes to hide in. One night while they were in their holes, they heard noise coming from the field. Since it was dark they couldn’t see what was approaching and began to fire.

            The soldiers began firing every time a noise would seem close. They stayed up all night afraid that the enemy was closing in.

            When the sun came up they all rose out of the holes to see they had been shooting at a water buffalo all night that had been grazing in the field. It was covered in machine gun holes, but was amazingly still standing.

 

Locations Of Service

 

Camp Perry, Ohio – Training

 

Camp Gordon, Georgia – Training

 

Fort Sill, Oklahoma – Training

 

The Philippines

 

Luzon, New Guinea

 

Mainland Japan After hostilities

 

Crile Veterans Hospital, Cleveland OhioSuffered a coma

 

Eugene Dierksheide

by Derek Weikert, 2007

 

1958-1961, Captain, U.S. Air Force

 

Interview

 

            The Veteran I chose to interview for my history project was my grandfather, Eugene Dierksheide.

 

Q:  What was your job(s) and your rank?

A:  My job was a general medical officer and my rank was a captain.

 

Q:  What other ranks were there besides a captain?

A:  There was a base commander, which was also a Colonel, then captain, then a               lieutenant.

 

Q:  What war were you in, if one, and how many years did you sever in?

A:  I was not in a war, I was in the U.S. Military and I served from 1958 to 1961

 

Q:  What was the Military like?

A:  It was an air force base and it divided into three ways.  The first way was a defense command, which defended the country.  The second way was the tactical air command, which deployed around the word as needed.  And finally the third way was the strategic air command, which had nuclear capabilities.

 

Q:  What other jobs were there?

A:  There was a flight surgeon that was responsible for medical care of flight personal.  And the general medical officer, which I was, that was responsible of welfare of the line personal and all family members.  Also there were two dentists and a veterinarian.

 

Q:  How many medical officers were there?

A:  There were three and I was one of them.

 

Q:  Finally, what made you go into the Military?

A:  When I finished medical school I had no reason to go into service, but I felt I had to and I chose to do so.  I thought it was right to do and the government let me finished my medical education.

 

Job Description for Eugene D.

 

            Eugene Dierksheide was in the U.S. Military serving for three years.  He was not in any war; he was just serving as a general medical officer in the Air Force.  He also had no reason to do so but he felt it was right to and it was appropriate at the time.  He got the chance to serve because he got to finish medical school and he took it.

            He was a captain in the Air Force.  He was responsible of welfare of the line personal and all family members.  What he basically did was when someone was injured from flying or just working on a plane; usually F-102’s were there.  There wasn’t much going on during this time because a war wasn’t being taken place.  But one day there was a working fixing a F-102 and tar exploded and took his hand right off.  Also when they have illnesses all the minor ones they would work on and the major ones that could make it would be sent to Brooklyn, New York.  But if they had a major crisis they would just send them to a near by hospital facility.

 

Personal Story of Eugene D.

 

Eugene Dierksheide was a general medical officer.  He served for about three years. He didn’t deal with huge operations nor did he deal with big things like people or soldiers that were in combat.  At this time of his service from 1958 to 1961 all he did was in the air force.  His job wasn’t huge but just helping out was good enough for him. 

            The biggest thing he had to deal with while in the military was one day one of his workers that was working on an airplane tar exploded and took the guy’s hand right off.  Usually what they would do for a minor incident is take care of him but if it was a major problem they would life flight him right up to Brooklyn, New York.  But with this problem he wouldn’t make it to New York so they took him to a near by hospital.  All they had was an eight-bed ward for minor illnesses, which happened a lot. 

 

Robert Dolweck

By Corinne Hammer, 2007

 

1974-1978, Private First Class, U.S. Army

 


Robert Dolweck=s Interview

 

What division of the military were you in?

Bob: I was in the Army.

 

When & why did you enlist into the Army?

Bob: I enlisted on November 11th 1974 [Veteran=s Day] because I was just out of high school here, and really needed some work. Fremont didn=t have all too many jobs.

 

What kind of rank did you have?

Bob: I left the military as a PFC [Private First Class].

 

Where were you stationed at?

Bob: I left from the Cleveland Airport to Fort Knox in Kentucky. I stayed there until probably February, than went to Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. I was there for 3 months then left to Fort Benning [Georgia and Alabama border], where I stayed until my enlistment was up.

 

What was your job at Fort Benning?

Bob: I helped with the training of infantry soldiers. I worked in a sort of video library. The guys I worked with and I would help keep the videos in order and show them to the training infantry men.

 

How did you feel about your job?

Bob: Well, it was an 8-5 job, pretty normal. We had fun, and it wasn=t really hard work. But, we still had to take orders and stay there most of the day.

 

What did you do during your free time?

Bob: Pretty much just hung around the guys. We bowled a lot, there was a bowling alley on the base. [Benning]. We got to drink, as well. While at Benning, we [other guys and I] took off to Atlanta, GA to watch concerts. Mostly rock concerts. We got to see Blue Oyster Cult. Also, Steven Wright, the keyboard guy from Spookytooth. We watched Pink Floyd too, got to see their first laser light show.

 

What kinds of friends did you have in the military and how did you guys get to hang out with each other?

Bob: I actually enlisted with my best friend from Fremont. We signed up under the buddy system, where supposedly, you aren=t going to be separated. But, when the both of us got to Fort Knox, we were assigned to two totally different spots. On Sundays, however, one could say they were going to church on base and get the whole day off. So, my friend and I would do this, we met up at the church. Pretty much hung out all day, ate together and stuff, then went back to our places.

 

So, when and why did you leave the military?

Bob: Well, my enlistment was up, I kind of wanted to get back home, and get a more permanent job. I was 21 actually, only there for about 4 years.

 

Have any stories?

Bob: Well, when I was in New Jersey, my friends and I went by Asbury Park, and could have sworn we seen Bruce Springstein. I had a couple of cool things happen while at Benning. One time I was sitting in the office and a Medal of Honor winner walked in. I got meet him, and that was very cool. You really don=t see many Medal of Honor winners that are alive. Also, while I was at Benning, I got to see President Ford. He was at the fort to celebrate the 200th birthday of the Army. That was really neat

 

Casimir Dorobek

by Alayna Dorobek, 2007

 

World War II, Signalman 3-C, U.S. Navy


Picture: Casimir Dorobek

 

Interview with Casimir Dorobek

 

A-What is your full name?

C- Well it was Kazmierez Dorobek until I changed it to the English name, Casimir.

 

A-When were you born and where?

C- September 29, 1916 in Fremont

 

A-How many brothers and sisters do you have and what are you (oldest, youngest)?

C-I had five brothers and two sisters. I was the third oldest but now I am the oldest of those who are still alive. I have a brother up in Michigan and a sister, Gert, who still lives on White road.

 

A-Where did you grow up?

C-On the Prairie, on White Road.

 

A-When did you decide to join the service?

C-September 15,1942

 

A-How old were you?

C-26

 

A-What were you doing?

C-Working at Herbrants on Stone Street.

 

A-Why did you decide to join the service?

C-I joined the Navy because I didn’t want to be drafted into the army. To also do my duty.

 

A-When did your brothers, Brownie and Henry, join the service?

C-Well I went down to see Brownie in Pensicola in ’41. When Henry left for overseas we both got drunk and that was in ’42. That was the last time I saw him.

 

A-Do you remember discussing joining together?

C-No, Brownie was already gone, and Henry was about to leave. Whatever you wanted to do you did.

 

A-What branch of military did you serve?

C-The Navy.

 

A-Where did you train?

C-Well I had boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois by Chicago.

 

A-Can you explain to me the everyday demands of boot camp life?

C-Oh it was a pain in the ass but you had to do what you had to do. I didn’t like it, but most of us didn’t. They would wake you up real early to do the craziest things. I was only there about forty days when I was then selected to go to signal school at the University of Illinois for four to five months.

 

A-What was your highest rank?

C-Signalman 3-C

 

A-Where were you stationed during the war?

C-Well, I wasn’t ever permanently stationed. My first ship was the Aristides, which was a merchant ship. I was mostly on merchant ships.  I was a signalman with the captain. We would haul troops to parts of Iran. I was also on the U.S.S Halsteag. We would take horses from Australia to India and other war parts to all over the world, but you weren’t in port very long, so I didn’t get to see much of these places. Just enough to unload, load and leave.  We hauled troops to France and the war ended while I was sitting in Lahar, France.

 

A-How was it being away from home?

C- You didn’t really pay attention.  Everyone wanted to get out of service, but there wasn’t any way and you needed to serve your duty.

 

A-How was it knowing your brothers were fighting and defending the country with you?

C-I was always worried about them. The last time I saw Henry was when we got drunk in Boston and I hadn’t heard anything about him.

 

A-What was your job during the war, explain?

C- Well I was a signalman aboard merchant ships.  You had two watches. You had four hours every twelve hours and there wasn’t much to do at night since you couldn’t see anything or send anything. You couldn’t use smoke or lights.  You used different flags and lights to give signals to other ships. And you also interpreted signals. If you were in trouble you manned guns.

 

A-Did you ever make any life long friends during the war?

C- Well everyone is your friend. I joined with Willie Chudinski but we got separated once I was sent to signal school. He died about a year ago.

 

A-What were you decorated for?

C-Well we were in the Mediterranean in a convoy going to Iraq. The Germans flew in and bombed us for about two minutes. I manned a gun, and went below deck to get ammo. It happened so fast. About ten minutes later another wave flew in for about another two minutes. They dropped torpedoes and I only know that one ship got hit. We were spread really far apart. This was the only real action that I saw during the whole war.

 

A-What was your opinion of WWII?

C-you don’t form an opinion when you’re in service unless you see action.

 

 

A-What kind of weapons did you use?

C-Well I used a 20mm and a magazine. The magazine had about 50-60 rounds. And by the time someone went below deck to the arsenal to get ammo for the magazine you would already be out.

A-What changes do you remember after the war being over?

C-I was on the G.I. Bill and you had to find a job. I quit at Herbrants and then went to University of Tiffin for two years for accounting.

 

A-What happened once the war was over?

C- I sat in California for sixty days waiting for records. Then I was shipped to Boston then back to Great Lakes to be discharged.

 

A-How was the food?

C- It wasn’t too bad on the ship. You didn’t eat much.

 

A-What did you do for free time?

C-We played cards and we couldn’t drink booze because there wasn’t any and it wasn’t the right thing to do. I kept two bottles of mine though.

 

A-Did you write many letters?

C- No because I was out at sea lot and when I did I would drop them off at port. The bad thing was it would take a year for mail to get to you.

 

A-What advice would you give to servicemen?

C-I wouldn’t give advice there isn’t much to say.

 

A-What about Americans not in service?

C-well during my time, the war was on so you joined, and had to go because of the draft.

 

A-Do you have an opinion about the war in Iraq?

C-I would say we better get out but you can’t now.  I don’t think we should have gotten in. People blame Bush but all of them are the blame.

 

A-What do you have to say about any war and being in service?

C-War is no good, but it will always be the same. There are a lot of wars being fought right now that we don’t even know or care about. People join for different reasons, like some need money or just to serve their duty.

 

A BROTHERHOOD OF SERVICE

 

Casimir, Henry, and Edward were all born to Casper and Mary Dorobek in Fremont, Ohio and grew up on White Rd.  They were of eight children, which today three are still surviving including Casey.  Casimir is a remaining bachelor and currently is living in Rutherford house in Fremont. He attended the University of Tiffin for accounting.

 

JOB DESCRIPTION: SIGNALMAN

 

            Signalmen are usually stationed on warships sending and receiving messages.  They send messages using flashing lights, semaphore, and flights.  They prepare headings and addresses for out-going messages, process messages; encode and decode message headings, operate voice radio, maintain visual signal equipment, render passing honors to ships and boats, and display ensigns and personal flags during salutes and colors.  They perform duties of lookouts, send and receive visual recognition signals, repair signal flags pennants and ensigns, take bearings, recognize visual navigational aids, and serve as navigator’s assistants. Signalmen must have normal color perception and visual acuity must be correctible to 20/20. Training includes lectures and practical exercises covering visual communications procedures, including Morse code, flag identification and signaling, publications, flashing light drills and positions, as well as message construction and procedures. Signalmen work outdoors primarily aboard USN deploying ships.

 

PERSONAL STORY: CASIMIR DOROBEK

                                                                                             

            Casey Dorobek was aboard SS Cavalcade, a merchant ship in a large convoy of about 400 ships. They were in the Mediterranean Sea going to Iraq. A surprise wave of German aircrafts flew in and began bombing the convoy. My Uncle Casey manned a gun defending his ship.  My Uncle being a signalman was not use to manning a gun. They did only when under fire. The wave of German bombers lasted about two minutes. Ten minutes later another wave of German bombers flew in for another two minutes. This was the only real gunfire my Uncle witnessed during the war and he was able to save his ship with the help of others aboard they deflected two torpedoes heading for them. 

 

Henry R. Dorobek

by Alayna Dorobek, 2007

 

World War II, 2-D Lieutenant, 45th Division, 157th Infantry, U.S. Army

Picture: Henry Dorobek

 

Henry R. Dorobek

 

            Henry, or Hank, was born on May 15, 1924 to Casper and Mary Dorobek. He was the youngest of the three boys who joined the service during WWII.  He joined the army around 1942. The last time he saw his brother Casey before being shipped over sees was when they both got drunk in Boston.  He was a 2-D Lieutenant, and fought in heavy combat. We can assume the Henry performed jobs of the average combat soldier. 

            Henry was a part of the 45th division of the 157th infantry unit and joined them as they entered France.  Before the division entered France, they trained in Arzew, French Morocco. Shortly after training they landed in Sicily, which was the first major amphibious operation and moved inland. In France, the division strongly defended the city of Epinal and then crossed the Moselle River and entered the western foothills of the Vosges. After a short rest, the division cracked the forts north of Mutzig, an anchor of the Maginot Line. From January, 1945, the Division fought defensively along the German border, withdrawing to the Moder River. In February, it went back for rest and training.  The 45th moved north to Sarregeumines area and smashed at the Siegfried Line. This is where my Uncle Hank was killed. He was seriously injured from shrapnel from German shells.

            His body was brought back to Fremont, Ohio where his family was awaiting him. Brownie and Casey did not learn of his death until returning home. 

         

A BROTHERHOOD OF SERVICE

 

            Casimir, Henry, and Edward were all born to Casper and Mary Dorobek in Fremont, Ohio and grew up on White Rd.  They were of eight children, which today three are still surviving including Casey.  Henry was never married. He was the youngest of the three and, unlike his brothers served in the army. He was killed in France when his infantry unit began the liberation of Germany. He is buried in St. Joe’s cemetery. 

 

Henry was stationed in France during WWII. On March 15, the day that he was KIA, they were stationed in Sarreguemines in France. Two days after his death they entered Germany.

 

Marlene Downs

2005

 

Operation Desert Storm, E-4, U.S. Army National Guard

 

Job Description

 

Marlene Down’s job was a respiratory therapist.  When they first got to Saudi Arabia they didn’t do a whole lot since everything wasn’t set up right away. In the meantime they had to fill sandbags that they put around the perimeter of the hospital and near the entrances, so the guards would have a place to be behind just in case a terrorist did come in, so they had to be prepared.  They would get some victims from out in the combat zone and they would be taken care of out in the combat zone and they would be moved to their hospital then.  They would also get transfers from other types of hospitals too.  The hospital functioned just like a regular hospital, and they had eight-hour shifts, and she would usually work the night shift.  For being respiratory people they weren’t too terribly busy.  She would give a couple of breathing treatments, and they had a few ventilator patients that were on the breathing machine. They made rounds too, checked the oxygen supplies and stuff, and moved things around if they needed it.  Other duties that everyone would have a chance to do were kitchen duty, latrine duty, and mail sorting duty. She hated to do those jobs.  When she did kitchen duty she would have to be in the kitchen all day, and everybody got two hot meals a day.  There was always tons of mail to sort out and when they were not busy she would have to help out with that.  Once the ground war really started, they started getting a lot of POWs, prisoners of war that they took care of and a lot of them were Iraqis.  They had three Kuwaiti civilians who were working with them at the hospital as interpreters, so they could understand the patients and the POWs.  They also had some Kuwaiti and Iraqi civilians that they treated, and some American soldiers. They only had a few major American injuries that they treated, but most of them were coming in with asthma because of all the sand storms.  Some of the patients were really bad and they had to be in abated.  Once the war ended and they stopped receiving casualties, they had to stay around there and function as a hospital for the American people who had to get their deployment physicals.  Any time a soldier was called out on a mission outside the general area or out of the country, the soldiers would have to go through these physicals.  Before the soldiers would leave they had to get these deployment physicals and the hospital was busy with those.  She didn’t do too much of the physicals part, but she was part of the tear–down team, which tore down all of the parts of the hospital that weren’t being used. They would pack up stuff so they would be ready to go.

 

INTERVIEW

 

Marlene Downs joined the National Guard to pay for her education. Then she would not have to get loans for school.  She was 22 when she went to Saudi Arabia and she celebrated her 23rd birthday over there.  She left home November of 1989, just a few days before Thanksgiving for Fort Ben Harrison, Indiana until January 3, 1990 for her basic training.  Then the enlistees took a very long flight on a commercial airline.  She was enlisted as an E4, and that’s the lowest rank.  They had to wait in apartments there, and they had to stick around until all of their equipment was shipped over in containers.  Once the equipment got there, they boarded the C130 Cardinal plane and they went 250 miles north to set up their camp.  They had to set up the whole camp.  The tents they slept in were already up, and they had to assemble their Combat Evacuation Hospital out of tents.  Their hospital was assembled out of heavy-duty types of tents, and the operating room, the pharmacy, and a couple of other units were there.  The tents were like big metal boxes and the sides folded out and it expanded into a big room.  They had air conditioning inside the hospital, and they had tanks of oxygen.  Also they didn’t function as a hospital right away until everything was set up.  The hospital was pretty far away from combat so nobody ever shot at the hospital while they were in Saudi Arabia.  A lot of the soldiers would get to the hospital by helicopters or ambulances.  If some of the patients they got were too bad then they transported them to Germany, where they were transported to a regular hospital.  They were the last hospital in line that the patients would visit before they would have to be transported to a better hospital in line that the patients would visit before they would have to be transported to a better hospital.  The hospital that they were at was near another local hospital of that town and they would have masses there.  When they were praying it would come out on a loud speaker and you could always hear the praying.  The living quarters that they stayed at were right by the hospital.  The staff treated a lot of victims, and Marlene would treat patients with asthma.  These patients get asthma from the sand storms that occurred, so it affected their breathing.  When the war ended and the hospital did not receive as many casualties then she had to stay around there a little while longer and function as a hospital. The welcome home was the best part she said because she was there five months and when she came home she only had six months left to serve.  Marlene was in the National Guard for about six years.  They got back home the day before Memorial Day. The airplane she rode home on was all decorated with streamers, balloons, and signs.  Then the flight stopped in Rome, Italy where they had to fuel up. Then they flew to JFK airport in New York and they got to get off the plane there.  They had a few drinks at the airport bars there. The enlistees received a good welcome from a lot of people at the JFK airport.  Then the flight ended in Dayton where there was a band playing there and all of their parents and families were there to greet them. When Marlene was done with the National Guard she really did not have a desire to sign back up, but parts of her did miss the military life.  The military was like another family to her, and she had a lot of good times there, because she got to know people pretty well.  After having a family then he did not want to enlist again.  It would be too hard to be away from her kids if she would have to go over there again.

 

Jose Flores

by Mike Yuhas, 2007

 

World War II, Private First Class, 187th Parachute Division, 11th Airborne

 

Pictures: Jose Flores 1 and 2

 

Interview

 

(I):  What was your name and rank?

(A):  Jose Flores.  I have a picture here, as you can see, I’m a lot younger than I am now.  You can see the difference, before and after.  I served from 1945 to 1946 in the 187th Parachute Division.  I still got the emblem for the regiment.  Actually, they made a mistake on my picture; it says 1174 Division when it’s actually eleven.  I was a PFC, which stands for Private First Class.

(I):  What did a first class private do?
(A):  When I was in basic training, it was private, PVT.  That’s how we start, and then when you got out they gave you the rank of private first class.  And then later you got the ranks of corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant.

 (I):  Were you drafted, or did you volunteer?
(A):  I volunteered.  I was seventeen, they draft you when you’re eighteen.  I quit school to go.  And when I came back, we had the GI Bill of Rights, and under that, I went to school and finished it.

(I):  How much did you know about what was happening overseas before you left?
(A):  I used to hear on the radio, stories, and you read about it in the papers and magazines.  But since I was a kid, you don’t really pay too much attention to stuff like that.  I heard about it but it really wasn’t important to me.

(I):  What was your job like in the army?

(A):  Well, I took training, when I started.  And I took training like artillery training.  I went to Fort Pease, Texas, and I was there for two months.  After I finished, I went home for a couple of weeks, they used to call it a furlough.  From there I went to California, and out of San Francisco, I shipped out.  They sent me on a boat.  When I was on the ship, some officer came up to me and asked if I wanted to join the Airborne, and we asked him, what is it? And he said you’re going to take training jumping from an airplane, on gliders, and parachutes.  And he said, and maybe this is why I joined, because it was like fifty dollars more, a month.  We was only getting about sixty dollars a month, so fifty dollars, you know.  A couple months later, when things got rough, I was like, why am I here, but I stuck to it.  Money was the reason.  When you’re young, you don’t really think about other things.  So I joined the airborne, and when we got there, I took training overseas.  And I was sent to an island, Mandau, it was in the Philippines.  But before that, when they dropped the atomic bomb, we went to Japan.  First we landed at Yokahama to patrol until another division took over and then they moved us again.  There’s an island in the northern part of Japan.  That’s where all of my division landed in the port of Sandai, and we set up headquarters in Sapporo.  The first week we were there, there was no people there.  I think they told them not to come out of their houses and stuff.  We would see houses, and banks and stuff, but we didn’t see people.  But then after a few days, they started coming out.  So from there, since the war was finished, they sent us to the Philippines, in the northern side.  The enemy at that time had poor communication, and some of them didn’t know that the war was over, out in the jungle.  So we had to go over there and tell them that the war was over, but still some of them kept fighting.  It was hard for us because they hung in there.  We even had these Japanese to talk to them and tell them the war was over.  We weren’t going to hurt them, but they didn’t know that.  But in the end we told them.  But their communication was bad, not like it is now.

It was hard being on the island, because it rained almost everyday, and you had to go out in the field and it was muddy and you had water up to your knees, and you had to go out into the jungle.  A lot of people got malaria, I never got it, it was from these mosquitoes.  They say the mosquitoes killed more people than the enemy, and it’s probably true too.  And when you were out in the field, they gave you cave rations, which were what we ate.  It was like a can of beans and two cigarettes, and a couple of crackers.  It was a box like a Cracker Jack box, and they gave you two or three, because they didn’t know how long you would be out there.  And your canteen, you used Quinine tablets to purify your water.  Since you filled your canteen at any creek or pond, you had to put two Quinine tablets in your water, to purify it.  So you always carried them with you.  Those are things you don’t forget.  I don’t remember everything, only what generally happened to us.

(I):  What were the meals like?

(A):  You went to the mess hall if you were in the rear [of the army], and you got a hot meal, but if you were in the front [of the army], you cooked them yourself.  You got a mess kit, and in the mess kit you had a canteen, and a plate.  It had a spoon and a fork too.  You always carried it with you, and that was okay when you were in the rear.  But when you came out of the jungle and you came back where they had the field hospitals, you got a chance to eat something warm.  But when you were out in the field, you only ate cave rations.

(I):  What kinds of tools and weapons did you use?

(A):  The infantry mainly carried small arms.  Usually like an M-1 rifle, and sometimes you had a Thompson machine gun.  And in the back they had the armor like tanks and stuff, but me, I was in the infantry.  I had small arms like a pistol and a rifle.

(I):  Did they give you armor at all?

(A):  No, in those days they didn’t give us anything, but a helmet.

(I):  What was the scariest moment in your entire tour of duty?

(A):  My first jump from an airplane.  I didn’t know what it was like, I’d never been on an airplane before.  I never been in the air before.  We had to make six jumps, and then they give you your wings.  So the first time was kind of hard, and the second time I was a little nervous, because here and there, you’d find out that somebody’s parachute didn’t open.  We had two parachutes, your main one in the back, and a back up in the front.  So we went in the airplane and the light went on.  The sergeant would open the door, and we’d hook up to this static line in the middle of the plane, like a cable line.  You would stand up and everybody would follow out the door, one after another.  The first thing on everything was hard.

They only had one division of paratroopers out in the Pacific, and that was the 11th.  In Europe they had about four, but in the Pacific, they only had one.  I know some of the people who fought in Europe, and they said it was more civilized, like it is here, than out there in the Pacific where they had huts in the jungle.  There were all kinds of animals that we never saw before and new terrain.  The Japanese were not afraid to die.  I don’t know why they were like that, but they were. 

 (I):  Did you serve in any battles like Iwo Jima, or Okinawa?

(A):  No, there were no battles per say like in Europe, where a division would battle another one.  Out there [in Japan] it was like Vietnam with raiding villages, and caves in the Jungle.  The marines were the ones who did fighting like on Okinawa and Iwo Jima, not the infantry.

We had to get Japanese from a cave, and we had to get ‘em out of there, with force.  But after awhile you get used to it.  You had to go in there with a flame thrower and smoke ‘em out.  But they didn’t know the war was over, like I said, they resisted and kept fighting. 

(I):  Did you have any pictures, and artifacts from your tour of duty?

(A):  I got rid of most of my stuff, gave it to my kids and stuff.  I got my glider wings and other stuff right here though.  This is the patch on the shoulder of our uniforms. You see the emblem, 11th Airborne.  You probably don’t know what this writing under it means, but in Japanese, Rakasans means umbrella men.  And as we were coming, they would shout Rakasans! Rakasans! Because when you come down in a parachute, you look like an umbrella.  They didn’t have paratroopers, so they called us umbrella men.  This is the glider wings that we got.  And here is the hat, and flag we got for being in the army.  I also stole a Japanese flag from a cave and stuff, but I don’t have it anymore.

 

Romeo Galamgam

by Jacob Trick, 2007

 

Operation Enduring Freedom, U.S. Navy

 

Personal Story

 

            Romeo went to high school in Virginia and joined the navy shortly after.  He wanted to join the navy for the main reason of getting out of the house and because they provided him with college funds.  Romeo went to boot camp and Hospital course school for 4 months in Chicago Illinois.  From there, he went to field medical school which taught him the skills of being an EMT or a paramedic in a war environment.  After medical school, he was given a specialty number 8404.

            He was shipped to his marine core division in March of 2001.  He was in the second platoon of the Kilo Company in California.  He was a platoon foreman and he worked with another core man who was a senior core man.  This person showed Romeo how everything was supposed to be done.  His responsibilities were to make sure any medical problems were brought to the attention of the core man.  This core man would then report to a doctor.

            Romeo’s first department was 6 months after he checked in.  He was sent from California to Hawaii.  From Hawaii to Singapore and from there Australia and next Africa, this is where he stayed for a while.  It was in the horn of Africa where he received further training of classified Special Forces type.  After Africa, he came back home, then 1 month later the war started in Iraq.  He was shipped out once again 3 months after that to Hawaii and from Hawaii, he was shipped Iraq. 

            He was very surprised of the culture that Iraq had.  There were many poor people in the country and while he was posted in different areas, the town children would follow him around because they thought he was Bruce Lee.  The war in Iraq was very violent, but as soon as he got in Baghdad, he helped many of the people who needed aid.  His division would raid the houses of Iraqi officials and people high up in the Government.  A lot of Iraqi leaders were arrested and were brought in for interrogation.  

            The craziest thing about staying there was that they dug holes in the ground as their bed.  This supposedly would be a protection from shells landing from attacks.  Romeo said it was weird because it was like digging your own grave. 

            His company was only there for 4 months and then they were relieved by Army command.  He came home after that. 

 

Interview

 

Jacob:  What made you want to join the navy?

Romeo:  I really wanted to get out of the house and my college costs would be paid for.

Jacob:  What made you want to join the medical field?

Romeo:  Eventually, I wanted to become an X-Ray Technician so I thought that this would help out with that.

Jacob:  Were there any worries to the decision you made to go overseas?

Romeo:  Of course, the obvious would be getting killed, but I was also afraid of not getting the education that I really wanted after he was done serving.

Jacob:  Was it hard leaving your family to go to an entire different country? 

Romeo:  Not really.  I had wanted to leave home already so why would I miss it? Ha ha.

Jacob:  What was your family’s reaction, when you were leaving?

Romeo:  They were happy that I was leaving.  They were like, “Good Riddance!”  But the only people sad to see me go were my friends.

Jacob:  What new things did you experience in other countries?

Romeo:  Learning about the cultures.  People in other countries are happier having less stuff than us.  They are happier than Americans even though we think they have nothing because they appreciate what they have more than we do.  Americans take it for granted.  I did learn some Arabic also.

Jacob:  How did this decision impact your life?

Romeo:  It impacted my life greatly.  It made me a better person because I learned a lot more responsibility and appreciation.  Seeing how other cultures are really can open your eyes more because there are so many things we take for granted.  Now, it takes a lot to stress me out because of the experiences there.

Jacob:  What is the biggest message you’d want to relay to readers about serving your country? 

Romeo:  Honestly, I want to serve my country, but make sure it is what you really want to do before you choose to enter into the service.  There are a lot of things that come along with it that you don’t expect. 

 

Description of Duties

 

        Romeo’s main jobs in Iraq were pretty much clear and simple.  Any body injured, either civilians or marines were to be worked on by him.  He would perform minor physical therapy, X-rays, stitches, and minor surgery. 

                 He also had to do missions such as stakeouts.  They were basically surveillance missions were they would take shifts on watching for anything suspicious. 

            The ultimate worst job he did was cleaning the poop.  They had to burn the poop with diesel fuel until it turned into a pasty cream, and then they had to burry it in the middle of the desert.  The marines always made the medics do that job, but Romeo had authority over some of the new marines.  So he made them do it.    

 

John M. Gordon

by Bobby Howard, 2005

 

World War II, Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Force

 

JOHN M. GORDON’S STORY

 

John M. Gordon was born Feb. 10, 1921 in Fremont, OH.  He worked as news-messenger carrier boy and also worked at the Clyde Castings Co. and A & P store after graduating.  He graduated from Fremont Ross High School, class of 1940.  He was also a member of Hi-Y club.  He enlisted in Toledo on May 15, 1942 at age 22.  Once enlisted he was a private or airman basic, which is the lowest ranking, but common for new recruits.  By the time of his death he had become Sergeant John M. Gordon.  He was a bombardier with the U.S. Army Air Force.  He was a non-commissioned officer above a Corporal.  He went missing on Jan. 20, after a battle in Latin America, and was pronounced to have died on Jan. 20, 1943 at age 22.  The cause of his death is unknown to this day, because a body was never found.

 

Robert H. Guthrie

by Matt Guthrie, 2007

 

1954-1962, A/1C, U.S. Air Force

 

Robert Guthrie had graduated at the age of 17 in June of 1954.  He worked at a local gas station.  One morning, after he had started at 9:30 am, three of his buddies Ken, Larry, and Jim pulled in.  They had told him about the three of them going up to Toledo to sign up for the Navy and asked if he wanted to come along.  He agreed to go along, and they drove up to the Post Office in Toledo, which was where you would sign up at the time.  They went in and there was an Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force recruiter.  They headed up to the Navy recruiter’s room which was on the 2nd floor.  When they reached the door there was a sign on it that read, “Out to Lunch”.  Across the hall was the Air Force recruiter’s room and he had seen the four of them and hollered, “Come on over boys.  Think about the Air Force.”  They went over and met him and listened to all he had to say about the Air Force and how good it was.  The four of them looked at each other and agreed so they signed up for the Air Force on November 24, 1954.

            Early in the morning they waited on downtown St. Street, in front of Tremper’s Ice Cream Store, so they could catch the bus to Cleveland.  Once they arrived in Cleveland, they stayed in a hotel over night.  The next morning, they rallied around and caught the train to San Antonio, Texas.  Once in San Antonio, they got processed and had 11 weeks of basic training and testing.  After basic, the four of them stayed together and had classroom training, marching, physical training, kitchen patrol, bivouac, night training, and guard duty.  When Guthrie took his placement test (the results on this test would effect where you would go for further training in your specific field of knowledge) he scored and 8 in mechanics, 8 in clerical, 9 in equipment operator, 9 in radio operator, 4 in services, 9 in crafts, and 8 in electronics.  Based on this testing, you got assigned to a school that best suited your abilities.  Guthrie was assigned to Kelly Air Force Base in March of 1955, which was right next to Lackland (basic training base in Texas). 

            After he was assigned to Kelly, one of the guys went to Mississippi, another to Colorado, and the last one to Ohio.  Afterwards, Guthrie took some leave and came home for about 2 weeks.  When he came back to Kelly Air Force Base, he was trained in radio intercept analyst specialist.  While here, he was nominated by a Senator and Representative form the state of Ohio to attend the first Air Force Academy Class in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Based on this nomination, he traveled to Randolphfield, Texas for physical examination and testing.  He didn’t make the first class because of a foot condition.  When he came out of Kelly Air Force Base in August of 1955 he was assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. 

            He arrived at Elmendorf in September of 1955 and was assigned to Air Force Security Service.  While there, they had an Artican Indoctrination which everybody had to do because it prepared you just in case you were caught out in the frigid, winter weather in Alaska.  It took about 3-4 days and you were taught how to build shelter and search for food.  He and other men played basketball with the Army guys from the adjacent Army Installation, Fort Richardson and also played bowling, went finishing, hiking, and camping. Guthrie spent 2 years there and at the end of his 2 year tour, he was re-assigned back to Kelly Air Force Base.  He traveled back to Kelly Air Force Base in his 56’ Ford panel truck on the Al/Can Highway (Alaskan/Canadian Highway).  The trip was from Anchorage, Alaska to San Antonio, Texas and it was a distance of about 5,300 miles (1,500 of that was gravel roads). 

            In September of 1957 he received an early release (only served 3 yrs and 10 months instead of the full 4 years) and went to college at Bowling Green.  On November 23, 1957, he received the Good Conduct Medal.  Once he signed up, he had 4 years of active service and 4 years inactive.  While in the Air Force, his rank was and A/1C (Air Force First Class).  He could have been called back but wasn’t so at the end of the 2nd 4 years, he received his release papers (DD214).

 

John J. Hackenburg

by Stephen Stout, 2007

 

World War II, Cook, U.S. Army

 

Picture: John Hackenburg

 

John J. Hackenburg

 

John J. Hackenburg was born in Bloomville, OH to Lawrence and Rosena Hackenburg.  His job title was a cook in the U.S. Army.  He was stationed in London, England and in Nurnberg, Germany.  He has two sisters; Wilbur Hamilton and Gertrude Mohr.  He died on March 5, 1994

 

John’s Job

 

John was a cook during World War II.  As a cook, he made all of the meals that the other soldiers ate.  Also, he would clean up after the men ate and he washed the dishes.  John was responsible for preparing the menu’s that the soldiers would look at so they knew what they had to eat that day.  He was responsible to make sure that the soldiers had something to eat before they went out to fight or even the injured soldiers trying to return to the active service.  He was issued a .30 cal carbine to allow him to have some kind of protection if someone like the Germans would try to attack the base and he would get into combat.

 

 

 

Robert F. Hall

2005

 

World War II, Boatswains Mate First Class, U.S. Navy

 

Robert F. Hall’s Story

 

My grandfather was a freshmen student at Bowling Green State University when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, followed by the United States declaring war on Japan.

            He reported to the United States Great Lakes Training School.  On March 10, 1943 he voluntarily enlisted as AS, V-6, USNR (SV) for a period of 2 years or the duration of the war plus 6 months.

            After being transferred to the destroyer base in San Diego, CA, he was trained in Landing Craft School for duty and further assignment.  The next step was to go Honolulu, Hawaii for more training.  My grandfather was very active in the sports programs at school.  While in Hawaii he enjoyed playing basketball with the “Amphibs,” the men from the landing craft units.

            On April 30, 1944, he served on board the USS Warhawk when the vessel attached, as amphibious transport, to Task Force engaged in landing operations against the Japanese.  He crossed the International Date Line on Sept. 20, 1944.  He crossed the equator and qualified as a Shellback.  While serving on board the USS Warhawk, the landing craft took part in the battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  He took part in very dangerous and was right in the midst of firing the whole time.  When the Japanese were not able to land troops on the American occupied islands and with no forward bases to land airplanes, the “Kamikazes” became their final deadly weapon.  Admiral Metscher said, “One thing is certain; there are no experienced Kamikaze pilots.”  While taking wounded men out of the area, my grandfather’s ship was struck by a Kamikaze plane.  Many of the men were killed and it was a very horrible time for my grandfather.  When the war was over, he sailed home and spent a couple of days at the island of Enewetok, which was later used for the testing of another atomic bomb.

            He was honorably discharged on June 30, 1946 with the rating of Boatswains Mate First Class.  He also received the Point Systems Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal 3 Stars, Good Conduct Medal, American Area Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Medal 2 Stars.

            He returned to BGSU and took advantage of the GI Bill.  He received a Bachelors of Science.  He then owned and operated Bob Hall’s Men’s Clothing Store in Fremont.  He died in 1973 of a heart attack.

 

Joe Halm

by Kaylee Halm, 2007

 

World War II, Private First Class, U.S. Army

 

Interview with Joe Halm

 

Q: When were you born?
A: "April 12, 1927."

Q: How old were you when you joined the Army?
A: "18."
Q: What war were you in?
A: "World War II"
Q: Where were you located during the war?
A: I was in Okinawa, which is by Japan."
Q: What was your job description?
A: "All I knew was to just kill the Japanese."
Q: What was your rank?
A: "PFC which was Private First Class."
Q: How long did you serve in the Army?
A: "Only a year because I got injured."
Q:Did you get a purple heart?
A: "Yes, I did. I don't know where it is now."
Q: What happened where you got the purple heart?
A: "I got shelled in the leg and stomach."
Q: Where were you when this happened?
A: "I was Okinawa."
Q: Where did you go after that?
A: "I went to Guam. Then I got an infection in my stomach so they took me to Hawaii."
Q: How long were you there?
A: "I stayed in Hawaii for 6 months."
Q: What ended up happening after that?
A: "I had my guts laying on my stomach for 6 months so I was just in the hospital."
Q: What weapon did you use?
A: "The M1 Rifle."
Q: How much were you paid?
A: "50 dollars a month."
Q: How much are they paid now?
A: "Up to 900-1000 a month."
Q: What did you do after the Army?
A: "I went to Tiffin University for Business Administration then I got married and had three kids."


Job Description

 

Joe Halm only knew that he was supposed to kill the Japanese. He was the one fighting in the war and making a difference.  He got us our freedom we have today. Since he got injuried while he had just started in the Army, he was in the hospital for basically six months. He couldn't even fight if he wanted to.

 

Personal Story for Joe Halm

 

            When my grandpa was in the army, one of the commanders went up to talk to him. He asked Joe (my grandfather) if he had taken two years of typing while in high school. Joe told him no and the commander asked him if he was sure he didn't. Joe kept telling him that he had never took typing.
            The next day, the commander asked him again if he had took typing. And again, my grandpa said no. The commander said that he checked his records, and it showed that Joe took typing. He just kept denying it. The commander said that if he would have took typing, he would have made him secretary and he wouldn't have had to fight in World War 11.
            My grandpa all along has taken typing. He said he knew that's what he commander wanted. Joe wanted to fight and make a difference. He didn't want to be a secretary.

 

Robert Deck Hensley

by Marc Breyman, 2005

 

Korean Conflict, Corporal, U.S. Army

 

ROBERT DECK HENSLEY’S STORY

 

My grandfather, Robert Deck Hensley, was born on February 20, 1937 in Scott County, Virginia, to Robert and Ellen Hensley.  He was the 10th of 12 children.  On November 13, 1950 Robert married my grandmother Ann K. Soski.  Robert decided to enter the United States Army on January 28, 1952.  He lied about his age to enter the Army, he told them he was born in 1930.  When he entered the army he was a Private First Class.  He was promoted to Corporal in 1953.  Robert served in the 28th U.S. Infantry Division.  In the four years Robert was active, 1952-1954, he served during the Korean War.  Robert was stationed in Germany as an armored tank driver.  While in Germany my grandfather wrote many love letters to my grandmother telling of how much he missed her and home.  He was romantic.  He expressed his dedication to his country leaving his wife behind to go to war.  Robert was transferred to Standby in 1957.  He was given an honorable discharge when he left the Army.  After the war Robert lived in Port Clinton, Ohio with his wife Ann, and four children, Laura (my mother), Pam, Bobby, and Annette.  Robert worked at Celotex Corporation for 45 years until he retired in 1998.  He was also a member of the Port Clinton VFW Homer D. Gardener Post 2480, The Port Clinton Moose Lodge 1610, and the Baptist Church.  On August 17, 1996 my grandmother Ann passed away from cancer.  This was a tough time for the family, especially my Grandpa Hensley.  Later he was diagnosed with cancer and he passed away on December 2, 1999 at Firelands Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio. Robert received a military funeral with bugler sounding taps and a 21-gun salute.  My mother, Laura, being the oldest child, received the immaculately folded American flag.  (A note on the American flag:  A properly proportioned American flag will fold 13 times on the triangles representing the 13 original colonies.  When complete the triangular folded flag is emblematical of the tricorner hat worn by the Patriots of the American Revolution.  When folded, no red or white stripe is to be evident leaving only the honor field of blue and stars.)

 

Obituary

 

The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, Saturday, December 4, 1999

 

Feb. 20, 1933 to Dec. 2, 1999

 

Robert Deck Hensley, 66, Port Clinton, died Thursday at Firelands Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio.  He was born in Scott County, Virginia, to Robert and Ellen (Willis) Hensley.  On Nov. 13, 1950, he married Ann K. Soski and she preceded him on Aug. 17, 1996.  Celotex Corp. employed Mr. Hensley for 45 years, retiring in 1998.  He was an Army veteran having served during the Korean War. He was a member of the Port Clinton VFW Homer D. Gardner Post 2480, Port Clinton Moose Lodge 1610, and the Baptist Church. His hobbies included attending auctions and bluegrass music.  Surviving are daughters Laura Breyman of Fremont, Pamela Wolfe of Princeton, W.Va., Annette McKinney of Portage; son Robert J. of Port Clinton; brother Thomas of Port Clinton; sister Ruby Rucker of Port Clinton; and seven grandchildren.  Brothers Elbert, John, Artur, Emmett, and Claude; and sisters Daisey Browder, Dora Mae Bays, Pearl Mickens, and Rosa Lee Hensley preceded him. Visitation:  6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Neidecker-LaVeck & Crosser Funeral Home, Port Clinton. Ohio. Services:  10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home. Burial: Riverview Cemetery, military graveside services by the Port Clinton VFW. Memorials: American Cancer Society of Stein Hospice.

 

Richard Heslet

By Anna Dayringer, 2007

 

Korean Conflict, Private 1st Class, U.S. Army

 

Richard Heslet

Rank: Private First Class

D.O.B.: 12/28/1937

 

Picture: Richard Heslet 1

Richard in the doorway of his bunker.

 

Picture: Richard Heslet 2

 

Job Description

 

Richard Heslet was stationed in Korea from October of 1956 through July 1958. He did a sixteen-month tour here and then traveled to Japan. His ranking was Private First Class.

His major job was to work in communications. He was a field operator who worked with the radios and switchboards to transfer calls and information between the right people. If in battle, he would have been someone enemies would have tried to take out because of his important job.

            While there, he attended school immediately to learn these skills. Morse code was a talent he learned. Once he began working, he lived in a bunker on the side of a hill. They have five shifts a day, which were done in rotations between the three men. He spent almost six months straight in this bunker.

Other tasks were assigned to him as well. One of these was to run wire maneuvers on the ground from one point to a mission control station. He also worked in a bakery for some time.

 

Personal Story #1

 

Mr. Heslet shared many stories from his time in Korea with me. He lived about two miles from the DMZ, which was basically a “no-mans-land.” He was very close the 38th parallel, which was the dividing line the conflict was about. He explained how he could clearly see across the line. All of the deserters from both sides lived in this area.

One story involved his living arrangements for the majority of his stay. He and two other soldiers lived in a bunker, which was built into the side of a hill. Sand bags were piled all around which they filled from the nearby river.

The steps up to their door were made from empty ammunition boxes. Whenever they were stepped upon, they would creak and moan so you could hear if someone was coming. A Sergeant would often come to check on them and make sure they were doing their job. Above the door they had a crank gun, which wasn’t loaded, although there was bullets near by.

Whenever they would hear these steps, they would grab the gun and crank it to make it sound as if they were ready to fire. They did this to scare the guard coming even though they couldn’t have defended themselves if needed.

 

Personal Story #2

 

            One story from the war I heard was an anecdote that was very simple but meant a lot to Richard. It was an event that happened by chance.

            When Richard was growing up, he had a neighbor that he would always walk to school with. He was an African American named Heldon Price. They attended school in Colorado Springs together for their elementary careers. Both enlisted into the army, however they did this separately.

            One day in Korea, he was on his way to school, which was twenty miles away. It was about a two-hour drive due to hilly roads. They pulled up to pick up four more people going to the school. Onto the bus came Heldon Price, whom he hadn’t seen since the time he left the United States.

            All army soldiers were called by their last names usually because that was what was printed on their shirts. Only close friends were on a first-name basis. When Heldon got on the bus, Richard shouted out his name. He started yelling to see who knew him and saw Richard. They rode to the school, talking and catching up on the way, but didn’t see each other again after that encounter. Richard thought it was a neat coincidence that he would meet a childhood friend half away across the world.

 

Locations Of Service

 

Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado – Training

 

Fort Louis, Washington – Training

 

Tokyo, Japan – Short stay

 

Korea – Stationed

 

Marvin Hines

by Taylor Brown, 2007

 

1960-1968, Corpsman, U.S. Navy

 

My Interview with Mr. Hines

 

T.B. - Why did you join the military?

 

M.H.- The reason I joined the military is because I graduated from Ross High in 1959, and at that time we talked to our school counselors like you talk to your school counselors today. The school counselor I had was very prejudiced, and 98% of the people who worked at the Fremont Foundry were African American. Most of them didn’t have an education and couldn’t read and write and had to have people sign their checks. My father had a third grade education, and he wanted me to do better than he did, so if I got past the third grade I was fine. My mentor/ guide was my counselor, so I went to my school counselor and said my grades are decent what opportunities do I have? What is out there for me? My counselor then told me I had two options: One of them is to go work in the Fremont Foundry, and the other option is to join the military. No college was mentioned. I was not even prompted to see anyone about a college education.

I had asthma, and at the time the Foundry was paying three dollars and twenty-five cents an hour. I didn’t really want to join the military, so I decided to work at the Foundry, make some money, and stay in Fremont. The foundry was a dangerous place to work, and I started to develop asthma more, so I thought my next best bet was to join the military. I didn’t want to join the Marines because of their yelling and screaming, and you know what they say about the Marines, and I was a shy boy. I would have been crying!

My next step was to try the Navy. The Navy recruiter said my grades and points are high enough on the test that I had taken that I could go into anything I wanted to do. I said show me what you’ve got. So the recruiter showed me the brochures he had. The recruiter then started flipping through the pages. He showed he the airplanes. He then got to the guys in the white uniforms. I said, “Wait a minute. What are these guys?” He said they were hospital corpsmen. I said, “They are clean!” I’d been dirty from the Foundry, so I said, “Whatever those clean guys are, I want to do!”

 

T.B.- What is a hospital corpsman?

 

M.H.- Like a nurse takes care of civilians in a hospital, a corpsman takes care of the military.

 

T.B.- Did you go to school to be a corpsman? What training did you receive?

 

M.H.- They teach you how to give IV’s, just exactly what they teach nurses to do.

Remember how I didn’t want to join the Marines? The Marines draw all their corpsman from the Navy. My first assignment was Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, attached to the Marines! So I was shocked, but after you sign that paper you don’t have a choice. They send you wherever they want. They gave me another set of corpsman, which were Marine corpsman and we had to go through a semi-boot camp. I was stationed with the Marines for four years. Marines treat corpsman like they treat God and better than they do their officers. Once a Marine goes into combat and gets hurt, he doesn’t call for his mother, he doesn’t call for his father, he calls for a corpsman. That’s where we come in and attend to their needs.

 

T.B.- What was your rank in the military?

 

M.H.-  E- 5. To get rank in the Navy, you have to stay in the Navy for a certain amount of time, get an education, and take tests. I was working in the lab, and I liked it, so I put I for lab school. They gave me lab school at Bethesda Naval Station in Washington, D.C. Then, I spent two years at lab school, so when I got out that made me a lab technician. I drew blood, I did testing. I finished 12th out of 82 in my class, so I got a choice of duty stations. I chose to stay in D.C.

The reason I chose to stay in D.C. is because my professor knew I was good. In D.C. the cost of living is really high, and the military doesn’t pay a lot, so what you have to do is get another job. I got a job at the Washington Hospital Center where I worked as a civilian. For two days I would work in pathology and at night I would work a blood vein at the naval station in Bethesda. After that job, I would go directly to the Washington Hospital Center and work eight hours, then I would go home, spend one day at home, then I would go through this all over again. So there would be times when I didn’t see my family for three to four days straight.

 

T.B.- You were in the Navy during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Did you ever have to go to Cuba?

 

M.H.- Yes.

 

T.B.- Were you on a ship the whole time you were in Cuba?

 

M.H.- When I was in Cuba, what had happened was that they called us out in the middle of the night, and we packed our sea bags and got on a transport plane. We flew from South Carolina to Guantanamo Bay and stayed there for six weeks until the crisis was over. Then I came back to Camp Lejeune. After I got my shore duty done, I went on a ship called USS Guam. It was a Landing Platform Helicopter, what we called a baby flat top.

 

T.B.- How long were you in the military?

 

M.H.- Eight years.

 

T.B.- What were your dates of service?

 

M.H.- August of 1960-August of 1968

 

T.B.- Have you ever seen combat?

 

M.H.- No.

 

T.B.- Did you ever lose any friends in the war?

 

M.H.- I lost the corporal of my platoon.

 

T.B.- How did he die?

 

M.H.- He was run over by a tank during practice maneuvers.

 

T.B.- Did you ever have any nightmares or anxiety as a result of your military service?

 

M.H.- No, because I was never in the position that troops who were in combat were in, but when I was in charge of a ward at Camp Lejeune, I talked to soldiers who had been wounded, and from our conversation I could tell that many of them did have nightmares.

 

T.B.- What’s your opinion on the Vietnam War?

 

M.H.- I disapproved of what was happening. I disapproved of the way the war was being handled. When you go to war, you go to war to win. You don’t go to war to get your people killed, and that is primarily what we did, as far as I am concerned. They wouldn’t let them do their job, and a lot of our guys got killed. My voice breaks up at this point, but whenever I visit the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC I see my friends on that wall, and I wonder why. I’ve counted fifteen to twenty of my friends on that wall, killed for what reason I have not figured out yet.

 

PERSONAL STORY #1

 

            Mr. Hines’ interview was filled with interesting facts and stories that would take hours to tell, but there was one personal story that stood out. It was about an event that changed the history of the United States.

            One day, when Mr. Hines was nearly ready to graduate from lab school at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center, he was finishing up in the lab before going to hematology class. Mr. Hines heard on the radio that President Kennedy had just been assassinated, so he went to class to tell everyone what had just happened. He said naturally they weren’t the only ones in an uproar; the whole world was in an uproar!

Soon, the whole Bethesda Naval Medical Center was shut down because what they wanted to do was to bring the president’s body into Bethesda. Next, Mr. Hines saw many helicopters around the hospital that, he soon realized, were dummy helicopters. In order to get the morgue, you had to come up to the third deck, and that was where the lab was. Mr. Hines said the third floor lab was where a lot of their training utilities were.

Mr. Hines was on duty that night when they brought President Kennedy in. Mr. Hines and his schoolmates were told to not let anybody come up. He was standing ten feet from the elevator when it came up. The elevator door opened up and there was Jackie Kennedy. Mr. Hines said what touched his heart the most was the fact that Mrs. Kennedy maintained her image, even though her heart must have been shattered to pieces. She still had the pink hat and pink suit on and the blood and brains were still on the front of her clothes. Robert Kennedy was there. Mr. Hines repeated over and over that this was something he would never forget. He said she was sad, but so stoic. He said this was something that would live with him, and to this day he cannot watch the film of the assassination and what followed that they show on television every November 22.

 

PERSONAL STORY AS TOLD BY MARVIN HINES

 

        Mr. Hines was stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As long as African American servicemen stayed on the base, it was just like New York; they could go anywhere, and they could do anything. Once they went off the base, they were discriminated against.

There were four African Americans stationed at Lejeune who became friends and because they were quite naturally eager to see their families, they started off in one of their cars when they had leave. On the way to see their families, they went to a drive-through where they ordered what they wanted to eat over the microphone. They were so happy to be on their way to see their families, and everything was going so perfectly that they didn’t think anything could change the good mood they were in.

The waitress in the drive-through started bringing their meal out to them, but then she soon realized they were African American. She turned around, went back in, and put their meals in paper bags. She brought back the security guards, and told them that they could not eat from there because they were African American. 

Mr. Hines made it clear in the interview that this upset him highly because they were Americans serving their country and had their uniforms on to prove it. He said he couldn’t find a reason or explain why that happened. Mr. Hines described feeling like he was stepping off into another universe. He also explained that you couldn’t understand the hurt and the humiliation he felt unless you were put in that situation. He asked himself repeatedly, “Why am I here? What am I doing? What do I have to do to be equal to everybody else?” On the rest of the way home, there were no words said because they were in total shock and confused. It just didn’t make sense, he repeatedly explained.

 

Charles Hull

by Tyler Hull, 2007

 

World War II, U.S. Marine Corps

 

Charles Hull (Personal Information)

 

            My first veteran that I researched would be my grandfather, Charles Hull.  Charles enlisted as a marine when he turned 18, other than being drafted.  His rank was corporal of the 1st Marine Regiment of HQ Company, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade.  My grandfather died postwar on April 6th, 1974, on Fangboner Rd., five miles north of Ross High.  He worked for Nelson’s Tree Service, which was affiliated with Toledo Edison, trimming trees to clear for cables.  One day, a dump truck’s hydraulic system malfunctioned (stopped working) and he had to go underneath and repair the dump truck so it would fall back into place.  Well, the hydraulic system completely let go and fell right on top of him, died of severe head trauma instantly. 

            When he turned 18, on November 27th, 1948, enlisted into the marines, other than being drafted.  Charles’ duty is the Marine Corps was being a ground unit in the 1st Division.  He went to Camp Pendleton and was stood in a line of around 3500; he was one of the ones that were picked to board the ship to go to Japan.  The way that they were picked was that the sergeants counted by threes, every third person ended up going to Japan, without basic training.

            His company was stationed in Inch’ on South Korea after taking it over by amphibious assault, which was near Seoul, South Korea.  The 1st Marine Division fought its way into Seoul, South Korea and the North Korean forces had to withdraw.  Then they quickly began up the coast to North Korea’s east coast port of Wonson, but it was already take by the South Korean forces.  This is when the 1st Marine Division found its way up to North Korean cities, but on their way to Hamhung, which was a very important airbase and port for the North Korean army, they had to pass through the Chosin Reservoir. This is where the Division experienced hell in its finest form.

            My grandfather and his division were trapped in the Chosin Reservoir for months, in sub-zero weather, with the Chinese communists attacking from every angle.  They fought their way through the trap into Hamhung, North Korea.  The food that was available was tootsie rolls that were dropped from supply planes; Charles said that he would never eat another tootsie roll after that war.  This Division was able to fight its way out of the trap of Chosin Reservoir and ended up getting to Hamhung, completely one of the most miraculous missions of the Marines.

            As they were in Hamhung, North Korea, he was flow to Osaka, Japan in a boxcar aircraft.  Where he attended a hospital for over two months, getting his frost bitten feet cared for.  The frost bite was so bad that he had gashes on his feet from the shrinking of skin pulling so tight that it would just be so brittle it would split in half.

            After he was treated, he was sent to Subic Bay, Philippines where he served for over tow and a half years.  In Subic Bay, he served to help the marines who came in injured and to send them back out.  Since he did not have full feeling of his feet, he could not go back into battle. Whenever he was done with his duties in Subic Bay, he went back to Camp Pendleton and was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps, “the few, the proud, the Marines.”

 

Timothy L. Hull

by Tyler Hull, 2007

 

Sergeant, U.S. Army

 

Tim Hull’s Personal Information

 

            The second veteran that I researched is Timothy L. Hull.  Tim enlisted in the Army when he was 17 years of age.  He started out a private in Basic Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and achieved the rank of Private First Class and Squad Leader.  Then, went to military occupational training in Fort Devens, Massachusetts, for advanced electronic systems repair. 

            Tim, achieved the rank of corporal through ten months of electronics repair, four and half months of classroom, and four and half months of lab technologies.  Started with class of 52 students and graduated with only four, he was one of the four.  Fort Devens was right in Boston, Massachusetts and has an Ivy League type schooling program.

            From there was assigned to Vint Hill Farms, Virginia for depot level maintenance and was there for a year and two months.  While he was there he did repair on over 200 pieces of equipment, from all over the world.  Most of the equipment that he fixed, says that was classified information and can’t talk about it.  The surroundings of Vint Hill Farms was a college atmosphere that was stuck in the middle of horse country.  A town around Vint Hill Farms was Manassas, which was the location of the Battle of Bull Run.  Tim did site repairs in Washington D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia. 

            Next assignment was Sinop, Turkey for field service, repair, and satellite control systems.  Tim spent ten months in Sinop, which was earlier known as the capital of the world during the times of Alexander the Great.  Sinop is where Alexander’s empire was located.  Sinop is also known for the Black Sands from the Black Sea along its shores.

            The next two assignments were in Frankfurt, Germany and Terayon, Spain where he made general repairs and enjoyed playing fast pitch competitive softball.

            Tim was then moved back into the United States to Vint Hill Farms, Virginia once again.  This time it was for front line maintenance for an information gathering company for Fort Hood, Texas.  At the end of his military campaign he reached the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged in Washington D.C.

 

Herbert King

by Bobby Howard, 2005

 

World War II, Private, U.S. Army

 

HERBERT KING’S STORY

 

Herbert King was born May 9, 1921 in Sandusky Co. to Mr. and Mrs. A.M. King.  He attended Fremont Ross High School, graduating in 1941.  He was an active lineman for the football for 3 years.  He was also employed at Erie Proving Ground when he enlisted in June of 1942.  He was trained at Aberdeen Training Camp in Maryland.  He stayed there for two years until he was shipped overseas with an ordinance unit in June of 1944.  He was sent to France in November with replacement troops, after being stationed in England.  Private Herbert King never moved up in ranks because 10 days after he was assigned with the 104th Infantry Company B, he was killed.  He was killed by a German soldier, who was armed with an MP40 or “Schmeisser.”

 

Herbert J. Kiser

by Zach Kiser, 2007

 

World War II, 552 Engineers, U.S. Army

 

Military Service

           

Herbert J. Kiser began his military service in the First Army 552 Engineers.  He was drafted in 1943 and sent from his home in Fremont, Ohio, to Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio on February 17, 1943.  He began his training as a Navy Air Corp man, but failed the physical exam due to one of his eyes being slightly impaired.  From there, Herb continued training, though as an auto mechanic and engineer. 

            Following his training at Camp Perry, his group of engineers was transferred to Fort Belvoir in Virginia and arrived on February 22, 1943.  After a short six weeks, he was promoted to Private First Class, one of few promoted within their regiment.  They were not required to stay long at Fort Belvoir, so the Atlanta Ordinance Depot at Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia was their next stop to participate and operate in job-specific training. 

            At the Atlanta Ordinance Depot, the group of mechanics and engineers received the same training as those in the Marine Corps at that time.  They were a part of the Third Provincial Company Barracks #415.  Here after engineering training, auto mechanic training, and exceeding in the Advanced Training processes, Herbert graduated his training program on July 2, 1943.  He graduated training with honors averaging the highest scores on all exams taken.

            There was still one more piece of criteria needed to be met and that was maneuvers.  Young soldiers were required to experience war-like situations before being involved in real-life occasions.  Maneuvers were held at Camp Forest in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  Herbert’s group began their maneuvers on July 31, 1943.

            During maneuvers, Herbert and a few others in his group were stationed on guard duty, which consisted of two hours on duty, and four hours of sleep, constant through the day.  When they were on the move, trucks would need repaired, so they were in charge of fixing them.  A convoy began on August 9, 1943 that stretched from one end of Camp Gordon to the other.  A day after the convoy departed, August 10, 1943, Herb’s truck was struck by lightning and a few men were injured, including him obtaining a minor neck injury.  Near the end of the maneuvers, he was given a new responsibility other than a truck driver and mechanic.  He was given the title of full-time mechanic and engineer.     

On December 27, 1943, the 552 Engineers boarded a ship departing from New York City.  They would arrive at Scotland and their duties would begin.  For the most part, this regiment constructed bridges for their men to cross and repaired most travel equipment in their vicinity.  They made their way across the Scottish territory and entered England to continue their responsibilities.  Many of the bridges that they built were soon after destroyed by enemies following their trail. 

Although all areas in Europe back then were danger zones, Herbert said England was the least deadly where they were.  France, however, was hard for this regiment.  They suffered many casualties that perished in the process of constructing bridges and repairing their trucks.  Some were very close to Herb, who said he never overcame the loss of his friends.  His worse experiences occurred in France when his group was fired upon and some were taken prisoner.

Following France, they continued to build bridges and maintain their convoy’s condition.  Herb recalled often while on assembly sites, speaking to and conversing with General Eisenhower and General Hodges.  He said they were frequently on their sites overseeing their progress. 

Their journey ended in October of 1945.  Most of his regiment was discharged on October 24.  On October 25, 1945, Herb arrived on a ship in Boston, Massachusetts at the Indian Town Gap.  He walked in the door of his home at 7:50 a.m. on October 30, 1945.

 

Job Description

 

The 552 Engineers Regiment was an Army regiment that repaired most trucks and other transportation equipment that was used in World War Two.  Herbert’s specific job was aiding in the repairing of those trucks, and as a bridge engineer.  While most of his group would fix the trucks, Herb would go with others up ahead, design, and build bridges across creeks, rivers, and other debris that couldn’t be crossed.  They would build in the midst of firing all around and always being on the clock to get the job done fast.

 

Following Service

 

Following his dischargement, Herb attended the Hobart Welding School in Troy, Ohio.  Herbert and his brother, Robert Kiser, founded a plumbing and heating business together called Kiser Brothers Inc. in Fremont.  They experienced many years of successful business, leading to Robert’s, and eventually Herbert’s retirement.  The Kiser Brothers Company was then sold to one of Herbert’s sons, Donald Kiser, who also experienced years of successful business.  During retirement, Herb spent most of his time with his wife and enjoying every minute he could fathom.

 

Personal Information

 

Herb was married to FelistaSmitty” Smith on June 15, 1946.  Together they had nine children, two of whom were killed in a car accident as teenagers.  Though the other seven are still living, all adults, and most with several children of their own.

In Herb’s childhood, he attended St. Joseph High School where he became an avid golfer, boater/navigator, and pistol shooter, participating in shooting competitions and being a member at a local shooting club.

Up until a while back, he was still enjoying the sport of golf, always playing an occasional round.  He also spent a lot of time at his trailer at Nugent’s lagoon, frequently inviting the entire family down to go boating.  He still had his gun collection, but not firing any lately.  Herb also participated in a weekly card game with some old friends and playing cards as much as he could even alone.

On September 24, 2005, Herbert Joseph Kiser died suddenly of a heart attack in his home in Fremont, Ohio following years of heart conditions and several close incidents.  He is, and will be, dearly missed.

 

Bob Lamb

by Derek Weikert, 2007

 

Vietnam War, Lt. Colonel

 

Interview

 

The second Veteran I chose to interview was Bob Lamb.  My grandpa had told me it would be neat to see what he was like and he was also a good friend of my grandfather’s also.

 

Q:  What was your rank?

A:  I was 2nd Lt. to Lt. Col.

 

Q:  What war were you in, if one, and how long?

A:  I was in Vietnam, actually “over” Vietnam flying B-52’s and I took two tours and they lasted about six months each.

 

Q:  What did you do “over” Vietnam?

A:  High Altitude bombing from 30,000 ft. to 38,000 ft.

 

Q:  What all did you fly?

A:  B-52 both “F” and “D” models.  (I flew the “B’s” for a while instructing at Castle AFB in CA and the “H’s” while Squadron Commander at Minot AFB in ND)

 

Q:  Did you have any ground firing on your plane?

A:  The Vietcong tried, but as long as we flew in the ‘Southern’ region they had nothing that could reach us that high.

 

Q:  Where was your base located during your combat missions?

A:  During the first tour we flew only out of Guam.  By the second tour things had gotten sophisticated and we flew out of Guam, Okinawa, and Thailand in a one-month rotation sequence.

 

Q:  What parts of Vietnam did you fly over?

A:  It was considered the southern section.  The B-52’s did strike the northern section very late in the war and got shot at (SAM’s) and shot down.

 

Q:  What was your job while in service?

A:  Started out as a B-47 co-pilot then went to a B-52 co-pilot (aircraft commander), instructor, Squadron Commander, and Air Division Director of training.

 

Job Description for Bob L.

 

            Bob Lamb was a aircraft commander as a B-52 bomber, co-pilot, pilot, instructor, Squadron Commander, and Air Division Director in training.  But he started out as a B-47 co-pilot.  Each position had multiple responsibilities.  For instance, as an Aircraft Commander one is not only the pilot, but also responsible for the entire operation of the aircraft and it’s mission – much like the Captain of a ship. 

            The Crew of a B-52 is made up of the flight, offensive and defensive teams made up of the pilot and co-pilot, the navigator and radar navigator, and the electronic warfare officer and gunner.  The gunner position was removed from the B-52’s some two years ago.

            While flying on his tours he also had some responsibilities.  On the first tour in the “F” model, there were only four squadrons of “F’s” and we were picked to experiment with this ‘new’ idea of dropping iron bombs.  Actually, the “B-52” had been designed for this mission, but only as a second thought and the bomb bay equipment had to be completely overhauled.  We were one of the first two squadrons sent to Guam and the first to fly combat missions over Vietnam.

            The AF learned quickly and while the four “F” squadrons (two at a time – each for six months) were on Guam, they modified the “B-52” “D” models (there were almost twice as many “D’s” than “F’s” in the fleet) to carry more bombs than we could.  The “D’s” replaced the “F’s” and the “F’s” we soon retired form the fleet.

            So on his second tour was in the “D”.  During this tour they rotated, every month, flying out of Guam (some 12 hour mission), Okinawa (a 6 hour mission), and Thailand (a 2 hour mission).

 

Personal Story of Bob L.

 

            Bob Lamb was a B-52 bomber.  He served in Vietnam.  As I was interviewing he told me many stories about what he did over Vietnam flying.  But the most interesting story was one I asked, “What was your scariest moment?” He replied by saying, it was before we even started flying combat missions.  We had been on Guam for a little over a month sitting on our duff’s and wondering if we were going to fly a mission.  We were rousted out of bed at about 2:00 a.m. and bussed to the briefing room.  We were told that something big was brewing and get ready to go.  No targets, no directions, no nothing; just “get ready.”  Then at about 10:00 a.m. they said, “forget the whole thing.”  The scary part did not know what in the heck was going on or just where we might be going.  It could have been Chine for all we knew. 

 

John Limestahl

by Jason Keckler, 2007

 

World War II, Military Police, Private 1st Class, U.S. Army

 

Picture: John Limestahl

 

Interview

 

Q:  What was your rank when you left the service?

A:  My final rank was Private First Class.

 

Q:  How long were you in the service?

A:  I was in the service for four years.

 

Q:  What war did you fight in?

A:  I fought in World War II.

 

Q:  What type of training did you have to go through before you went to fight in the war?

A:  I had to learn to crawl under barbed wire with my gun with guns being shot above me and with bombs going off in the sand beside me.  I also had to learn how to throw hand grenades and put the tracks back on tanks and how to aim and shoot off the tanks.

 

Q:  Who were you fighting?

A:  I was fighting the Germans.

 

Q:  What did you do during the war?

A:  I worked as an intelligence officer on the front lines and drove a tank.

 

Q:  Were you ever injured?

A:  Yes I had my back broken and was in a full body cast.

 

Q:  How were you injured?

A:  I was injured when I was hit by a truck in our truck.

 

Q:  How long were you in your cast?

A:  I was in the cast for a full year.

 

John Limestahl’s Job Description

 

            While John Limestahl was in the army he had different ranks while in the service.  First he was a MP or Military Police.  Then he was in the East Coast Defense Tank unit.  He was also a Private First Class and an Intelligence Agent.

            While he was a MP he went wherever he was needed.  He also had to go to the front lines and check on the soldiers.  While doing this he also had to check for dead soldiers in the grass and had to make sure that the German soldiers were dead and weren’t just trying to hide.  While doing this he saw one German that took his clothes off and started running and they couldn’t shoot him because he wasn’t in a uniform.

            Then when he was part of the East Coast Defense Tank unit he drove tanks.  He had to practice shooting targets with the tank and how to deal with getting knocked around in the tank even though it was cushioned inside.  He also had to learn how to drive it and how to put the tracks on it when they got knocked off. 

            When he was a Private First Class he had to do everything that other soldiers had to do while they were serving in the army.  John was also an Intelligence Agent and he had to gather information on the front lines.  He almost got shot twice in two minutes while gathering information by checking bodies for documents and looking for enemy soldiers that were still alive to try and take them back to get interrogated.

 

John Limestahl’s Personal Story

 

            While he was in a base camp in Columbia, South Carolina he was sent out to look for the body of a murdered soldier.  The search was at night and he only went with a few other people to look for the man's body.  All he had with him was a stick and a flashlight and he was in the woods.  While he was searching he was afraid of stepping on a snake because there were a lot of them there.  Then he found the man’s body in the woods.  Since he found the body the only thing that he had to do for the next day was to serve a commanding officer his breakfast and then he got the rest of the day off.  He also received his first stripe for finding the murdered man in the woods outside the camp.

 

Art Lundgard

by Mike Yuhas, 2007

 

World War II, Corporal

 

Picture: Art Lundgard

 

Interview

 

(I):  What was your name and rank?

(A):  Corporal Art Lundgard

(I):  How old were you when you entered, and left the service?

(A):  I was nineteen when I entered, and I left about three years later so I was twenty-one, twenty-two-ish.

 (I):  Were you drafted or did you volunteer?

(A): I stayed in school.  Now, some of my friends volunteered, because they could get paid, and back then in the Great Depression, the pay check seemed like a great thing.  And one day, we were sitting in class and they [the army] came in and said let’s go, and they took ‘em out of class.  I later found out they were in the Bataan Death March.  Two of my best buddies were killed in the first battle we were in.  I tried to talk to them, but they wouldn’t listen.  They decided they wanted to be line men, because all they had to do was go to the top of the hill and swing the telephone line around there, and then we can do nothing.  But I says, yes, but your gonnna be on top of that hill.  The first battle they were killed, friendly fire, our own artillery dropped a whole barrage right on top of them. 

I had to leave my job that was paying me good money up in Port Clinton, and go into the army.  I was drafted into the infantry at nineteen.  My father and my whole family have been in the service.  I went out to Camp Philips, Kansas where I was inducted in [the army].  It’s quite interesting being inducted into the army.  They take you out there, and say you go this way, you go that way, and they make you take your clothes off, and give you a raincoat.  They give you a medical examination, but the medics were way down the road somewhere, so they made us walk down there with no clothes on.  Then you go into a big auditorium and the regimental officer gives a speech.  The first thing he says, “I want you to start counting one, two, three, four, all the way down the line.  Now all you guys with fours stand up.”  He says “The first battle we run into, you’re all going to be dead.  Now the reason we’re here is to kill, or be killed,” and this is something you hear continually.  It just continues and continues, kill or be killed.  You could use that for your initial thing, kill or be killed, that’s the army.  Then we went into training.  We didn’t do too much marching like the regular army did, we trained and did our job and did it well.  We went to several camps training, and then we went over to Europe on the Queen Elizabeth.  The whole division was on that big boat going over there.  The Queen Elizabeth, so that the submarines couldn’t get a hold of it, kept zigzagging all the way across the ocean, so that they couldn’t get her on their scopes.

We landed in Scotland, went to Southern England.  While I was there, I took a tour of London, for just a short time.  This is one of the places I went to, it was Dicken’s Old Curiosity Shop, it was very old, and very neat.  It was really old in that building, real nice, but we were only there over night.  Then, I went to Westminster Abbey and a few other places while I was over there, but that probably doesn’t have anything to do with what you want.

I was trained as a mortar gunner.  Now a mortar, this is a mortar right here.  It looks like a stovepipe.  It’s one of the most wickedest weapons there are.  The reason why it’s wicked is the way it works.  When the shell hits the ground, the shell explodes this way [out to the sides], an artillery shell explodes this way [up in the air].  Every shell has a fifty feet kill radius, and I threw a lot of shells.

We landed where the D-day invasion landed, except forty-nine days later.  If you’ve seen the picture with the parachutes hanging on the wires and stuff, that’s what it was like when we got there.  There were parachutes, and gliders all over the place, and we went from there to the south of France where they trapped a whole bunch of Germans and aircraft, and we surrounded them and kept them in there until we were transferred out of there.  Now this is Normandy, this is where we lived.  This picture [the above picture] was taken when we were firing. The first attack, when we got done, we fired so many rounds that when we got done, my pant leg was scorched.

We lived in huts underground, because of all the aerial bursts.  But, we had ‘em made so that when we sleep, we didn’t have to worry about aerial bursts, because all they had over there was anti-aircraft guns.  We didn’t have a problem with them, except one time.  One time we had a place where we ate lunch, and every day we ate lunch there.  One day lunch was late, and we were standing around, and we heard these artillery shells going WhomWhomWhomWhom, really fast because they spin, and then Bam! Bam! Bam!.  We didn’t know where they went, but they didn’t hit us.  We went there and it was exactly where we were eating.  The nose cone of one of the shells was stuck in one of the trees. 

But you never know day to day, the big thing was you had to constantly keep your head down, you didn’t forget that someone was watching you all the time, and that’s the bad part about being in the army.  Those Germans had snipers that could hit anything.  These were trees that were burned down.  The guy I was with took these pictures, and when we got home I asked him to send me the negatives, from Alabama, because we were from all over God’s creation.  This is what we had to look from.  I would look out the OT [Observation Tower] and there were railroad tracks right in front of it, and beyond that you couldn’t see anything.  They were out there, you just couldn’t see them.  There was a submarine base in the town we captured, and this is where all the aircraft and artillery went, to the submarine base.  But, they fought hard and didn’t surrender until half the war was over.  They really hung onto, that tough.  We were all given search warrants before we went to Germany, for searching homes and confiscating stuff.

When the Battle of the Bulge came on, my outfit, we were transferred out of Lorraine, and took over somewhere else.  They moved you around from day to day.  If you asked me where in France I was, I couldn’t put it on a map.  In my crew, I had a second gunner who threw the ammunition in, and we had ammunition bearers who unwrapped the shells and got ‘em ready for firing.  I missed out on one battle, the Battle of the Bulge.  I had this tooth that was decayed real bad, and they took me out and gave me a root canal on it.  I had never seen one, and just before we left to move out, I got swelling in my cheeks, and when we stopped to have Christmas dinner, it swelled up even more, so they shipped me to the hospital in Remmes, France, and when I got there, they pulled the tooth the next day, without Novacaine, because they told me if they don’t get it out of there, it’s gonna kill you.  They kept me there about a month, and so many casualties were coming in with trench foot.  Now trench foot was quite common because if you don’t change your socks each day, the moisture cools your foot.  We had people coming in there with half their foot black, and when paratroopers came in, they were crazy.  They had battle fatigue I’d say, and it was a mess.  And the casualties just kept coming in, just a steady stream.  Then I got back to my outfit, and I’m lucky I got back with my original one, because when you’re in the army, they can shove you anywhere they want to; you’re at their mercy.  Bastogne, I heard, was just awful.  There was snow everywhere, and they slept out there because there was no place to get inside.  And you had no choice in the matter, and you had to be careful wherever you went, because the Germans were watching you on top of it.

We traveled by train in the army. And when I got back with my outfit, we were traveling in “forty and eight” cars.  They’re called that because they squeezed forty men, and eight horses into these little tiny boxcars.

The only time I was really sniped at was when I was getting some water.  What we were doing was mopping up after Patton’s armor.  And it was something to see that armor, it was just like a parade that would come through.  And in the morning it was just like a continuous roar with the artillery, and then you’d see this parade start, and when they broke through, they kept going, and we had to clean up what was left.  We were following so fast, I would set my mortar up, and I would fire just one round so they knew where I was, and then I’d have to leave again because they were moving so fast.  Anyway, they had this SS outfit that was all that’s left, the regular army wasn’t fighting at all, it was this elite SS outfit.  The armor was set up across the river, and our engineers were putting this bridge up across the river, and I had to fire white phosphorous rounds across the river, and it was horrible stuff.  It just like blows up like fireworks, and it makes a smoke screen.  We were doing this originally just to protect the engineers, because they were making the bridge across there, but pretty soon I was throwing HG light, which was regular rounds, across there.  There was a cannon company behind us, and we didn’t realize they were there, and when the enemy fired back, they got hit, and they came up to us and said we’re getting out of here, you guys are shooting, and we’re getting the casualties.  The shells would go right over our heads, and into the cannon company.  Now the Germans were smart, we went out the next day, and we’re lucky we didn’t get hit.  That night we slept in this farmhouse, and there was this glass window over me, and I said I think I’ll cover my head tonight, just to be sure, and all of the sudden, we heard the awfullest noise you ever heard, it was just a screaming noise coming right at us.  The rockets, and we called them “screaming’ meemmies.”  They threw them in on us, and they went all the way around us, and shook that old farmhouse like crazy.  The only casualty was they knocked out the bi-pod on one of our mortars.  The next day, I wanted some water, and there was a little spring at the bottom of the hill, and I was walking along not paying much attention, and all of the sudden I heard Crack! Crack!  Those rifle bullets make that noise, which was unusual, and I dropped in the dirt, and crawled all the way back to camp, but that’s as close as I’ve come to getting sniped.

The Germans had a lot of weapons that were bad.  They had a shoe mine, which was a wooden box, and there was a chunk of TNT in there, and there was this hole so you could put a trigger in there.  And when you stepped on the box, it would explode the whole thing.  They used these underneath the snow so you couldn’t see it, and when you stepped on it, you’d blow a leg off.  They also had, I forget what they call it, a steel casing that was in the ground, and it had these steel balls inside it, and when it blew up, it tore up everything.  They planted these like crazy around their positions.  Our section leader got a silver star when he was in this one battle.  He went up to this one observation post, and when he got up there, a lieutenant said to him, “How in the hell did you get up there, I’ve been trying to get my men through there all day, but it’s full of mines.”  He said, “I just walked up.”  The lieutenant said, “Take me back and show me how you did it.”  And when he got back, the lieutenant wrote him up for a silver star.  He also got to go home early.

War is crazy because like I said, you didn’t know where you was at ever.  We were on occupation for awhile in a rural area, and we went from there to Czechoslovakia, and we were on the Russian demarcation line.  Czechoslovakia is a beautiful place, lots of historic places.  We camped in a building for a while, and we had it too easy.  Then they put us out in the woods, until they sent us home.  We actually had more trouble with the Czechs than with the Germans.  They were rounding up German soldiers, and selling them to the Russians who took ‘em to Russia to do God knows what with them, and we had to ship the Germans back into Germany.

When we were going home, we were right next to this airfield, and we took a picture of me next to this German airplane that we found.

You know how you see generals and soldiers with all these fancy bars and insignia on them, you want to know what they mean?  This here is the most important one, this here you have to be in combat to get.  This is the Combat Rifleman’s Badge.  When you go through training, you get the blue part, and when you go into combat you get the silver rifle on it.  These are dog tags.  When you get killed, one is shoved in your mouth, the other one, registration keeps.  You carry them all the time.  These insignias on the shoulders show what division you’re in; I was in the Ninety-fourth Division.  I went home with this one, the Eightieth Division.  They had to transfer me to another outfit to go home with them.  These are hash marks, you get one for each year you serve.  This one shows your expertise like rifleman, or mortar, or whatever you’re an expert on.   I carried a pistol on me, a 45’, and I said I’d throw it at them before I hit anything with it.  I never fired it once, all the way across Europe.  These are the stripes you get, each one for a tour of duty.  This is the badge you’re supposed to wear when you came home.  I never wore it, when I got out of the army I said that’s it, I’m done.  After my tour of duty in Europe, they offered me a position as a Sergeant in Japan, but I said no, so they said we’ll give you a free vacation in Paris when the war is over, and I said, I don’t want to go to Paris, I want to go home.

I’m lucky to have these.  I had to go to a congressman to get them, but I got them.  See these little bars; this one is a Victory Medal from World War II.  This one is for the Middle Eastern and European campaign.  If I would’ve served in the Battle of the Bulge, I would’ve had four stars on it instead of three.  This is the American Defense Medal which we got when we were in camp.  This one is interesting.  I got it when I got my medals, The Bronze Star.  There’s only three bigger medals than this, The Silver Star, The Congressional Medal of Honor, and The Purple Heart.  These were hard to get, when I made up my mind to get my medals, I went to the VA [Veterans Association], and the VA said no, so I went to the congressman who lived down the road from me, and I took my discharge papers and he said “Boy, you really saw a lot of action.”  And before I knew it I was getting boxes of medals.  A lot of people don’t realize these are medals when they see them in the box.  A lot of people have medals, but they don’t mean much.  They just show that they were there when the campaign was on.  The Bronze Star is what I’m really proud of.

 (I):  Did you take free stuff from people once you got the search warrant?

(A):  Yes actually, we were supposed to take it from them so they weren’t causing trouble with it, and it’s more stuff for us.  You know the Hitler Youth Group that you always hear about, well they had these knives, it was kind of like a machete, but it had the swastika on it.  Any way, I was in these people’s house and I opened this drawer in this desk, and I found the knife.  You should’ve seen the looks on their faces.  The kid there was about your age, but he nearly fainted when they saw I discovered it.  I guess they forgot to get rid of it when they confiscated all their Nazi stuff.  I don’t have it anymore, I gave it to one of my grandchildren.  I had a Nazi flag too, and three rifles, but I also got rid of them.

(I):  Did you see any of the concentration camps when you were there?

(A):  Kind of.  We passed one on our way to occupation duty, and they came out and cheered for us, But we heard about what had happened there earlier, and it was just a really horrific crime.

            Let me tell you something, if anybody tells you the army is the place to be, it’s not.  Once you sign your name to them, you sign away all your rights, you’re their baby, and they can do anything they want with you.  They could say, go out and get killed, and you’d have to get killed.  In our first battle, we had this SS outfit we had to attack.  There was this lieutenant who attacked their rifle company three times, and got defeated each time.  Patton said go out there and attack ‘em again, and he [the lieutenant] says I don’t want to do it.  And Patton says go to the back, we don’t need you.  Patton was a good leader, he won the war real quick, but it was his guts and our blood.  One thing we knew, and we knew one thing, when he got going he didn’t stop, like a freight train.

            A lot of the Germans we saw were old men.  When the war was over, I came up to this one German, and said do you speak English, and he said I was captured in the first World War and the British didn’t treat me to good, but I’m glad these are Americans, they’ll treat me better.  The only real battle I was in was against the SS Outfit, and I threw enough mortars at them, I don’t think they like me to well.  That white phosphorous, when it gets on your hands, the only way to get it off is to scrub real hard in water.  We were spreading it just like crazy towards the end of the war.

(I):  What kind of weapons and supplies were you equipped with when you left?

(A):  I was a mortar gunner, so I had a mortar, but I also carried a forty-five caliber pistol.  My crew had carbines, small carbines, and the section leader had a standard rifle.  When we got in it, the tank guys had these automatic pistols called grease guns.  And some of my crew traded their carbines for their grease guns.  That’s what happens, a lot of changing around, of course, they never said a word about it.  The Germans had these Schnauzer automatic guns, which were really powerful, and I fired one onetime.  I found one lying on the ground after this battle, and I picked it up and, man, I pulled the trigger, and Bam! I was pointing up in the air, and I threw the gun down and said, I don’t want that gun, It’s too powerful, It would take a man to hold it down while firing.

War can be funny at times, and other times it’s sad.  You live for today, you don’t worry about tomorrow, you live through today.  Anytime you poke your head above the trees, you have to be wary that someone was looking for you, because you never knew.  We [my outfit] were lucky, we didn’t have any casualties.  We had a couple close shaves.  We were coming up this hill one time, and we had a weapons carrier.  We carried all our weapons in it, and all our bags too.  And we were coming up the hill, and all of the sudden, out of nowhere, mortar shells start to ring out, just ahead of us, and our truck driver, he had it up on two wheels coming down the hill.  And one of my outfit got a piece of shrapnel in his finger, and he said he’d get a Purple Heart for it, and we kidded with him and said, you’re not going to get a Purple Heart for that.  And sure enough, he got a Purple Heart.  But we had a good driver for that.  When we originally went to France, we had two jeeps, with two trailers, for our supplies, but they had so many casualties that first battle, which I missed, that the medics came to us and said look, we got a weapons carrier, can we trade it for your two jeeps, because we can carry men on the jeeps easier.  So that’s how we got the weapons carrier.  We named it the Oakie Wagon because we looked like a bunch of Oakies when we rode on it.  We had a southern person in our outfit, and he didn’t like the name, but we thought it was just a neat thing because all the outfits were naming their vehicles at that time.

(I):  What was your food like?

(A):  Well, we always got one hot meal a day, guaranteed.  Sometimes it was late, and we’d have to wait till ten at night to get it, but we got it.  It was usually soup, and they’d give us crackers, and cigarettes with it.  Every other meal, was made using our ship rations which we had on us, which were mostly cans of beans, and soup, some bread and crackers, a candy bar, and a pack of cigarettes.  Now the cigarettes proved a problem for me because I don’t smoke because I’m asthmatic.  And I really minded my health when I was there, because it’s one thing you take for granted until you become one of those soldiers getting drunk and having sex with the locals, and then you don’t have anything anymore.  Anyway, since I didn’t smoke, I came up to the distributor and said don’t put cigarettes in my ration bags because I don’t smoke, and he said, you’ll take the rations the army gives you, but from that day forward they gave me the cheap cigarettes like Cools and stuff.  One day I was in the OT [Observation Tower] with these machine gunners, and they were out of cigarettes, and they really wanted some more, so I said, what do you got to trade for some, any chocolate or candy bars.  And they said sure, so I brought them up all the cartons of cigarettes I had been collecting and gave them to them.  The next day the two gunners came down into our camp with two helmets full of chocolate.  I continued trading like this for awhile, until a rumor was going around that I would be so easy for the Germans to capture, all they’d have to do was tie a candy bar to the end of a stick, and I’d follow it across their lines.  But I did become a chocoholic while I was over there.  Another incident was when I was in the hospital for my tooth, they gave me a new uniform and bag because they said, they probably took mine and scavenged it after I left the front.  So  when I got back, we were in this house one day, and the army cut our supply of cigarettes so many of the men were suffering from nicotine withdrawal.  They told me to go look in the basement for some, because there were some old bags down there and they might have some.  So I went down the stairs, and I found my old bag, with six cartons of cigarettes in it.  I tucked them under my arms so no one could see them, and came up and walked around the room.  And as I walked, everybody stared at me, until finally someone said, can we have a smoke, and I threw the cartons on the bed and said light up boys.

 

Glenn Maddy

by Boston  Beckley, 2007

 

World War II, Private 1st Class, Company L, 347-Regiment, 87th infantry division

 

RANKING AND WEAPONRY

 

Glenn Maddy, of Company L 347-Regiment, 87th infantry division, was the company messenger for the most of the war.  He was a private 1st class, and the description of his job was to basically relay messages to the headquarters from his company and to his company from the headquarters.  Mr. Maddy would also, yet very seldom, run messages to other platoons or companies. 

They would have a password you would have to know to be able to get through these areas that were like a checkpoint.  The password would change every day to reduce the likeability of the enemy figuring it out, and it worked because an enemy never got through without getting caught.  For example, one day the word you would have to know would be carrot and bugs bunny.  Alright, now you would come upon an area that someone would say, “Stop”, and you would have to say, “Carrot.”  The other person would say, “Rabbit”, and you would respond with, “Bugs Bunny”.  The password would change everyday so you would have to have a good memory, or else you wouldn’t ever have to go to church again because you would be so “hole”y. 

The passwords could be something very hard to remember or something like my example dealing with a show.  You would never know where the checkpoint would be either, because they would change where it would be at night and sometimes you could walk right up on them without even knowing they’re there. 

Glenn used a .30 caliber and only fired at Germans once, which was at the Battle of the Bulge.  The day he was captured he prayed to God while he was in the camp that he didn’t kill any, because he didn’t want to live with the fact that he killed somebody.         

 

YEARS AND POSITION STATIONED AT

 

Glenn Maddy was enlisted into the army at the age of seventeen and was in the army for roughly a little more than two years or twenty-seven months.  While he was in France, he was stationed in a southern city called Needergalbock.  While in Germany he was in Walshine and was in Bonnerue and Moircy while in Belgium.   

 

IMAGES AND MEMORIES

 

One of the most stressful situations for Glenn Maddy was while you would be sitting around with a group of your buddies, just resting, you would never know if they all were going to be there for the next gathering.  You wouldn’t know if they had gotten killed throughout the night or if they had to go to the medical ward for one reason or another.  Because of the way that things were, it was difficult to get too close to someone because you didn’t want to get too stressed out about a buddy coming up missing. 

No matter what a person said or acted like, you and everyone around you knew that you were thinking about it.  For example, out of his platoon, one hundred and eighty men came into this war, thirty-three men were out with trench foot, and thirty-four men were out as casualties.  When he got captured at the Battle of the Bulge, there were only five living prisoners, including himself, and only two of them were infantry and the others were paratroopers. 

The Battle of the Bulge started on December 16, 1944, in a town called Bastogne.  At a time during the battle when there was no firing going on, one of his buddies said that he had seen a shell come down during the fire that didn’t go off.  He got up and sneakily went over to the area that was described to him as to where it had landed.  Well enough, it was there and he has the shell to this very day. 

Glenn also recalls observing a bunch of men holding back a fellow soldier from killing a German prisoner.  The man had witnessed his fellow Italian buddy being killed by this prisoner. 

I also recall him telling me repeatedly that nobody ever wanted to go out to the front line if they had a chance.  Mr. Maddy told me that there was a group of young men that were getting ready to go to the front line.  As they were getting loaded onto the transport vehicle the were making cries like, “Lets go get us some Germans”, “I bet I can kill twenty of them before you do”, and other sayings and bets.  Well, after they came back and found out they had to go back to the front line again, these soldiers where like rag dolls.  The officers had to literally load the men into the vehicle by picking up all their body weight and giving them a toss. 

The first men to get onto the transport vehicle would lie down because they knew from experience what they would come upon, and the men not so lucky to be able to lie down, were forced to sit on the seats and duck. 

Glenn also recalls passing through London and seeing the buildings burning, some burnt down to the ground.  Of course, it was all caused by bombings.  In passing through France, all around the water ways there were shells and debris.  Also in France he recalls seeing a woman knocking the dried cement off of the bricks in the rubble of her house in order to build a new house with those same bricks.  He later realized that the reason for using the same bricks was because she was too poor to be able to just go get some new ones. 

Mr. Maddy described to me the first time he had seen death on the field, and it was when he was transporting a message from the headquarters to his platoon.  He saw seven or nine crosses and further on down the path, he saw four British soldiers just sprawled out on the side of the road.  He couldn’t believe that people were just walking past them and acting like it was nothing.  He said that he walked a few yards up ahead, sat down and cried, while thanking God for letting him still be alive.           

 

VIEWS OF THE FAMILY AND COUNTRY

 

            One major point that Glenn Maddy pointed out to me, and it was the first thing he said to me when I got to his house to interview him, was that he feels like he is obligated to inform and tell people what war is like.  He said that he knows his family supported him on going to war.  Not only did they tell him that, but the fact that when he joined the army he was only seventeen, and he had to get permission from his parents. 

One of the main reasons he joined in the army was because he wanted to join up with an older buddy of his from high school.  Mr. Maddy doesn’t like war, but if someone’s mind is stuck on going in, then he will be there to support him or her.  He also told me that he is very proud of his step-grandson, who at this present time is in training to become a navy seal. 

Another thing that was appealing to him was that his family didn’t really have that much money.  He knew if he went into the army, when he got out, the army was going to pay for his college.  Glenn also told me that there is a distinct line between supporting the war and not supporting the war.  He said there is no such thing as supporting the soldiers and not the war, because the people you’re supporting are supporting the war.  In other words, if you support someone in a war, then you also support the war. 

About a year after he had joined, he found out that his brother had joined too.  He prayed to God that if anything bad was to happen that it would happen to him and not his brother.  Mr. Maddy encourages anyone to join the military, because it will make them more appreciative, and if they are cocky, it will help them become an adult and straighten them up.  He has also been all around the world, since the war, visiting fifty-four different countries.  

 

LIFE AS A POW

 

            Glenn Maddy was captured and sent to Limburg (Stalag XII A) during the Battle of the Bulge.  He was only nineteen years old at the time.  During his time as a prisoner of war he lost fifty pounds.  He went into the camp weighing 165 pounds, and when he was liberated he was only 115 pounds.  Glenn also whore the same clothes from December 26 to April 24.  He spent one hundred and five days in camp!

The most common disease was dysentery, and something that everyone had was the common head and body lice.  An image that he says he will always have is the bunk mate who was across from him would scratch at his lice until he bled.  On top of that, the flies would be attracted to the smell of rotting flesh. 

While he was in the camp he would smoke one butt a day, because smoking limited the hunger.  The prisoners were fed once a day.  They were given two to three boiled potatoes, one cup of rutabaga soup, and one-seventh of a piece of German bread.  To limit the chances of catching a disease and in hopes of getting some exercise, he would volunteer to work.  It would get him out of the camp. 

He had lost so much weight by the time he was liberated that his belt was being held up by just his hip bones.  While he was in the camp his finger got infected, and he went to see the camp doctor, who was also the cook.  He just cut out the infection with a knife and let the puss ooze out.  With no pain medicine, the doctor bandaged up the wound with crept paper and sent him on his way. 

Not many people, that he heard, tried to escape.  A friend of his though decided, during the work time one day that he was going to escape.  After the guards made the first head check, his friend took off to get the most time possible to get away.  For the next head count, and for two more, they kept on telling the guards that he was at the bathroom.  Eventually the guards picked up on the fact that he had escaped.  They made them go back to the camp.  Nobody else that he knew tried to escape, because like he told me, there was no place to go.  From then on out there were no more working brakes. 

Another thing I asked Mr. Maddy was if he or any other men tried to learn any German.  He said that you would learn the necessary words or sayings but that was all.   No one bothered to learn any more. 

On April 16, the prisoners had been hearing rumors about being liberated.  Later they heard a tank coming.  They weren’t sure whose tank it was.  When the guards realized it was a British tank, some of them took off and others chose to stay.  Glenn said that as soon as he realized they were about to be liberated, he took off to get some pork. When he arrived to the spot where it normally was, it was all gone.  When the British got down to the camp they took all the guards and put them into one barracks.  The soldiers started giving their rations to the prisoners. 

Finally General Montgomery arrived.  He ordered that every prisoner was to be given ten cigarettes and a loaf of bread until more supplies were due to arrive.  Even though the prisoners were liberated, they were forced to live in the camp until they found somewhere else to put them, which was approximately one week.  When the prisoners got home they were given five meals a day to get back up to their normal body weight.     

 

Charles H. Meek

by Erica Meek, 2007

 

Korean Conflict, Sergeant, Airman 1st Class, U.S. Air Force

 

Personal Stories

 

~Chuck Meek enlisted in the Air Force in Toledo, Ohio.  My grandpa then went to basic training, which was at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, for six weeks then had ten days leave.  He said during basic training, he got an electric shaver sent to him from home because he was having problems shaving with a safety razor. 

 

~He didn’t like going to the rifle range to learn how to shoot or clean the guns.  Also he hated having to go into sealed chambers with gas masks on.  Then it was necessary to take them off and get a whiff of the gas so he knew what effect it would have on him.

 

~After basic training, he went to a communication school in Wyoming.  He was on Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  He said one day, he and a few other guys went into town in some of the few civilian clothes they had and saw some girls.  The girls saw their military shoes though and didn’t want anything to do with them since they would be leaving.  

 

~After he had completed communication school in Wyoming, he had fifteen days leave.  Following that he went to Korea.  To get there he took a ship, the USS Breckenridge, across the ocean for a little over two weeks.  The showers were strictly saltwater and he was never seasick.  He slept in a hammock and ate at a counter.  He remembered that when he was on the ship going down to different levels, he would put both his arms out and slide down the railings.  They sometimes showed movies on deck when the weather was good and he saw Casablanca for the first time.  He landed in Japan and was taken over to behind the 38th parallel in Korea, where he was stationed, in a military transport plane.

 

~He particularly remembers officers and how he didn’t like them the most.  He said that every time you passed one you had to salute, even if it was the same one ten times a day.  He also hated his drill sergeant. 

 

~He never had any jail time but thought he might have gotten close a time or two because of his smart-aleck attitude. 

 

~When his tour in Korea was over, he rode a ship for two weeks to get back to California.  He landed in San Luis Obispo, California.  From there he hitchhiked home, even though my grandma told him not to.  He returned home, married his sweetheart, Dorothy Lee, and then went to Maine where he was stationed next. 

 

~He was assigned to a Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine and he had the same job as in Korea.  He lived in a trailer in Maine that was seven miles from the ocean.  They went through three hurricanes in 1954 by tying two huge ropes over the top and putting a steel bar in the ground to hold the trailer down.  At the base there were a fleet of planes called Hurricane Hunters.  They would fly in the eye of the hurricanes. 

 

~There was no hospital where they were stationed, so when my aunt was born, they had to drive eighty-five miles to a hospital on a base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine.  (The base was split between the towns.)

 

~During the holidays some of the well-known entertainers of the time would come over to put on shows for the troops.  Some of the ones he remembered were Bob Hope, Eddie Fisher and Connie Frances.

 

~He was paid every month but it didn’t amount to much. 

 

~It took eighteen and a half hours to drive straight through to get back to Fremont.

 

~He was released from the service a few weeks early, much to his delight.

 

Interview

 

Were you drafted or did you enlist?

Charles Meek enlisted in the United States Air Force on November 15, 1951. 

Did you want to join or was it just something you had to do?

He enlisted because it was something he had to do or otherwise he would have been drafted.  He joined because he could choose what service to go into, instead of automatically being put in the armed forces on the front lines.

Did you like it?

He didn’t really like the Air Force because of the discipline and that some people his age gave him orders.

Did you make friends?

He made friends while he was there but he didn’t keep in touch with them after the war. 

How was the food?

The food was mostly good.  After basic training, he said he could go to the px store (post exchange) and get ice cream.  The only food he became so sick of, he hated it was shit on a shingle or dried beef gravy over toast.

What was your favorite part?

His favorite part was knowing he was helping his country and that there was adventure of seeing different countries. 

What did you do for recreation?

For recreation most people played cards, read or on the training bases, went to the movie theater.  A lot of time was also spent letter writing.

Did you get vacation time?

He had vacation time of thirty days annually, so in his four years in the service he had about four months off.  After each basic training and communication school he also received about two weeks off.  The time off after basic and communication school were included in the thirty days leave per year.

What did you buy when you were there?

During his R&R, he went to Tokyo, Japan and bought a tea set, little boat, vases, pajamas, silk fans, pictures and sets of china to send home to his future wife.

Did you travel to other areas or did you stay in one spot?

He was stationed in a southern part of Korea, in the city of Pusan, on an Air Force base.  He slept in a tent with a potbelly stove to keep warm.  When he was in Korea, he stayed in the same spot, on the Air Force base.  

Why did you choose the Air Force?

He choose the Air Force because he didn’t want to be a rifleman in the army and see combat.  He hoped he could help by serving away from the front lines. 

Were you ever in danger of being shot?

No one really shot at them since he was in South Korea, but you could carry a pistol or rifle if you wanted to.  During the day, he normally didn’t carry a weapon but if he had a night shift he would usually carry a firearm with him. 

How long were you in Korea?

He was in Korea for a total of fourteen months.  At one point when his brother, Rich, was hurt, he went north on a military transport plane to see him.  This was during his R&R.

 

Job Description

 

In Korea, he was on an Air Force base in the southern Korean town, Pusan.  His job was teletype messages, communication and codes.  Because of the nature of his job, he asked me not to put more than this description.

 

Emerson B. Messinger

by Andrew Aseltine, 2005

 

Korean Conflict, Captain, U.S. Navy

 

Emerson B. Messinger’s Story

 

Emerson B. Messinger was born on September 15, 1930 in Toledo, Ohio and lived there almost his entire life.  He was drafted into the military in 1951.  He served in the Navy.

            In the Navy, he got up to as high of rank as Captain.  He served in Korea in 1952 and was in the Navy up until 1957.  He worked on board a minesweeper in the Korean Conflict and worked on one later in his career in the Taiwanese Straight.  He was on board the USS Carmick, which was a minesweeper in Korean waters.  Their duty was to find out the position of mines in Korean waters and mark their locations.  They could then figure out safe paths for ships to travel or try to disable the mines.  He worked as a crew hand on board the Carmick.

            After he served in the Navy, he came back to Ohio.  Emerson then worked as a broker, for almost the next thirty-five years.  He retired in 1995 from Prudential Securities.  He ended up contracting cancer in his spinal cord, which ravaged his body.  He died on January 22, 2000 from the cancer.

 

Obituary

 

Emerson Bronson Messinger- Emerson Bronson Messinger, 69, died on January 22, 2000.  Christened at birth with two historic family names, he was commonly called “Brunny,” “E. B.,” “Em,” and “Gus.”  He attended the University of Toledo and the University of Michigan, graduating in the late 1950’s.  He was a retired Navy Captain who served on a fleet minesweeper in Korean waters and the Taiwanese straight.  In addition, he served as a retired division officer and commanded a reserve surface ship.  He remained an avid sailor throughout his life.

            He was a securities broker who started in the business with the Toledo firm of Collin Norton Company, which was later merged into Kidder Peabody & Company.  In the mid-1960’s, he joined the firm of Ball, Burge & Kraus, which was later merged with Prescott, Merrill, Turbin.  In 1970, he joined Foster Bros. Weber & Company, and entered into the investment banking business in addition to maintaining his brokerage accounts.  While he was at Foster Bros. Weber & Company, the firm was acquired by Bache, Halsey, Stewart, Sheilds, which in turn was acquired by Prudential Securities.  He retired from Prudential Securities in 1995.

            He is survived by his daughter, Michelle M. Aseltine, her husband, Chris, and two grandchildren of Fremont, Ohio; his son, Jeffrey B. Messinger, his wife, Mary, and one grandchild of Hillsborough, NC, and his son, Gregory W. Messinger, his wife, Dawn, and two grandchildren of Mebane, NC; his brother, John C. Messinger and his wife, Martha, and two nieces and three nephews of Toledo, Ohio; his former wife, Judith C. Messinger of Durham, NC, and his friend Sharon Robinson of Toledo, OH.

            No visitation is planned.  A private graveside service will be held at the family plot in the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 135 Chesterfield Lane, Suite 100, Maumee, OH, 43537-2259, or to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, 30000 East River Road, Perrysburg, OH, 43551.  Arrangements made by Walker Funeral Home, 841-2422.

 

James Walter O’Brien

2005

 

World War II, T-4 Technician, U.S. Army

 

James Walter O’Brien’s Story

 

James Walter O’Brien was born at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1924.  Jim was older than Patrick and huskier as well.  Along with the rest of his family, Jim was not very close to his father, but he was close to his four other brothers.  Later in High School, Jim and his friends decided to join the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  When Jim was about 16 or 17 years old, he joined the ARMY along with friends.  Jim was extremely enthusiastic about the army.  Jim was a T-4 Technician in the Army tank Battalion.  He was also a dispatch carrier on a motorcycle.  O’Brien joined the army along with a bunch of friends and had to train for 32 weeks before he left for San Francisco, California.  Once in San Francisco, nobody was allowed to call home because the mission was so secret.  From San Francisco, Jim’s Battalion stopped at Honolulu, Hawaii, where Jim visited his birthplace.  From there it was off to the Philippine Islands, the mission: to hold off the Japanese so they couldn’t attack Australia or New Zealand.  For five months the men lived off of the islands and fought with old ammunition and artillery.  Even with the old ammo and artillery, the men (u.s. men) were so good that the strong and mighty General Homma had to be brought in.  Then they were captured by the Japanese and taken on the Bataan Death March.  Each day was hell and after the march, Jim was then taken to Cabana Tuan Prison Camp where he was tortured.  Because the Japanese held such great hatred for large people (tall, husky, fit or built), Ralph was tortured horribly.  If the prisoners were lucky, they were given two handfuls of rice a day.  Ralph died of dysentery, malnutrition and torture.  Jim’s body was thrown out in a meadow and later found after the camp was abandoned.  He was later part of a twin burial with his brother Ralph O’Brien in Port Clinton, Ohio.

 

Patrick William O’Brien, Jr.

2005

 

World War II, Helmsman, Watchman, U.S. Navy

 

PATRICK O’BRIEN’S STORY

 

Patrick O’Brien was born in Port Clinton, Ohio, on January 3rd, 1926.  Because there were no hospitals for babies to be born in, unless the delivery was difficult, Patrick was born in his home on Second Street to Amanda Von Eitzen and Patrick William O’Brien, Sr. Because of a New York Building fire, Patrick’s birth records were destroyed.  Pat was the middle of his four other brothers (in order of age) Bill, Jim, Ralph, Patrick, and last but not least, George.  Growing up, “The Five O’Brien boys,” as they were called, were well known in Port Clinton and especially on their neighborhood block.  Patrick loved to box against his brother Ralph. Every Saturday night for about three years, boxing matches would be held in the O’Brien boys’ front yard.  The neighborhood people would gather around to watch Ralph and Pat duke it out and after that match was won, other neighborhood men would box.  Grandpa Patrick had many jobs while in the NAVY.  A very meticulous job O’Brien had was that of a Helmsman.  He worked four hour shifts on and off with another NAVY man for 30 days.  Another job was a watch for the ship. This is where he would be on the lookout for any enemy bombers or Kamikaze’s. When I usually ask my grandpa about stories from his “Navy Days,” he either takes a long, sad sigh or says, “I just can’t right now, sorry Honey.”  But, there’s one story that somehow, he finds it in him to tell it. One day my grandpa was on watch ( in a gun tower), along with some other buddies of his.  There were a few other ships around his Amphibs. LST 578 including their sister ship LST 577 and an ammunition ship John Burke.   As he was on watch, there was a light buzzing that grew to be loud and suddenly a ton of  kamikazes were flying above.  They were diving all over.  My grandpa was manning his watch station, firing at those Japs, trying to get rid of them. Just before his eyes, his sister ship with about 148 men on board blew up and was gone off the face of the earth all within a single millisecond.  The Ammunition ship was soon sunken as well but somehow, God saved Patrick’s ship and the men on board it.  Another day, a Japanese submarine attacked his ship, LST 578, but it miraculously survived three torpedoes.  One torpedo was launched in front of the ship, one went directly behind the ship and one in the middle of the ship.  The middle torpedo went a couple feet under the ship and hit the LST 577.  This ship was my grandpa’s sister ship.  The torpedo cut the ship in half killing some crewmembers on board and the other half of the crew was picked up on another ship.  The other half of the ship was sunk to get it out of the way.  My grandpa and the rest of the crew aboard were greatly blessed!  The reason that we believe Patrick and his ship lived was because of the Albatross.  It’s an old sea myth that if an Albatross (a bird with a six foot wing span) lands on a ship, then that ship is saved.  My grandpa had an amazing encounter with an Albatross.  One bright night he was on watch looking for enemies and suddenly an Albatross decided to roost on the ship.  After it left, the mighty bird had blessed the ship because later on they were targeted.  During Patrick’s senior year in high school, he and his friends decided to join the Navy and enlist for World War Two, not thinking that he wouldn’t be finishing High School.  After 57 years of waiting Patrick finally received both he and his two brothers’ diplomas in July of 2002.

 

Ralph Wilber O’Brien

2005

 

World War II, Paratrooper, 82nd Airborne

 

RALPH WILBER O’BRIEN’S STORY

 

Ralph Wilber O’Brien was born in Port Clinton, Ohio.  Growing up, Ralph had a very strict, military father and as a result he was never very close to him.  Ralph and his mother were inseparable.  While serving in World War Two, Ralph constantly wrote letters to his mother enclosing his love for her along with money.  O’Brien was a very fit man who was always ready for a challenge.  When Pat would challenge Ralph to a running or boxing match, Ralph usually won.  Patrick saw Ralph for the very last time in Camp Pickett, Virginia; Ralph was in Camp Pickett to treat a broken leg.  Ralph was a paratrooper in the 82nd airborne unit.  Ralph broke a leg during a practice jump.  Soon after recovery and seeing Pat, he ‘played catch-up’ to get back to battalion.  Before he could rejoin his battalion, he was assigned to a field artillery unit and found himself in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.  Ralph O’Brien was killed when a plane dive-bombed into him and killed him instantly in Lammersdorf, Germany.  Because Jim O’Brien was killed before Ralph, his body was shipped and held in Washington, D.C., until Jim O’Brien’s body arrived.  The two brave brothers’ bodies were buried in a twin funeral in September of 1948.

 

Charles W. Porter

2005

 

World War II, Combat Military Police, U.S. Army

 

CHARLES PORTER’S STORY

 

Charles W. Porter, my step-grandfather, was drafted into the army on November 18, 1942 and was deferred until graduation in 1943, at Ross High School.  During this time, Howard “Gob” Laub, his science teacher, held classes every morning before school started in the use of the slide rule, math tables, electrical tables, physics, and anything pertaining to military equipment he could teach.

            His basic training took place at Camp Hahn, California with the 126th AA Gun Battalions.  They had 90-mm anti-aircraft guns plus qualifying with small arms and fifty caliber machine guns.  They were also sent to Camp Erwin in Death Valley for live firing and maneuvers and to Lake Meerock, a P38 Base for firing exercises against fighter aircraft.  Due to the education my grandfather had, he was assigned to radar operations, which was one of the first radars used by the Army.  It took 31 days to reach New Caledonia in a coal fired Italian liner, which got out just before the Nazis took over.  They continued to Port Moresby, the southern end of British New Guinea.  The next step was Goodmuff Island, which was the most misnamed place he had ever been.  They met up with the 236th Searchlight Battalion at Buna Finchaven airway, replacing men lost to the invasion.

            Marines were holding Cape Gloucester while the Japanese were on the other side of the island at Rabul, supporting anti-aircraft guns and patrolling the perimeter were their duties.  They returned to Finchaven for rest, then loaded invasion forces for Halindia (Dutch New Guinea), and rejoined.

            They were assigned to combat MP and ordered to the Philippines.  The reason for being moved to combat MP was that the Japanese was so beat up and destroyed, there was no more reason to be looking for them with a searchlight, and thus the transfer.  They landed at Manila, taking positions in support of troops attacking Japanese held up in caves.  They were sent to patrol the area between Manila and Bataan including the highway, which was used for the Bataan Death March.  Their battalion moved on to San Fernando, and was given intensive training in Spanish Law dealing with military and civilian issues.  The 1st companies tried to cover the “hot spots” of enemy and civilian insurrections.

            He was ordered by two CIC Officers (Counter Intelligence Corps) to chauffeur them around Clark Field, Mt. Oriot, Magalong, Contaba and act as their gun guard as he was qualified with small arms to protect them.  They were collecting information about subversive activities.  Another soldier and my grandfather were assigned the same duties in another area and, via the jungle telegraph, the Filipinos had learned 2 atomic bombs were dropped on Japan.  They went to headquarters to verify the news and discovered it was certainly true.  The rest of his tour of duty consisted of gathering info and MP duties.

            The Liberty Ship “Christopher Green Eyes” was caught in a typhoon on the way home and they finally arrived in San Francisco on Jan. 15, 1946.  He was discharged at Camp Atterburg, on Jan. 24, 1946.  The GI Bill sent him to college at Baldwin Wallace University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Economics and pursued a career in the finance world.

 

Tom Reed,

by Jacob Wagner, 2007

 

1980-1983, U.S. Air Force

 

Interview with Tom Reed

 

Q. What branch of the military were you in?

A. I was in the 101st airborne division, Bravo 4.

 

Q. How long did you serve?

A. I served between 1980 and 1983.

 

Q. Why did you join the air force?

A. I had gotten into some trouble and a judge told me I had to do something with my life or I will have to go to jail.  So I joined.

 

Q. Where were you stationed?

A. I was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

 

Q. What were some of your duties?

A. I was in charge of firing the Gatling gun at low flighing aircraft and I also help at a satellite station which sent the information about the aircrafts to the computer on the Gatling gun.

 

Q. Did you ever see combat?

A. No, when war broke out I was too old to go.

 

Q. Did you have any special ranking?

A. Yes I was an E-5.

 

Tom Reed’s Personal Story

 

            The first time I jumped out of airplane they basically pushed me out.  I was scared of heights and didn’t want to.  I had just graduated out of jump school and needed to get some hands on experience.  The man behind me seemed to push me out every time we went to jump.  At first I didn’t want to but then I got used to it and every time seemed like a party.  When you went out that door and the cord yanked your parachute out, it was a feeling I can’t explain.  You just seemed free and there was nothing holding you down.  There just is nothing that can replace that feeling.

 

Tom Reed’s Duties

 

            Tom Reed was an E-3 who was in the 101st airborne division, and Bravo 4 was his unit.  He never saw combat but did serve his country.  He was trained at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

            He was in charge of firing a Gatling gun at low filching aircraft.  There would be a satellite dish that would send information to a computer attached to the gun that showed the ordinance of the aircraft.  Tom would then aim the gun and fire.  This weapon can shoot 6,000 bullets in one minute which would tear through its targets.

 

Joe Reyes

by Kaylee Halm, 2007

 

1982-2005 (including Operation Enduring Freedom), Tech Sergeant

 

Interview with Joe Reyes

 

Q: When where you born?
A: "April 7th, 1955."

Q: Where were you born?
A: "I was born in Puerto  Rico and came to the U.S. two years after I was born."

Q: When did you join the Air Force?
A: "I joined in 1982 which made me 27 years old."

Q: Did you have any basic training before starting in the Air Force?
A: "Yes, I had training in 6 weeks in Texas."

Q: After Texas and basic training, what did you do?
A: "I went to Illinois for 3 months then went to my first base in Rome New York."

Q: What was the name of your first base?
A: "It was Griffiss."

Q: How long were you there?
A: "For about 5 years."

Q: What was your job when you were in the Air Force?
A: "I worked on the aircraft, basically fixing stuff."

Q: Did you work for a certain company for fixing things?
A: "I worked for Red Horse."

Q: Does Red Horse do anything outside of Air Force?
A: "We do work for Fremont, stuff for the community and did paving."

Q: What was some of your jobs while working for Red Horse?
A: "I fixed aircrafts, worked on the B2 Bomber and I built living quarters for troops."

Q: How long did it take to build living quarters for the troops?
A: "We could build a town for them in a matter of days."

Q: Did you have a rank; if so, what was yours?
A: "I was the Tech. Sargent."

Q: Since you just worked on fixing things, did you have any weapons?
A: "No, the only weapon I had used was the M16 and that was during basic training."

Q: How many times did you go to Iraq?
A: "I went three times. The first time was 2 weeks in 2000, second time was 3 months in 2002 and the third time was a year in 2005.

Q: Did you get injured at all while being in the Air Force?
A: "The only injury I ever got was when I jumped off the truck and twisted my ankle."

Q: What was one of the most weird encounters you came across?
A: "I saw a lot of camel back spiders that were about a ruler long that was lime green."

Q: Did anyone get a purple heart?
A: "There was only 3 people that got them."

Q: How long were you in the Air Force?
A: "I was in it for 20 years."

 

Job Description


            While Joe Reyes was in the Air Force, his job was to work on air crafts. He also worked on building housing for the troops fighting in the war. He said that they could build housing for the troops in a matter of days. He worked for Red Horse (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineering) They are trained units that are equipped to make heavy repairs, upgrade airfields and facilities. Red Horse. They also repaired aluminum matting runways, drilled wells to obtain drinkable water, crushed stone for roads and runways, repaired damage caused by enemy attacks, constructed and upgraded operational facilities and housing, erected aircraft revetments, and installed aircraft arresting barriers and airfield lighting systems. They even help out the community.  Red Horse volunteers rebuild homes damaged by fire and weather.  They also help out at local schools, refugee camps and even orphanages.

 

Personal Story for Joe Reyes

 

      When Joe was in the air foce, he had orders to go to Okinawa. If you were single and didn't have a family, you could swap places with someone that did have a family so they wouldn't have to go over sea. Since Joe had a family, a single guy asked if he wanted to swap places. Joe wasn't sure where he'd go but it'd be anywhere better than Okinawa. He ended up getting to go to Rome, New York. That was the hometown of the guy he swapped with. The guy asked to swap back but Joe said no. The other guy ended up going over to Okinawa like he was supposed to. And Joe went to Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York.

 

Ross Rodriguez

by Jacob Wagner, 2007

 

Operation Desert Storm, First Class Petty Officer, U.S. Navy

 

Interview with Ross Rodriguez

 

Q. What branch of the military were you in?

A. I was in the Navy.

 

Q. How long did you serve in the Navy?

A. I was in the Navy for 12 years because I had a diesel engine explode on me and had battery acid leek into my boot and was on medical leave for a while and couldn’t resign up because President Bush senior was reducing the size of the military.

 

Q. Where were you stationed?

A. I was trained at the San Diego Navel training Center for a few months.  After that I traveled all over the world to Thailand, Hawaii, Massillon, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippians, and Malaysia.

 

Q. What were some of your duties in the Navy?

A. I had eight guys under me and I was also the chief engineer on the damage control unit.

 

Q. Did you have any special rank while in the Navy?

A. Yes I was a 2nd class petty officer but after my honorable discharge I received a letter in the mail stating I was promoted to 1st class petty officer.

 

Ross Rodriguez’s Duties

 

            Ross Rodriguez was a first class petty officer in the U.S. Navy.  He served for twelve years and fought in the Desert Storm War.  He was trained at the San Diego NTC.  He would have served for many more years if he wouldn’t have been injured.

            Ross was in charge of an eight man unit that served on the U.S.S. Rentz.  On board he was the chief engineer of the damage control unit.  On board they helped fight firers and if they ever had to they knew how to fix a hole in the side of the ship or a leak.  He also helped by fixing motors that needed to be repaired.

 

John Roush

2005

 

Vietnam War, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force

 

JOHN ROUSH’S STORY

 

Captain John Roush of the United States Air Force fought in the Vietnam War.  He became a member of the Air Force in 1963.  When Roush retired in 1989, he was a Lieutenant Colonel.  Roush says the reason he enlisted in the Air force was for “fun, fame and fortune.”  Also, his father wanted him to go because there wasn’t enough room for him on the family farm.  So, Roush decided to go because it was more exciting than staying in Lindsey, Ohio, to farm.  His second option was to go to college to be a preacher.  Roush’s third option was to major in Agriculture at Ohio State University.  But in the end, Roush chose to go into the military.   Before going to Vietnam, Roush had many experiences.  He was an instructor pilot at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama.  There, Roush taught many people to be pilots.  He later volunteered to be a Forward Air Controller (FAC) OV10-a liaison army pilot. Both of these things were good to do to be promoted in the service.  Roush had training in Cannon Air Force Base in June 1969.  There he had gunnery training, which Roush thought was very fun.  He took his wife, Diane, there for some of the time.  In July of 1969, he went to Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  Roush says, “That was like a vacation!”  In August of 1969, Roush was sent to Vietnam.  On the way there, while waiting in California, he saw his sister and visited some friends.  Roush also worked at an orphanage while waiting.  When he got to Vietnam, he stayed in a hooch at the Bien Hoa Air Base that was about 20 miles away from Saigon.  Roush thought the hooch was very nice.  Every day their hooch maid would clean their boots, which got very dirty.  She also cooked for them sometimes.  One event that Roush will never forget happened while he was in Vietnam.  He had a kidney stone and had to get it taken care of in a hospital. When Roush went on missions, he carried a pistol and a survivor vest with him.  Every time they saw flashes they knew it was enemy fire.  He was very lucky and only one thing ever happened to his airplane.  Shrapnel from a bomb that exploded on the ground once hit it.  The airplanes were equipped with machine guns, rockets, and whatever bombs were necessary.  Pilots went and bombed where they were told to.  Others went in afterward to see the damage.  Roush never saw anyone get hurt while he was in Vietnam.  He didn’t see the enemy eye to eye like the army did.  One time Roush went with a reporter on a helicopter to see where Agent Orange had been used.  After Roush had been in Vietnam for a while, he was transferred to Saigon where he gathered information from the field and prepared a new briefing each day.  He had his own room in Saigon, which he enjoyed.  Roush had to tell the press how the war was gong.  The meetings were at 4:00 in the afternoon.  He never told about things that were important.  One thing Roush was always asked about was if we were bombing in Laos.  The United States had said they weren’t bombing there and weren’t allowed to.  Roush said, “The silliest thing I ever said is we haven’t since June 31, 1968.  There are only 30 days in June!”  While in Saigon, Roush saw a lot of kids.  He played handball and also had a bicycle from Bangkok that cost $30.  Roush says he tried his hardest but was ashamed because he escaped a lot of the displeasures of warfare.  He took a week’s leave to Sydney, Australia, to see his sister and then went to Hawaii with his wife.  Roush was happy to see his family and take a break from the war.  While over in Vietnam, he also purchased a Chinese Communist Rifle, which he brought home.  After Roush returned to the United States, he just continued on with life.  But, he did get a few awards.  One award he received was an air medal.  He also got a joint service commendation medal and ribbons.  Looking back on his experience, Roush says he was glad he had a choice of what military branch to become a member of because the Air Force was nice.  He also says, “The flying was great!”  His view on the war was this: “We didn’t fight to win – if we did that then Americans would have supported us more.  We could have hurt North Vietnam, and the Vietcong would have lost without North Vietnam, but the United States didn’t do that.”

 

Maynard G. Sanders

by Jessica Kiser, 2005

 

World War II, Technician 4th Grade, U.S. Army

 

Maynard G. “Pete” Sanders was born in McKenney, Virginia, on March 1, 1920 to Frank E. and Effie (Fannin) Sanders.  He attended school in Ashland, Kentucky.  On December 22, 1946, he married Mary Elizabeth Shoup.  They lived on South Street and had one son, Frank, and have two grandchildren, Chloe and Fred.  He served with the U.S. Army as a diesel mechanic during World War II in Europe.  As a Technician 4th Grade stationed at European Theater with the Headquarters and Service Company 818 Engineer Aviation Battalion, he repaired and build airstrips and fields that were mainly in England and Holland.  His discharge papers state that he took part in the D-Day battle at Normandy, and other battles and campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe.  He earned a FAME Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Ribbon, Rifle Marksman, and a lapel button for his service.  War information according to Mr. Sanders’ wife, Mary: “I remember from his letters that he spent several months in the countryside in Holland with a small group repairing an unused airstrip.  They lived in a convent with the nuns.  He wrote about how hard these women worked in the fields growing and caring for crops. “The soldiers shared a ‘common’ room in the evening with the nuns.  It was heated with a pot-bellied little black stove  - their only source of heat.  The asked me in a letter to send him some popcorn.  I did and he got it.  According to him the nuns were amazed and delighted.  They had never seen popcorn.” Inducted: April 18, 1942 Separation: October 7, 1945.  He retired in 1982 from the American Federation of Labor Union in Toledo after being a carpenter for many years.  Some organizations he belonged to include: Hayes Memorial United Methodist Church, Fremont Elks Lodge, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Jointers of America.  Mr. Sanders died on April 7, 2002, at the age of 82, at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky due to Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Obituary

 

The News Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, April 8, 2002

March 1, 1920 to April 7, 2002

 

Maynard “Pete” Sanders, 82, of South Street dies Sunday at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky.  He was born in McKenney, Va., to Frank E. and Effie (Fannin) Sanders and attended school in Ashland, KY.  He served with the U.S. Army during World War II in Europe, which included the D-Day battle at Normandy.  He earned four Bronze Stars for his service.  He married Mary Elizabeth Shoup on Dec. 22, 1940, in Fremont and she survives.  Mr. Sanders worked as a carpenter for the American Federation of Labor Union in Toledo, retiring in 1982.  He was a member of Hayes Memorial United Methodist Church, Fremont Elks Lodge and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Jointers of America.  Also surviving are son Frank E. of Houston, Texas; sisters Maxine Gibbons of Panama City Beach, Fla., and Betty Rose Stewart of New Orleans, La.; two grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.  Sister Ernestine King and brothers Jack and Dr. Ted Sanders precede him.  Graveside services:  10 a.m. Thursday, Oakwood Cemetery.  Memorials: Donor’s choice.  Arrangements: Nopper-Karlovetz Mortuary.

 

Arthur Shiley

by Boston Beckley, 2007

 

Vietnam War, Military Police

 

RANKING AND WEAPONRY

 

While Arthur was in the service, he was part of the military police which is kind of like the police around any town just with a lot more responsibility.  You could basically say that they were an elite police force.  They would patrol areas or they could be a patrol supervisor.  They traded sometimes with other recons to get what they needed.  They were even required to interrogate men if necessary.  They were a kind of peace maker.

The weaponry in which he carried was a .45(hand gun) and an m1911A1.  His job covered a variety of experiences.  Arthur told me that one night he and the other MPs got a call of about a disturbance.  When they came upon the area of the call there was a group of drunken soldiers that were beating the crap out of each other in the middle of a field.  Well, instead of getting in there and breaking it up and probably getting hit at the same time, they let the men fight it out until they were all knocked out.  It was much easier for them to arrest them.   From that point on the same men, every once in a while, would do the same thing and the outcome would be the same, too. 

 

YEARS AND POSITION STATIONED AT

 

Arthur Shiley served in the Vietnam War, and when he was first stationed in Germany he was a Speck 4.   He was later made into an E5.  The time he served first was served at Dai-an Base Camp, which was in the city of Thundue.  The remaining years that he served there were in 1966-67.  After his leave, and he came back for a second time in 1967-68, he remained an E5. 

There was a minor difficulty the first time he returned, because he reenlisted to go to Sygon and instead got stuck in Onkay.  He was later sent to Kaav.  His next leave he was only gone for a little while, and he had to come back in ninety days in which he served in Alaska and became an E6.  He was stationed in Alaska for the remaining years of 1968-72. 

When he first got to Alaska he couldn’t sleep for three days, which drained him physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It was hard for him to adjust to the sun being out most of the time, and it was difficult for him to sleep while it was light outside.  One day one of the soldiers that was stationed with him asked him why he looked so drained.   He said that he hadn’t gotten any sleep for three days.  Well the soldier didn’t know whether to chuckle or feel bad because no one had told him that he had to cover his windows with foil to block out the sun.  You could always get sleep when you needed it because it would always be dark.  Arthur soon found that out because once the windows were covered, and the darkness was concealed inside, he slept for two and a half days straight.

 

IMAGES AND MEMORIES

 

Some of the images that stick in his head sound like they are vivid, and others you might not be able to imagine.  One of the images that Arthur described to me was he had gotten into a jeep with one of his generals, and they were trying to pass through town, but all the traffic was backed up. His officer started to complain and asked him to look up ahead and see what the stoppage of traffic was from.  When he looked ahead to check out the problem, he saw a Buddhist monk poor gasoline on another and light him on fire.  Arthur had stated at this time, “That monk must have been praying really hard and I’m for sure that he was on something because he didn’t flinch an inch.  He sat there on the ground in the style of the Buddhist and in not that much time was burnt to pure black.  Then without any other kind of movement the monk fell over, dead.”  I also recall him saying that that was the weirdest, yet horrific, thing to see someone burn without a cry for help or flinch, for a cause unknown at the time. 

Later on they learned that the reason the monk was set on fire was in spite of the South Vietnamese leader, who at the time was Catholic was prosecuting against the Buddhist.  Another site he had seen and heard about was when men would be transported or dropped by the planes.  They couldn’t just sit there, because they’d be too easily hit by the mortar rounds.  One time he was about to get on a plane and the plane had ran out of fuel, so it landed for a second to refuel.  When they were finally ready to board, the passengers and he were heading towards the plane when mortar round came in and blew up a section of the plane.  He felt like he had almost lost his life, in which if he wasn’t poking around for a second he wouldn’t be telling me this story.  One thing that really shocked me that Arthur told me was that there were seldom times were there was no fire, but you knew there was something about to happen if the mortar rounds kept going off for a couple hours. 

He also recalled the fact that a lot of the men on guard duty from a certain company were not very reliable on watch.  Arthur said they would be on watch for about half an hour before they had lit up and were as high as a kite.  The drug that most of the men smoked was called hash.  It was said to be kind of like marijuana, but it was stronger, and it was native to the land. 

On Arthur’s patrol he would always go to a little French restaurant and eat breakfast.  He said he always offered to pay, but they would never accept it.  Everyone in the American military ate there for free.  One morning his commanding officer decided he wanted to try this restaurant he had heard so many good things about.  A little while into the meal Arthur noticed that the chair he was sitting right next to was uneven.  So like any normal person, he looked under the chair and saw a pipe.  He asked his commanding officer why they would try to fix a broken chair with a pipe.  His officer told him to carefully get up, exit the building, and call the bomb team!  Later on he found out that the chair next to him had a pipe bomb under it, and he felt lucky to be alive because of the fact that it could have easily been him. 

He also said that the children would come up to you asking for chocolate.  When you would turn around to get it they would either pull your grenade pin or throw one at your feet.  He even heard from other soldiers that a villager put a bomb on her kid and sent her out to a soldier.  When the soldier picked the little girl up the mother detonated the bomb! 

The Vietnamese would come up with many ways to injure or kill our soldiers.  Other ways they did this was they would make it so when a soldier would pick up their pack of cigarettes their fingers would get blown off.  They would put explosives in pop cans which would accomplish the same goal.  He also heard about men getting infected by sharpened bamboo shoots that were covered in some kind of feces and placed in the swamps.

                  When he arrived at his first base camp he met and became pretty good friends with a fellow soldier.  Arthur said it was unfortunate that his new friend had to be arrested by him for striking his wife, let alone it was one of his only friends at the time. 

One thing that I didn’t quite understand about the Vietnam War was that any thing or person we killed and was their “property”, the United States Army had to pay for, including the children.  Arthur heard from a soldier in the area, after he had come back from the army, that while they were driving through a city he saw a lady holding her baby, bawling her eyes out, and five other children around her.  After a while they had realized why she had been crying.  She had tossed her new born in front of one of our vehicles, so she’d get money from our government and be able to support the other children in her family.  That is something that he said will stick in his mind forever, and the way he described it will be in mine as well. 

Arthur told me when the American men would be out on post or be in a given area, they had to know when something was coming.  They would take string and run it across a big area.  When the string was pulled they knew something was there, so they would open fire.  Well, one time they were out in the field and they had already drawn the line when they felt a tug.  Everyone opened fire!  When everyone finally stopped shooting they went to go make a body count and instead of finding bodies they found a whole bunch of dead water buffalo.  The farmer who owned the buffalo was heated, even after he found out that he would get a good deal of money for the animal that we had killed.  

Another weird thing he said was one time after some shooting had taken place they went to go see how many Vietcong they had killed.  He noticed one as a man he had bought different kinds of things from every so often.  From then on out he didn’t like to get too friendly with too many of the Vietnamese, because you would never know who was on your side.

            One of the only times Arthur got to draw his weapon was during the Tet Offensive.  The Tet is an annual holiday that the Vietnamese celebrate. While the South Vietnamese went and celebrated, the North Vietnamese and Vietcong took advantage of that with one of the greatest surprise attacks during Vietnam.  The North Vietnamese must have been planning the attack for a while, because the day of the attack they had Vietcong inside the embassy with forged I.D. forms and fake uniforms. 

The men that were inside the embassy were told to start firing upon the people in the embassy at a certain hour.  Arthur told me that it was total chaos and it showed him how easily their lines could be penetrated, especially the embassy.  He said it was really hard to figure out where the fire was coming from because there were so many of the Vietcong everywhere.  He even said he and some men were under heavy fire, and one man even saw a couple Vietcong hiding behind flower pots.  The main goal of the attack was to make the town of Sygon into a communist city. 

At another point in time the hotel he had been staying in was taken and the men were cornered and were in the middle of cross fire.  The men got a little farther up the road but were pushed back and took cover behind a wall that was a foot and a half thick.  That didn’t seem to help any, because the AKA bullets from the Vietcong were going straight through it without slowing down.  Finally one of the officers called in for a convoy to come get them, but there was too much fire coming from that road at that time. 

The commanding officer finally got fed up with being pinned down and not being sure where the fire was coming from, so he took a M79 (grenade gun) into his own hands.  He just ran out onto the street and started shooting a grenade into every window in the surrounding buildings.  That stopped the fire for a long enough time to get the wounded, and the lucky ones who were alive, the hell out of there.  Arthur later thanked that officer for saving his life and found out he was later awarded the Purple Heart.

When I asked him if he knew if he had ever killed anyone, he said, “I have prayed for many days and nights that I didn’t kill anyone, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know.  I was just returning fire.”  Another time they were suppose to be holding a position, and they saw around two to three hundred Vietcong running at them.  He was out of ammo and the only gun he had left was his hand gun, so he asked his buddy next to him for any ammo.  After his buddy gave him some, he was shot.  He saw him die, and the fact it was the last time he was going to see him, was really hard for him to swallow.   The weird thing is I recall him saying, “I had no time to weep and cry then, because I had the Charlie’s coming at me and I didn’t want to die too.”

            One of his fondest memories was of Paul Micheal Timberburg, a three star general for four years.  He always looked out for his men and actually took the time and courtesy to go down and visit them.  Arthur remembered that this general had always been considerate towards the foot soldiers and would come down randomly, have a meal with them, be with them while on guard duty, and just overall take the time to understand where his men were coming from. 

The general had given specific orders to not let anyone transfer through their position without six platoons to guard as a convoy.  One instance an M.P. wouldn’t let a major through until they had enough people to lead a convoy.  The major got restless and started to shout that the M.P. was going to get discharged, he was a disgrace of a soldier, and basically that he was going to have his hide.  No matter what the major said to this M.P., he wouldn’t budge one bit.  Finally, the general showed up and asked what the problem was.  In the long run, after the general had exchanged a few curse words, he explained that he gave the soldier direct orders.  The general told the M.P. that he was a fine young soldier and that he had more respect for the M.P. then he did for the major.  He told him if he did that again, he would have his stripes, but he also said that the major was one-fifth the man that the M.P. was. 

 

VIEWS OF THE FAMILY AND COUNTRY

 

When Arthur Shiley first had joined the military, he was at the age of eighteen and joined up hoping to end up with some of the buddies he enlisted with.  His parents were supportive of his decision, but they were not happy that he had made that decision.  He said he was proud of the military then, and to this day he is still proud of it.  One thing he said he couldn’t understand about when he came home from Vietnam was the fact that he had been fighting for his country and, yet, he was being judged when he got home. 

Some people were decent to him, and other people would throw things at him and spit at him, but they weren’t there and they didn’t understand what he went through.  For the most part, he would say he just dealt with it himself.  If he knew someone was going into the military, he said he would support them.  He’s not saying he would approve of it, but if that’s what they wanted, then he would be behind them all the way. 

The thing that scared him the most when he came home was the fact that his brother was drafted into the military two months before his withdrawal.  When his brother entered the army he was a private E2, and within six months he was a sergeant E5.  His brother was part of a crew in Armor Personal Carrier.  He was very proud of his brother, who after he got back from the war, was greatly affected and committed suicide.             

 

Gerard W. Smith

by Matt Guthrie, 2007

 

World War II, Private First Class, U.S. Army

 

Gerard Smith was drafted at the age of 18, in the year of 1943, and was inducted on October 22nd, 1943.  During his freshman year of school, he quit to help out his father with their 250 acre farm.  The Army took him, even though he helped on his father’s farm.  He was a PFC (Private First Class) in the 10th Army, which was issued in Battle creek, Michigan at Fort Hayes.  From there, he traveled south to Toledo, Ohio and left by train to head to Camp Fann in Texas for 17 weeks of training.  This training included 15 weeks of basic and 2 weeks of bivouac.  Afterwards, he came home for about 7-10 days by train.  Then he packed up and left home, by train, and headed out West to Fort Ord in California for a month of training.

            After the month was up, he left San Francisco on May 1st, 1944 by ship, along with 1,200 army troops, and sailed to the Hawaiian Islands, where they arrived a week later on May 8th, 1944.  During the trip few soldiers had gotten seasick.  While in the Hawaiian Islands, they spent another month in jungle training.  There they joined up with the 77th Infantry division.  They hadn’t had weapons until they had arrived in the Hawaiian Islands.  There they received an M1 Garand and each gun had a number on it so if you lost it you had to pay for it.  While he served over seas, he earned about $50 a month.  Afterwards they left the Hawaiian Islands, and sailed in a smaller ship, to Guam.

            By the time they arrived in Guam, most of the island had been secured, and they were able to land safely.  There some most troops received an M1 Carbine, a .45 (which was carried mostly by commanding officers), and a 40 lb. pack that was carried by back which held equipment and rations.  Before Guam, they didn’t have to carry a pack at all.  Most of the fighting that was done was in the center of the island.  There it was hilly and rice paddies covered most of the area.  This made it difficult for tanks but favorable for flamethrowers to be used.  While here, he met up with his older brother, Vincent, who was in the service in Company B of the 37th Infantry.  He later received a letter form home, saying that his brother had been killed in combat nearby in Manilla or Luzon on February 9th, 1945.  He thinks his brother was hit with a mortar shell.  Vincent had earned enough points to come home and died at the age of 24.  On that very same day, Vincent’s wife, Amber, had died.  After Guam had been secured, they traveled by ship to the Philippines.

            The conditions in the Philippines were similar to the conditions back in Guam.  It was extremely warm here and rice paddies covered most of the land.  Roads were built to give tanks some good ground to travel on because they weren’t able to be used due to the rice paddy conditions.  The corals that surrounded the island made it difficult for ships to drop off troops.  While here, troops were able to speak with some of the natives because some knew and understood a little English.  In the Philippines, Chesterfield 6 packs were handed out and this is when many troops began smoking.  Smith had smoked from the beginning of the service until he was 75 years old.  He was a Combat Infantryman (Rifleman) while here in the Philippines and even carried a radio for a period of time.  During the fighting, many Japanese soldiers dug into the sides of mountains so they could use these caves as shelter and hideouts.  Long-Tom Howitzers were shot into these caves at point-blank range.  They were in the Philippines for about 4-5 months, and after the island was secured, he relaxed on the beaches.  Beer tents were set up and if you wanted cigars to smoke, then you had to order them through the Supply Sergeant.  Also while some soldiers had free time, they spent it playing cards or throwing dice.  They left the Philippines and headed for Okinawa but stopped on the small surrounding island of Ie Shima where troops were ordered to secure the island before moving on. 

            They had to stop because of Japanese resistance and the fighting tactics were just like in the Philippines, where the Japanese had dug into mountain sides.  During all of the fighting on Ie Shima, Smith had picked up a Japanese flag off of a dead Japanese flag carrier and also took a sword and a small side-arm pistol form him as well.  Sometimes our troops would take prisoners but it didn’t really happen that often.  While on Ie Shima, he had met the famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle about an hour before he was assassinated.  He was well liked by the GIs.  Pyle and the regiment commander were on their way to the front when the road was raked by machine-gun bullets.  They then dove for cover in a ditch and when the attack seemed to be over, Pyle was the first to raise his head.  Tragically, he died instantly form a single sniper bullet to the temple on April 18, 1945.  Then they left Ie Shima and headed to Okinawa on Easter, Sunday morning.  The terrain was hilly and mountainous, and most fighting was done on elevated land.  There were men being shot down and troops were sent out to get the wounded and bring them back so they could receive medical attention.   On May 20th, 1945, Smith and another soldier were assigned to go and rescue an injured soldier who had been shot in the spine.  They left headquarters with a stretcher and continued on to find the man lying on the ground.  They loaded him onto the stretcher and began to head back to base.  While on the way back, Smith had slipped and broke both bones in his right leg.  After a while, troops came from headquarters in a weasel, and they laid him on it and transported him to an air strip.  They then loaded Smith onto a plane, and it flew him form Okinawa back to Guam.  In Guam, his leg was wrapped and had splinters put on it.  A CB came in, while he was there, and set up a cruiser for fresh meat.  Smith was laid up from Okinawa to Hawaii, where he had been submitted into a very large hospital.  While there, they put two screws into his right leg until the bones knitted back together.  After it had knitted, he was flown back to Tennessee, where they examined his leg thoroughly.  Smith then boarded a train that took him home, where he stayed for 30 days, and then traveled back down to Tennessee for a second checkup.  After the second checkup, he came back home again for another 30 days.  Then he left for Tennessee for one last checkup and came back for another 30 day period.  Afterwards he went up to a hospital at Fort Cluster in Michigan where he was examined and later released on March 9th, 1946. 

            Gerard W. Smith had received many medals, badges, and awards for serving his country when it needed him the most.  There were 8 of them all together and they were the Good Conduct Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Three Bronze Campaign Stars, American Theater Ribbon, Victory Ribbon, Rifleman, and the Purple Heart.

 

James Spieldenner

2005

 

Korean Conflict, Corporal

 

JAMES SPIELDENNER'S STORY

 

James Spieldenner is a veteran of the Korean War and like every veteran has a story.  He was born November 17, 1931 and became part of the American armed forces on January 21, 1953.  After enlisting he attended the basic camp in Polk Los Angeles.  He was at basic for 6 months before being shipped overseas.  When he was shipped overseas he was stationed in Europe to secure Czechoslovakian border, however, he was only securing the border every three months.  Therefore, when the government passed a regulation saying that all soldiers must be able to pass a 4th grade test, he spent his remaining time overseas teaching the soldiers.

Since he was stationed in Europe there really was no action, so he was able to go sight seeing and he could recall staying in one of Hitler's Billets.  As he explained this modern hotel you could imagine the magnificence each room contains.  He explained this home to be like a palace with extreme elegance.  Hitler's Billet, however, were the best conditions he could remember.  He said all the conditions were fairly good but because the weather was bitterly cold compared to the winters of the United States, Europe was sometimes unpleasant.

James was shipped home on Jan. 6, 1955 and explained the ride back as not so pleasant.  Due to inclement waters their carrier was only able to travel 28 miles in 24 hours.  After serving two long years he was happy that he was returning home safe and sound.

 

James F. Spriggs

by Rebekah Hubbs, 2007

 

Korean Conflict, Airman 1st Class

 

Obituary and Services

 

Feb. 21, 1933- Jan. 23, 1993

            James F. Spriggs, 59, 718 Pine St., died Saturday morning at home.

He was born in Fremont to Harvey and Irene (Adamski) Spriggs.  Mr. Spriggs was a member of Grace Lutheran Church and a former church council member. 

Mr. Spriggs retired from Nickel’s Bakery

He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Surviving are his wife, the former Suzanne Vogt, whom he married on May 3, 1969, in Fremont; daughter Melissa Dilts of Dayton; son Kristopher Spriggs, serving in the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf; a granddaughter; Sister Alice Brehm of Fremont and brother Paul Spriggs of Norwalk. 

Sister Imelda Halm and brothers Larry, Donald, and Joseph Spriggs are deceased. 

Services and visitation are pending at Keller-Ochs-Koch Funeral Home, until the arrival of his son from the Persian Gulf.

        Services for James F. Spriggs, whose obituary appeared in Monday’s News-messenger, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church, where the body will lie in state at the church from 10:15 a.m. until the service.  Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery.

        Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Keller- Ochs-Koch Funeral Home.

        Mr. Spriggs died Saturday morning at his home, 718 Pine St.

        Memorials may be made to the church.

 

The Personal Story of James F. Spriggs

 

James F. Spriggs was born to Harvey A. and Irene T. (Adamsky), on February 21, 1933. He was the sixth of seven children. James was born and raised on Taft Avenue, just down the street from where Fremont Memorial Hospital stands. Then James attended Fremont City Schools until the age of 11 when his father, Harvey, passed away. He was then sent to Fremont St. Joe Central Catholic, where he finished out his remaining years in high school. While in high school he was involved in football, basketball, and baseball.

When James was 20 years old he enlisted in the United States Air Force. James started duty on January 5, 1954. He was then sent to San Antonio, Texas for basic training. After basic training he was sent to Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas, which was a technical school, from March of 1954 to August of 1954. While at Amarillo his course of study was Aircraft Jet Mechanic, where he learned to fix and care for all types of jet aircraft. After finishing is schooling he was stationed overseas in Korea for a total of 1 year, 11 months, and 26 days. James was in the military for a total of 3 years, 9 .months, and 3 days. James was honorably discharged and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. James was discharged on October 7, 1957, with the rank of an A1C. An A1C is an Airman First Class. This meant that he was under a Sergeant but more than a regular airman. Also he was a part of the crew who worked on the jet engines during the war. He was last stationed at Headquarters First Air Force, Mitchell Air Force Base, New York.

After he returned back to 'Fremont he was a mechanic at the Foundry, Eckrich, and then retired from Nickle's Bakery which recently closed. He also married Suzanne Vogt and had two children, Melissa, who is my mom, and Kristopher who was a veteran of the Persian Gulf conflict, James then died on January 23, 1993, at home, from congestive heart failure. James was 59 years old when he passed away.

 

Timothy Steager

by Ashley Thorbahn, 2007

 

Korean Conflict, Corporal

 

Picture: Timothy Steager

 

This is a picture of Tim by a sign warning against the DMZ.  The line of the DMZ is shown by the small white dots in the background along the mountains

 

Tim’s Story

 

Timothy Steager was drafted as a heavy equipment manager during the war in Korea.  His job description was to keep roads open and wide enough for trucks to drive through.  He also used equipment like bulldozers to build and construct things like bridges. 

He was drafted for the war and was sent into basic training in Ft. Bellvoir Virginia at age 21.  After waking up every morning at 4:30, Tim and his fellow recruits would participate in things like the obstacle course or mock situations they needed to be prepared for.  He remembers that “duck-walking” to avoid gunshots overhead was an activity he hated doing.

Sailing on the Marine Link from Seattle Washington, he said he remembers thinking that he would never see the United States again.  He arrived in Japan first and left directly for South Korea.

One of the first things Tim noticed upon arrival in Pusan, South Korea was the “stink and the cold.”  Winter temperatures normally ranged from -20 to -50 degrees although there wasn’t much snowfall.  Tim got frostbite on both legs because he had very minimal clothing and combat boots instead of “Mickey Mouse” boots.  One of the first things he saw were little kids without arms or legs that were dirty running around.  He instantly felt sorry for them.  Later it was these same little children who were throwing rocks at the soldiers.

 Although he wouldn’t share much about his actual experiences during his 11 month stay he did share one story with me.  One day he was driving a bulldozer up along the side of a mountain.  On the other side of this mountain was a DMZ (demilitarized zone) between enemy territory and South Korea.  Accidentally, the bulldozer slid down the mountain crossing the DMZ into enemy territory.  He quickly recovered and drove it back up over the mountain to safety.

Another story that I thought was weird was once during a battle, he was really close to the front line and was in immediate danger of getting shot.  He had to (very quickly) help build a barricade for him and a few others.  The only thing they could find to use for their “wall” were the frozen bodies of some Chinese soldiers who had been killed.  So they stacked them up, building a barrier between them and the enemy fire.  They had to stay behind them until the danger had passed.

 He remembers stopping in Japan before traveling back to Seattle.  There was a military place that served any and all food you could ask for and that also had warm showers.  That meal was a particularly good one because he ended up having five T-bone steaks and bottle of champagne all to himself.

Once back in the U.S. he was taken to Ft. Cherdon Illinois.  He hadn’t told his family about his return yet so when he called his mother she was in for a pleasant surprise.  She dropped the phone and started running about the house yelling “He’s back! He’s back in the country!”  She set off immediately to pick him up after his long mission in Korea.

One of the final remarks he made to me was “Sometimes we try to keep things in the very back of our minds just so we can forget.  There’s just certain things you don’t wanna remember.”  I found this statement to be particularly interesting. 

 

Kathy Stierwalt

by Erica Meek. 2007

 

1995-Present, Major, Nurse, U.S. Air Force Reserves

 

Personal Stories

 

~Since she is currently in the Air Force Reserves, she always has her bag packed in case she needs to go somewhere.  But sometimes she needs to run to the store before she leaves.  This is because things are taken out of her bag if they are running low at home, like toilet paper, shampoo or other everyday items.

 

~On her very first Air Force weekend, her son fell off a horse and broke his wrist.  She could not be with him and it made her wonder if she should be making this kind of commitment since she has a family at home.

 

~General T. Michael Mosely, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, “coined her”.  Coining is a big event in the Air Force, especially if you were coined by someone with a higher rank than you.

 

~She was also coined by Colonel Donna Lake, who was a nurse, at Charleston Air Force Base.  The occasion for being coined by her was for excellence while serving in Kuwait.

 

~When she first joined the reserves her son, Kyle, who was in second grade at the time, would ask her everyday when she came to pick him up from school, “Did they call yet?”  At first she said she did not understand what he meant by saying that but then realized that he wondered if the military had called her and if she was deployed yet. 

 

~On her first summer tour, she cried on the airplane ride to Alabama.  This was because she knew she would be gone and miss her family.

 

~She decided to join the Air Force Reserves because it is the only branch of the military that will allow you to split your tours in half.  She did not want to have to be away from home for four months at a time, so instead she is only gone for about two months each time.

 

Interview

 

What rank are you?

            She is a Major in the United States Air Force Reserve, Nurse Core.

Where have you been/served?

            She has been to Guam, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Alabama, Texas, Yellowstone National Park, Colorado Springs, California and many other states.

What inspired you to join the service?

            She has always admired the regimented military and wanted to be a part of it.  She also wanted to serve her country and to travel.

When did you join the Air Force Reserve?

            She joined when she was 40, in 1995.

What did you buy/bring home from where you have served?

            She brought home a kimono from Japan or Korea, a camel from Kuwait that plays Arabic music, a leather coat from Korea, a bathing suit from Guam, a Persian Gulf mousepad, and two stuffed animals from Alabama.  Also she brought home coins from different places and from people who had coined her.

What is it like being a nurse in the Air Force?

            There are monthly training sessions for wartime.  When you are in peacetime you train for wartime.  You have to be aware of what medicine and course you should take with that patient.  It is a challenge with the different languages of the different people on the Air Force Base.  There are so many patients with many different nationalities that you have to try to communicate with. 

When were you coined by T. Michael Moseley?

            She was coined by him on Veterans Day of 2005 at the courthouse in Fremont.

What is an Air Force Base like?

            A base is like a little city.  There are about ten gates to get in and many things going on.

 

Job Description

 

            As a nurse in the Air Force Reserve, training for wartime is what happens during peacetime.  She needs to know what medical route to take with each person who needs medical attention.  Part of her job requires her to be very strong.  This is because if a wounded patient is on a litter and you need to lift them up into a plane or vehicle, there is only enough room for one person on each end. 

 

Carl E. Stout

by Stephen Stout, 2007

 

World War II, Sergeant, U.S. Air Force

 

Picture: Carl Stout

 

Carl E. Stout

 

Carl E. Stout was born in Clyde, OH to Harry and Sarah Stout.  He was a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.  His job title was an aircraft mechanic. He worked on P38s and P47s.  He was stationed in London, England and Paris, France throughout WWII.  He had 2 other brothers; Clyde and Vickery.  Carl died on February 16, 1978.

 

Carl’s Job

 

Carl’s job was an aircraft mechanic in World War II.  He was called on to fix broken and smashed up aircrafts.  During the day, an aircraft would come in with bullet holes in it or would have trouble flying and his job was to get any damage sustained fixed and get it running right again.  His job in general was to get the aircraft back up in the air and in use for another day.  While on duty, he was issued a .30 cal carbine due to the fact that he could be attacked at his base and would need protection.  He worked on P38s and P47s which are fighter planes in the military.

 

 

 

Richard Thorbahn

by Ashley Thorbahn, 2007

 

Post World War II, Corporal, 94th Infantry Division, U.S. Army

 

Picture: Richard Thorbahn

 

Rich’s Story

 

Richard Thorbahn was drafted as a gunner in the 94th Infantry Division during WWII.  His job was to back up the front line with heavy artillery.

He first received training at Camp Phillip Kansas where he remembers it being incredibly muddy and snow-covered.  From there he went to a camp in Tennessee which had no beds to sleep on.  Camp McCain Mississippi was the final place where he was trained.  Richard and his fellow recruits had to take 25 mile hikes a total of three times.  At first it was a disaster because no one could keep up, but he recommended the idea of forming platoons to make it easier. 

Leaving from New York, Richard traveled on the Queen Elizabeth.  Seasickness was a common ailment over the 14 day course.  He arrived in Scotland and was then taken to Bath England, crossing the English Channel for the D-Day invasion.  He landed on Omaha Beach and had to help keep 24,000 Germans contained in an area of France to prevent them from helping to assist in the fight.  From there, he traveled to Luxemburg.

For Christmas of 1944 until May, he was in the Battle of the Bulge.  Unfortunately he did not go into detail about his experiences there.

He remembers having Bob Hope perform for him sometime around Christmas.  The first line Hope said upon reaching the stage was “By God these girls are mine!”  Richard remembers this show to have been at least one good thing to enjoy and take their mind off the war.

Something interesting that he told me was that during the Battle of the Bulge, he and 6 other men were told to search the houses of some small German towns for guns.  When they would arrive at the houses, they would search, and they would find no one there.  Yet sometimes there would still be food cooking in the kitchen or there would be lights on or candles lit.  Later after searching the houses and beginning to leave the town, people would come from “out of nowhere” to wave and say goodbye.  He always thought this was strange because he didn’t know where the civilians could possibly have been hiding.

Once the war in Europe was over, he and some fellow soldiers visited Burgis Garden to see Hitler’s hideout.  He remembers that it well hidden by a mountain and that there were 1000 steps to climb to get there.  At the time he thought it was really interesting to visit but he couldn’t remember too many details.

He was then supposed to go to Pillson, Czechoslovakia to train for fighting in Japan.  Lucky for him, Japan fell before he had to go over and fight.  So until he was able to return home, he and his buddies relaxed and enjoyed themselves for a few months.

Richard came home on December 27, 1945 and remembers having to come all that distance only to walk another mile from the drop-off in Old Harbor to get home.  He soon after married his wife of 62 years, Ellen.

 

Kyle Timmons

2005

 

Operation Enduring Freedom, RP3 (Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class), U.S. Navy

 

KYLE TIMMONS’ STORY

 

Q:  What was your rank?

A:  RP3 (Religious Program Specialist 3rd Class) in the Navy

 

Q:  What war did you serve in?

A:  The war in Iraq.

 

Q:  What was your job?

A:  Number one to protect and serve Navy and Marine Corps chaplains.  Number two to set up for religious services of all religions such as Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, etc.  I also typed up correspondents and did secretary work.  I performed and arranged burials at sea, weddings and special services.

 

Q:  What ship were you on?

A:  The USS Enterprise CVN 65.  It is a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier; 65 was the year it was commissioned.  It is the fastest and largest aircraft carrier in the world.  I worked one level below an airport and ten levels above a nuclear plant.  What I mean is, one level before the runway for the airplanes and ten levels above all of the nuclear weapons on board.

 

Q:  What were some of your experiences?

A:  I met Ben Affleck and Robin Williams, and I swam with beluga whales.  We also went through Hurricane Isabel and because of it we had to go into the Gulf of Mexico to wait for the storm to go away so we could go across the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Q:  Where were you located?

A:  In the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf.

 

Q:  When and why did you enlist in the Navy?

A:  I enlisted in February of 2000.  The reason I did it was for money for college.

 

Q:  What was your greatest accomplishment from being in the Navy?

A:  My greatest accomplishment was to successfully serve four years I the world’s greatest Navy.

 

Q:  What did the pilots on your ship do?

A:  The air wing flew missions over Iraq and Afghanistan.  The battle group had the largest drug bust in the Persian Gulf from a Saudi Arabian ship.  A lot of times I would see the pilots leave with bombs on the planes and then come back with none.  I never knew what they actually bombed or the effects.

 

Q:  What did you do in the Navy before you served in Iraq?

A:  I worked at the Naval District in Washington D. C. for two years.

 

Ray Toeppe

By Erick White, 2007

 

Korean Conflict, Commissary Man 2nd Class, U.S. Navy

 

Picture: Ray Toeppe

 

Ray Toeppe’s Job Description

 

            Ray Toeppe was a Commissary Man 2nd class in the U.S. Navy. Ray was trained and served at Great Lakes Naval Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. At the time he was at Great Lakes he was a Commissary Man 3rd class. After two years at Great Lakes he was assigned to the USS Lowry. He served on the Lowry for 1 year and 10 months.

            After boot camp Ray was promoted to Commissary Man 3rd class and had a job working in the commissary store at the station. The commissary store was just another name for a grocery store or supermarket. At the store Ray did all kinds of jobs. He started off as a supply man. He unloaded supplies such as food and drinks. He also stocked the shelves at the store with all the supplies that he unloaded. The food that could be cooked at the store was cooked at the store. Ray helped cook certain things for the store such and bread and pastries. He also did other jobs around the store such as cutting meat and cleaning. Also at the commissary store he learned everything he needed to know to be a cook on a ship. So after almost two years of working in the commissary store he was transferred to the USS Lowry.

            When Ray was transferred to the USS Lowry he was still a Commissary Man 3rd class. He was a cook on the Lowry and worked in the galley. When Ray was new on the ship he helped cook all the food. While the ship was at dock in Norfolk, Virginia, Ray helped cook 3 meals a day 5 days a week. On the Lowry there were two cooking teams that switched working days. While at port one team cooks 5 days a week and gets 2 days off while the other team cooks 2 days and gets 5 off. The teams switched workdays every week. At night the team who worked that day had to bake bread and other food that needs to be baked like pastries and muffins. When the Lowry was out at sea the teams worked every other day. Like when the ship is at port the teams cooked 3 meals a day and baked at night. The teams had to cook what was on the menus for every day. Sometimes the teams got to make up their own menus for certain days. On holidays such as Thanksgiving, traditional meals were cooked with food like turkey, mash potatoes and gravy, rolls, and even pumpkin pie.

            When Ray was promoted to Commissary Man 2nd class he became a head of one of the cooking teams. The schedules were still the same but instead of helping with all the cooking he watched over all the CM3’s and made sure they were cooking the right stuff. He also got to choose the menus on certain days. Ray was promoted to Commissary Man 2nd class only a few months before he was discharged.

            Overall Ray’s job did not consist of hard manual labor but did call for long days. The cooks were up very early in the morning to cook breakfast and were up till early morning hours the next day baking bread and such. The cooks in the US Military are the backbone of the Military because without them the army itself could not function.

 

Interview

 

Q: Why did you enlist in the service?

A: I enlisted in the Navy because I just wanted to and thought it would be a good idea.

 

Q: How old were you and when was it that you enlisted?

A: It was April in 1951 and I was 19 years old at the time.

 

Q: Why did you choose to enlist in the Navy and not some other armed force?

A: I thought that it was a better deal being in the Navy because you didn’t have to go                                        ashore and get shot. I also wanted and liked being on the water.

 

Q: What job did you have in the Navy?

A: I was the cook and had to cook 3 meals a day for 350 people on my ship.

 

Q: What kind of training did you go through and where was it?

A: I had boot camp for 6 weeks at Great Lake Naval Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. After boot camp I stayed in Great Lakes for almost 2 years working at the commissary store or grocery store. During the time I trained to be a cook on a ship, which I eventually got to be.

 

Q: What ship were you assigned to?

A: I was assigned to the USS Lowry DD-770; it was a Sumner-class destroyer that had been in service since 1944.

 

Q: Where was your home port?

A: Our ship was stationed at the Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia.

 

Q: Was your job on the ship self-demanding or challenging?

A: It wasn’t too hard of a time. I had to help my crew cook 3 meals a day every other day. The ship had two cooking crews and we switched off every other day. The only thing that I didn’t like was that we had long days usually waking up very early to serve breakfast and staying up very late to do all the baking or bread and pastries.

 

Q: How was life on the ship when you weren’t working?

A: Life was not bad on the ship at all. When we were off for a day we would goof around, sunbath, write letters, watch movies, pretty much do whatever we wanted except diving off the ship or anything stupid like that. So overall, yeah life was very good on the ship.

 

Q: Did you ever see any combat while you were on the ship?

A: No, while I was on the Lowry we never saw any action other than when we were doing training drills at sea. We were called to general quarters a few times for unidentified flying airplanes or other unidentified objects but nothing ever turned up.

 

Q: How long were you in the Navy?

A: I served in the Navy a total of 3 years and 10 months. I was at Great Lakes for 2 years and on the Lowry for a year and 10 months.

 

Q: What was your rank by the time you were done serving?

A: By the time I was done I was a CS2, Commissary Man 2nd Class. Which meant I was the head of my cooking crew and directed operations around the kitchen. When I boarded the Lowry I was a CS3, Commissary Man 3rd Class, and before that I was a Private First Class.

 

Q: Did you enjoy your time in the Navy?

A: Yes, I enjoyed my time in the Navy very much. I got to travel all around and see places I would of never seen if it were not for the Navy. So all time I spent in the Navy I am thankful for every day.

 

Ray Toeppe’s Story #1

           

            Ray Toeppe told me a number of interesting stories when I interviewed him. But when we were finished only a few stuck out. One story that was very interesting was how Ray was part of a world cruise taken by the USS Lowry. For 8 months the Lowry and Ray sailed around the world.

            On February 1, 1954 the USS Lowry captained by Commander F.B. Johnston sailed out of Norfolk, Virginia to sail on a world cruise. The Lowry headed to the Panama Canal to enter the Pacific Ocean and headed to San Diego. After leaving San Diego they headed for Pearl Harbor and then to the Midway Islands. After Midway the Lowry headed to Yokosuka, Japan for a few months of operations around Japan.

In Japan they were part of the 7th Fleet and participated in exercise operations such as troop landing and even a full-scale invasion on Iwo Jima. Some ports that the Lowry operated in were Sasebo, Tokyo, and Kobe, Japan. At one time the Lowry was in Tokyo Bay for a few days. During their stay there were reports from that the crew spotted a Russian submarine. Immediately the sailors were called to general quarters and the Lowry set out to search for the submarine. Ray told me that for 3 days straight the Lowry was full steam ahead searching for the sub. After the 3-day search they gave up and returned to Tokyo Bay. After the interruption they continued their scheduled operations around Japan.

After a few months sailing around Japan’s ports they continued their world cruise and Korea for a few weeks to participate in more practice operations. But after their time in Korea the Lowry headed for Hong Kong to continue their cruise. Towards this part in the cruise the ship had started to run down and needed a new paint job. The supply officer on the ship at the time departed the ship when they arrived in Hong Kong. Ray said that the next morning he spotted the supply officer heading toward the ship with a fleet of sandpans following him. Sandpans were small wooden boats that used oars to propel it and sometimes had masts on them. Ray said that as the sandpans got closer he noticed that there was a number of women on each boat. The supply officer had ordered about 50 women in Hong Kong to strip and paint the boat again. The women started early that morning and by nightfall had the whole boat painted with a fresh coat of paint. Ray said that it was funny because the crew could not of painted the ship that fast with more workers than the women who painted it. So that was a good laugh for the crew and raised the moral for the rest of the cruise.

The Lowry was only in Hong Kong a few days but got a number of needed repairs. So with that they continued their world cruise. From Hong Kong they headed for Singapore, Malaya. From Singapore the Lowry headed for the equator. It was a ritual for new sailors to cross the equator to get certified. Sailors that have never crossed the equator were called pollywogs and sailors that crossed were called shellbacks. The pollywogs were filed with some false chargers that did not make sense. For instance, Ray was a pollywog and was charged with disobeying the shellback’s royal person, posing as a baker, and making ice cream without using ice. For these charges Ray and other sailors were going to be almost tortured. The shellbacks would lock the pollywogs in cages and sprayed with fire hoses. They were also made to get down on their hands and knees and bark, “I’m a pollywog” at shellbacks. Perhaps most cruel of all was that the shellbacks would whip the pollywogs with whatever they could find. For a couple of days before crossing the equator the pollywogs had to put up with this. Hours before crossing the Lowry’s propulsion system broke down. Just miles away the Lowry had to turn around and head up to the Middle East and eventually towards Spain to get the appropriate repairs. None of the pollywogs would earn their certificates for crossing the equator and for Ray he would never get another chance to receive his certificate.

After turning back from the equator they headed for Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). After Colombo they headed to Aden, Aden (now Yemen) then to Port Said, Egypt. They crossed through the Suez Canal while going to Port Said, Egypt. From Port Said they went to Athens and then onto Palma, Balearic Islands, Spain. In Spain they got the appropriate repairs from the break down by the equator. From Palma they went Gibraltar and then to Lisbon, Portugal. Finally, after almost 8 months they left Lisbon and headed home for Norfolk, Virginia. Ray said that he was very happy to be part of the cruise because he got to go so many places that he would never have gotten to go otherwise.

 

Ray Toeppe’s Story #2

 

            Ray told me another story when the USS Lowry and it’s fleet were sailing about 1000 miles out in the Atlantic. He received a telegraph that his 6-week-old son was sick back home. He was given permission to return home to help his wife, Shirley, take care of his son.

            Ray was serving on the USS Lowry when this happened but would have to be transferred to another ship to be taken home. Ray had hoped that he would be transferred to the aircraft carrier and flown home. He got an order one night to go see an officer that told him he would be transferred to a supply ship to go home. The officer told him that he would be transferred by way of a cage like device. Ray was put in a cage that was connected with cables from the Lowry to the supply ship. Sailors on the Lowry kept the rope tight while sailors on the supply ship had to pull the cage over to their ship. The ships were sailing and were approximately 150 feet apart. The transfer took 3-4 minutes to get between ships. Ray said it was quite an experience to be transferred like this. He also said that it was kind of scary cause he thought in the back of his head he would fall in and drown. But he was transferred successfully and on his way home.

            The supply ship couldn’t just take Ray home though. It had to make stops with other U.S. Navy ships sailing around the vicinity. It collected others ships mail and gave supplies to the ships. He finally got to Norfolk a few days later and had an emergency flight back home.

 

 

Wayne S. Trick

by Jacob Trick, 2007

 

World War II, Sergeant, Military Police, U.S. Air Force

 

Wayne Trick’s Personal Story

 

Wayne Trick graduated from Fremont Ross High School in 1948 and joined the Air force a couple months later.  He joined to work on airplanes but there were no openings so he decided to volunteer to go over seas.  First, he had to train for 13 weeks at Lockland Air force Base in San Antonio, Texas.  While training, he had to march, do physical training, take classes on military discipline, and do weapons training. 

Wayne was sent to Wiesbaden Germany right after training for 2 years 9 month and 9 days.  He described his duties as being plain and simple.  He was in charge of keeping the American soldiers in line. Wayne had regular police duties over some civilians too if they began to act up.  German policeman used to ride with him when he was on patrol.   He also used to escort vehicles and even officers and generals around sometimes.   When on duty, he would raise and lower the flag in four different places around the city.  The United States Air force base was down town away from the regular base so there was a lot of traveling back and forth daily.

While overseas he got to visit Switzerland, Austria, Paris France, and Denmark.  He was supposed to serve for 4 years but only served the 3 years and was given a hardship discharge.  It is basically the same thing as an honorable discharge.  This was because his father became quite ill and was needed back home to take care of the family farm.  Back then, farming was very important and was the only source of income for farming families, so the Air force willingly sent him home. 

            Eight years after that he met my beautiful grandmother and the rest is history.

 

Interview

 

            During my interview with my grand father, I learned many things.  From his experiences to the fun he would have while off duty and also to the fears that he had while serving his country.   

Jacob:  What made you want to join the air force?

Wayne:  I wanted to be a fly boy.  I always wanted to fly and was always into airplanes.  I would always build models, ya know? And was hoping to get into flying, but it unfortunately didn’t work out.

Jacob:  Why was going overseas your second choice?

Wayne:  Well, it wasn’t really my second choice but basically, I wanted to travel and see the world.

Jacob:  Were there any worries to this decision you made to go overseas?

Wayne:  No, there were not too many worries.  The war was over when I went over there.  The only thing I worried about was getting transferred to Korea because we were on the brink of war with them at the time.

Jacob:  Was it hard leaving your friends and family?

Wayne:  Eh, kind of.  I missed them when I was over there, but there was a lot of work going on.  Activities off-duty kept me busy too.  A lot of women, a lot of dates.  Ha ha J

Jacob:  What was your family’s reaction to you leaving?

Wayne:  They were a little worried about me going to a completely new country and did not want me to go, but after you’re in the service, you have to do what the Air force tells you. 

Jacob:  What new things did you experience being in a whole new country?

Wayne:  Oh yeah, it’s a beautiful country over there.  There are a lot of forests there with oak and walnut trees, and evergreens.  I also learned how to speak some German. A little bit, but the biggest thing was hunting wild boar and deer. 

Jacob:  How did this decision impact your life?

Wayne:  Well, I learned a lot when I was over there.  It made me a better man I think.  When you’re in service, you learn how to take care of yourself and you learn how not to take things for granted.  As long as you kept yourself clean, on the ball, ya know, it was alright.  That’s what you had to watch out for.  You had to keep yourself out of trouble and had to learn responsibility.

Jacob:  What’s the biggest message you’d want to relay to readers about serving your country? 

Wayne:  Well, it’s something you want to do to defend your country.  You want to keep it safe and free. 

 

Description of Duties

 

Wayne described to me that he mostly would be on town patrol in jeeps.  If there were any problems, he would have to take care of them.  A lot of military men would get into bar fights, so my grandpa would be sent to restore peace.  There were a lot of guard duties too, where he would have to stay at certain posts around the Air force base.   Grandfather had traffic duties all the time because according to him, “Them Germans didn’t know how to drive very well”. J  

The job was difficult sometimes because certain people did not want to do what they told or some were rebellious.  Sometimes he had to use force, like with his night stick.  He said that he had to also use his knowledge of self defense because some guys would become restless. 

He would also guard the general and his house as well.  They would be posted around the house sometimes; it was guarded for 24 hours a day.  My grandpa would also escort the general from place to place.  He would have to be on his toes all the time because this was the head general that he had to protect.  But it was never nerve-wrecking because everything was mostly cooled off by then.

 

Charles F. Wagner

2005

 

World War II, PFC, U.S. Army

 

CHARLES F. WAGNER’S STORY

 

Charles Wagner was a foot soldier during World War II.  Foot soldiers are the soldiers that fight in all or most of the battles in wars.  Wagner fought in many important battles in Europe.  Foot soldiers have to endure the terrain, weather, and temperature in the countries they fight in. 

 

OBITUARY

 

The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, September 11, 1998.

 

Dec. 23, 1926 – Sept. 10, 1998.

 

Charles F. Wagner, 71, of Sandusky County Road 175, Clyde, died Thursday at Memorial Hospital.  He was born in Rice Township to Emmanuel and Caroline (Zehner) Wagner and attended school there and St. Joseph High School.  He married Alice Durnwald on Jan. 7, 1950, and she survives.  Mr./ Wagner worked as a cupola tender at Kelsey Hayes Foundry, retiring in May, 1991.  He served with the U.S. Army and was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Fremont Moose.  Also surviving are daughter Mary Lopez of Clyde; three grandchildren; and brothers Donald, Albert, Gilbert, Vincent and Thomas, all of Fremont; and Sister Mary Margaret of Whitehouse.  Brothers William, John, Nicholas, and Paul and an infant sister are deceased.  Visitation:  3 to 9 p.m., Sunday, Mitchell-Auxter Funeral Home, Clyde.  Wake services are 8:30 p.m.  Services: 10:30 a.m., Monday, St. Joseph Catholic Church.  Burial: St. Joseph Cemetery.  Memorials: St. Joseph Central Catholic High School education fund.

 

John C. Weaver

by Jason Keckler, 2007

 

World War II, Private, 361st Regiment, U.S. Army

 

Picture: John Weaver

 

John C. Weaver’s Job Description

 

            While in the army John C. Weaver was ranked as a Private.  This meant that he was a soldier on the front lines.  He was an infantryman in the 361st regiment and he fought in France and Italy and was killed in Italy two weeks before the war ended.

 

John C. Weaver’s Cause of Death

 

            John C. Weaver died in Florence, Italy.  He died on April 17, 1945.  The cause of his death is that he was shot and killed while in action in Italy.

 

Harold J. Whitcomb

by Trevor Langel, 2007

 

1940-1949 (World War II) Captain, U.S. Army

 

Job Description

           

Harold J. Whitcomb started off as a private.  His job then when it was his first time in the war he was a basic foot soldier.  As the war went on he was upgraded to lieutenant where he had a little more control over his squad.  He was lieutenant for about a year or two when he was then upgraded to captain where he had almost complete control over his infantry. 

 

Personal Story

 

            Harold J. Whitcomb was a brother of two with both parents still living together.  He had a wife and her name was Beatrice.  The way the two meant is Beatrice was the nurse who nursed Harold back to health after the war battles. 

            Harold attended many battles.  The battles he attended were Agaloma on Feb. 3rd 1942.  At that battle he was awarded a purple heart with an oak leaf cluster for wounds he suffered in route to Japan.  On Jan 9th 1945 a pr Pearl Harbor ribbon with one battle star was awarded, the Asiantic Pacific ribbon with two battle stars, and the Philippine defense ribbon with one battle star.  Agaloma was the most major battle that he was in because in that battle he was captured along with all of his infantry.  When they were captured they were forced to go on the Bataan death march.  Out of the 1167 people of his infantry that was captured only 97 of them made it alive.  They were held captive in Cebu for a while until it was attacked and burned down. Many people thought he was dead, but before it was burnt down he and the surviving others were transported to the Manchuria camp.

            Arthur Whitcomb was Harold’s brother who was the captain of the 137th infantry.  Arthur volunteered his infantry to go try to rescue his brother from the march.  He was eight days late. Only eight days and that caused him to be trapped behind enemy lines which resulted in Arthur to go through at least a dozen battles before he was able to rescue his brother. 

            Harold and the ones who made it alive out of the march were held captive for three and a half years of being nothing but tortured and brainwashed.  When Harold was rescued he only weighed 77 lbs.  Just think that’s how much he was starved and tortured.  Harold was hospitalized for almost 8 months before he was back up to full health. 

            When he got out of the hospital he was in love with the nurse that nursed him back to full health who he ended up marrying.

            When he got out of the hospital he ran for mayor of Fremont, and won over Sidney Greetham who was favored more.  Some people say the only reason he won the election was because of him have gone through so much and surviving and being a veteran.  So he ran again for a second term and won that too. 

 

John A. White, Sr.

by Jessica White, 2005

 

World War II, Lt. Col., U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force

 

JOHN WHITE’S STORY

 

Jack White joined the 37th Ohio National Guard at the age of 16.  In order to join, he had to lie about his age.  He quotes about joining, “I pestered them so much they finally took me.  It was bad times then during the Depression.”  When the war broke out in December 1941 he was transferred to the army.  After his training was complete he was in New York City ready to sail to Europe on the Normandy.  Before they could leave the Normandy caught fire under suspicious circumstances.  Since their transport ship was no longer available he was sent to an Army Base to wait for further orders.  This is when he decided to apply for acceptance into the Army Air Corps.  He then joined the Army Air Corps in February 1943 and was part of the 8th Air Force, 448th Bomb Group, and 715th Bomb Squadron.  He flew in 31 combat missions during World War II in Europe.  He also flew in 25 Supply Missions.  Jack was a pilot of B-24s, a heavy bombing airplane.  He also served in the European Theater of Operations, a term used to refer to the operations in Europe during World War II.  Jack was shot down in Normandy on June 22nd, 1944.  He and all his crew survived with little or no injury.  Jack’s only injury was a concussion.  A quote from his diary states, “ We had an experience these last two days that I shall never forget to my dying day.  It was extremely interesting and terrifying at the same time.”  He was awarded such medals as the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and Six Bronze Stars.  He retired from the Air force Reserves in 1975 as a Lieutenant Colonel after 32 years of service.  John A. White died in Toledo Hospital at the age of 79 after a stroke and a heart attack.  The weekend before his death he attended a reunion of his bomber group in South Carolina.

 

Obituary

 

The Fremont News-Messenger,  Oct. ___. 1997:

 

June 7, 1918 – Oct. 9, 1997

 

John A. “Jack” White, 79, 1024 South Street, died Thursday at Toledo Hospital.  Mr. White was the owner and operator of Marlin White and Sons Mechanical Contractors for more than 50 years. He was born in Fremont to Marlin “Dod” and Irene (Shepard) White and graduated from Ross High School in 1938.  He married Evangeline Williams on Nov. 7, 1941, in Hattiesburg, Miss., and she died on Sept. 12, 1995.  Mr. White served as a B24 bomber Pilot during World War II, flying 38 missions in Europe.  He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force Reserves.  He was active in baseball as a semi-pro player and American Legion coach. He was a member of Hayes United Methodist Church, Fremont Country Club, Elks Lodge, Brainard Masonic Lodge, Zenobia Shrine, the VFW and American Legion.  Surviving are sons John, Jr. and Robert White, daughter Rebecca, brother David White and sisters Willa Linder and Martha Belch, all of Fremont, sister Mary Weil of Toledo, stepbrother Todd Simon of California, Stepsisters Carol Briney of Fremont, Ruth Ann Johnson of Santa Barbara, California, and Joan Mann of Monticello, Ind., and four grandchildren.  Brothers Tom, Millard “Mernie” and Marlin Jr. are deceased. Services are 10:30 a.m. Monday at Hayes United Methodist Church with burial at Oakwood Cemetery.  Visitation is 1 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Keller-Ochs-Koch Funeral Home.  Memorials may be made to the church or the donor’s choice.

 

Millard “Mernie” White

By Erick White, 2007

 

World War II, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army; U.S. Air Force

 

Picture: Mernie White

 

Job Description

 

            Mernie was born on December 16, 1919 in Fremont, Ohio.  He went through high school in Fremont and him and his brother enlisted in the National Guard in 1940. He was sent to Camp Perry for boot camp and basic training. In 1940 he was sent down to Camp Shelby in Mississippi for more advanced training. Mernie stayed in Camp Shelby for over a year. His discharge date was in December of 1941. As time got closer and closer Mernie got more excited because he didn’t want to fight a war. But on the day that will live in infamy, December 7,1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Mernie was forced to stay in the National Guard because the U.S. was at war. Almost immediately after the U.S. joined the war Mernie’s company and all the troops at Camp Shelby were transferred to the Army. Almost immediately after entering the Army Mernie was shipped up to Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania to prepare to be shipped to England. At this point Mernie and his brother, Jack, were still together in the Army. Also at this time he was still a basic ground soldier. When Mernie was in New York City and preparing to ship out his ship, the USS Normandy, caught fire in New York Harbor and canceled the shipment over seas. With the ship out delayed Mernie was sent to Fort Benning in Georgia. In Fort Benning Mernie was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and started training soldiers. Mernie would train a company of soldiers about every thing they would need to know to go to Europe and fight. He would train them navigational skills such as reading maps and taking account to landmarks. He would also teach them how to use weapons and strategy skills such as flanking, which means moving around the enemy to shoot their rear or side, that could be used when fighting. He taught 3 companies 2 of which were sent over seas. He didn’t like his job because he wanted to go to Europe and fight not just train guys in the U.S. So to get out of training guys Mernie took the Air Force test in 1944.

            Mernie was accepted into the Air Force and signed up to be a fighter pilot. I don’t know what base Mernie learned to fly at. But Mernie learned to fly an older fighter plain and got a P-47 to fly in combat. In 1945 after learning to fly Mernie was sent to Gunnery School in Fort Sumner in New Mexico. At Gunnery School Mernie would learn how to use his weapons on his plane and some flying techniques to win dogfights. A fighter pilots job was usually to escort bombers to targets and back while the whole time keeping them safe from enemy airplanes. Fighter pilots would also be sent up in the skies to counter bombers heading towards a U.S. target or to stop a group of fighters heading toward a U.S. target. Mernie was at Fort Sumner for almost 6 months and getting ready to ship out to the Pacific when his plane caught fire and blew up. Mernie died and never got the chance to fight in the war he wanted to so bad.    

 

Cause of Death

 

            Mernie White was at Fort Sumner in New Mexico when he died while training.

He was sent to For Sumner in early 1945 to train to be a fighter pilot. He flew in a P-47 and was preparing to go over to the Pacific to fight the Japs. On July 3, 1945 he took off on a normal mission with some other flyers with him. Towards the end of the mission he split off from most of the fighters. The pilots had just got new P-47’s and many pilots had reported problems with them.  During the mission Mernie had noticed slight engine problems but had done nothing about it. Toward the end of the mission the engine had caught fire. Mernie was calm about the fire and radioed in saying he was making an emergency landing. He landed and a witness said that the landing couldn’t of gone any better. But something went wrong and the plane suddenly exploded killing Mernie instantly. The Air Force did not know why the plane exploded. Mernie’s body was sent home to Fremont to be buried in the Oakwood Cemetery.

 

Mernie’ White dies of injury in New Mexico

Lieutenant, 25, victim of airplane accident at Fort Sumner

Funeral services will be conducted here next Monday

 

            First Lieutenant Millard (Mernie) White, 25, husband of the former Jeanne Freeh and son of Marlin (Dod) White, died Tuesday at Fort Sumner army air base, New Mexico, of injuries suffered in an airplane accident.

            Word of the popular youth’s death was received by his wife at the home of her mother, Mrs. Lawrence Freeh, Lincoln Street, less than 12 hours after she arrived home from Winfield, Kansas, where she, Lt. White and Marlin, their 23 month-old son, had lived for the last several months while the lieutenant was training.

            Lt. White was transferred to the New Mexico station, leaving Winfield on Monday. His wife and son had left Winfield Sunday for home after they found it was impossible to obtain living quarters at Fort Sumner. They were accompanied home by Mrs. Ervin A. Young, of Baltimore, Md., wife of a captain with whom the Whites had become acquainted at Lincoln, Kansas.

            Mrs. White arrived Tuesday evening, the telegram from Fort Sumner authorities arriving Wednesday morning.

            The body is being shipped to Fremont, Captain Young accompanying it. It is expected to arrive Saturday morning and will be removed to the home of Mr. And Mrs. Marling White, 1004 South Street.

            Military funeral services will be Monday at 2 P.M. at Hayes Memorial Methodist church, the Rev. Clifford Bangham officiating. Burial will be in Oakwood cemetery by the Ochs funeral home.

            Details Lacking

            Details of the accident in which Lt. White met death have not been learned, although the telegram from Fort Sumner said more information would follow in a letter. Lt. White was training as a pilot of a P-47 Thunderbolt plane. If he was flying a P-47 Thunderbolt at the time of the accident it is likely no one else, or at least not more than one person, was in the plane. If he was in another craft the number of persons killed or injured might be larger.

            Lt. White was on of Fremont’s best known and best liked youths. News of his death swept through the city on Independence Day just as soon as Mrs. White received the Fort Sumner telegram announcing his death. Hundreds of persons were shocked by the tragedy.

            The lieutenant was born in Fremont, December 16, 1919, a son of Marlin and Irene Shepherd White. His mother died some years ago.

            He was educates in Fremont public schools and was graduated from Ross high school in the class of 1938. During his high school career he was a stellar football and basketball player. He followed in the footsteps of his father as a baseball player, playing shortstop for the Fremont Green Sox in the Ohio State League prior to entering service in 1940. White was regarded as an outstanding baseball prospect, his ability at shortstop winning him much praise in the Ohio State league. He told Mrs. White before she left Winfield Sunday be sure to tell his dad that he’d be home this fall in time to play a few games of baseball for his Green Sox team.

 

Thomas E. White

by Jessica White, 2005

 

World War II, Platoon Sergeant, U.S. Army

 

Thomas E. White’s Story

 

Tom White joined the Army in 1944 at the age of 18.  He was part of the 106th Lion Division, 3rd Armored, 1st Armored, and 423rd infantry.  His rank was a Platoon Sergeant.  The Platoon Sergeant is the second one in command of each regiment.  He took part in the reclaiming of Northern France from Germany called the Northern France Campaign.  He also participated in the Rhineland Campaign a plan to take over the Rhineland.  Another key battle that he fought in was the Ring of Steel at L’Orient and St. Nazaire.  His regiment also broke through the Siegfried Line.  The Siegfried Line was a line between Germany and France.  It is a chain of forts and tank defenses.  He was awarded a bronze star for his participation in the N. France Campaign and also a Battle Star for the Rhineland campaign.  He retired from the Army in 1946 as a Platoon Sergeant.  Tom White died at the age of 67 from cancer.

 

OBITUARY

 

 The News-Messenger,Fremont, Ohio, Sept. ­­__ , 1993

 

Oct. 3, 1926 – Sept. 16, 1993

 

Thomas E. White, 67, 1000 South Street, died Saturday at home. He was born in Fremont to Marlin “Dod” and Grace Irene (Shepard) White.  He was a 1944 graduate of Ross High School.  He married JoNeal Novitski on May 7, 1949, at St. Joseph Church.  She survives. Mr. White was a member of Hayes United Methodist Church and its choir, Men’s Club and financial committee.  He was active in amateur baseball as a player and sponsor for 30 years.  He was a member of the Fremont Green Socks baseball team and was a Little League coach for 20 years. He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran and a member of the American Legion.  Mr. White retired in 1982 from White Plumbing and Heating, then worked as a plumbing inspector for the Ohio Department of Health.  He retired in 1991.  He was instrumental in developing the back flow prevention program for the state of Ohio.  Surviving are sons Marlin P. II and Michael L. White of Fremont; daughters Melanie White of Venice, Calif., Maureen Yost and Willa Spriggs of Fremont and Christine White of Bellaire, Mich; brothers Jack and David White of Fremont; sisters

Willa Linder and Martha Belch of Fremont and Mary Weil of Toledo; stepsisters Carol Briney of Fremont, Joanne Mann of Monticello, Indiana , and Ruth Johnsen of Escondido, Calif.; stepbrother Tod Simon of Concord, Calif.; and 10 grandchildren.  Son Thomas White Jr. and brother Mernie White are deceased.  Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Hayes United Methodist Church, which burial at Oakwood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7to 9 p.m. today at Keller-Ochs-Koch Funeral Home.  Memorials may be made to Sandusky County Hospice, 3729 W. State Street or to the church.

 

James E. Wildman

by Riley Wildman, 2007

 

1961-2007, Rock Island Arsenal, British Aerospace, and Battelle Memorial Institute

 

Description/Personal Story

 

          James E. Wildman is worked in the defense field for nearly 45 years.  My grandfather started his job at Rock Island Arsenal in 1961 as a draftsman when he was recruited out of college.  His job was to draw the different parts of machines before the blueprints for them were made.  He has worked at Rock Island Arsenal, British Aerospace, and Battelle Memorial Institute (where he currently works now).  He was worked his way up the ladder throughout his career from draftsman to designer to engineer and finally to senior engineer.  He has showed aptitude for engineering since a very young age.  When he was around six or seven years old he took apart his father’s drill that he had gotten for Christmas and put it back together again.  When he was around twelve, he was helping his father build a new house.  Runoff water was seeping into what would be the basement and my grandpa had to bail out the water.  His father had to leave on an errand and told him to stay and keep the water out.  My grandfather wanted to play baseball instead so he built a makeshift aqueduct that diverted the water.  When his dad returned to find him gone, he was quite upset.  This October, my grandfather will go into retirement after a long and fulfilling career.  He married Jean Riley in 1961 and they had three sons: Scott, Jim (my father), and Steven.  He lives in Catawba with his wife. My grandfather has held several jobs throughout his career.  He first worked as a draftsman who draws pre-blueprint sketches of different mechanical components.  He then became a designer, followed by an engineer and then senior engineer at his current place of employment.  He and his colleagues have worked on many things.  Some examples include a magnet suit that is supposed to deflect or negate bullets; the beginnings of what could be a force field in 25 years or so.  There is something that they call a Submarine Curtain that uses Lithium Oxide to scrub Carbon Dioxide out of the air.  During the Sago Mine disaster, someone at Battelle suggested that they alter it so it could eliminate Carbon Monoxide.  They call it the Mine Survivability Curtain.  He has also worked on many firearms, and experimented with things such as liquid propellants.  He has also traveled extensively.  He has visited Switzerland, France, Germany, Britain, and Australia to name a few.

 

James E. Wildman Interview

 

Q:  When did you start your job?

A:  He started in January 1961 at the Rock Island arsenal.  He was recruited from college and took a job as a draftsman and spent four years at this post.

 

Q:  What training did it require?

A:  The job required a high school diploma, and sometimes, college.  He had both and was qualified.

 

Q:  Did the job seem overwhelming at first?

A:  He adapted fairly quickly.  The job was challenging but very rewarding, and he had many mentors and people who helped him.

 

Q:  What things have you gotten to do because of your job (travel, people, etc…)?

A:  It opened my grandfather’s awareness to what could be done with the human mind.  He had the opportunity for further training and enjoyed doing that very much.  He has traveled widely, throughout Europe and Australia.  He is now considered a world expert on weapons.

 

Q:  What wars were you involved in during your employment?

A:  He was involved in any war from 1961 until current day.  His first was Vietnam.

 

Q:  How does your job change in wartime?

A:  War changes the intensity of requirements.  There is a lessoning of “what-could-be, to what can we have now?”  The key word is urgency.  What they develop is of a lesser quality but a higher production.  The concern is for the soldier, but also finances.  It is foolish to believe that money isn’t a factor:  three factors exist for soldier material-cost, schedule, and performance.  All are weighed equally, while taking into account the available funds and competition.  How to prioritize is a tough question.  He tried to think in terms of, “If my kids were in the war, what would I give them”, which later became the case with both Scott and Steven.

 

Q:  Are there any specific programs you remember?

A:  His first job was to design a future artillery piece.  My grandfather constructed a model and it was successful:  he got to see every step of the process from the design to the finished weapon.

 

Q:  How crazy are some of the things that you work on.

A:  He has developed a magnet suit that is supposed to deflect bullets, a mine-survivability curtain, guns with liquid propellants, and even the beginnings of what could be a force field in maybe twenty-five years.

 

Q:  Is your job a part of the military, the Department of Defense, or Independent?

A:  Battelle Memorial Institute is the largest independent research and development organization and is commissioned by the government and industry.

 

Q:  What is your favorite project if any?

A:  Every project is taken with passion and becomes my favorite.  “My favorite becomes whatever is over the horizon-a machine is a machine, and inanimate object…the thing I enjoy is the people working and the sharing of intellect.”

 

Q:  As a result of your job, have you ever been involved with combat?

A:  My grandfather once was going to go to Iran to deliver an air defense system.  The Iotolas took over and luckily, he didn’t end up going.  He was been very lucky in this regard.

 

Q:  What are the best and worst memories of your career?

A:  The best memories are working with so many brilliant people.  The only bad things are watching so many colleagues, friends, and mentors die.  He also hates seeing idiots working where he is.  There are people who excel, and people who have no business being there, and incompetence really annoys him.

 

Q:  Would you do it again?

A:  Absolutely.  He said he hardly ever regrets anything that he does.  There are things he could have done better but I don’t regret it.

 

Steven R. Wildman

by Riley Wildman, 2007

 

Operation Desert Storm, Lance Corporal, U.S. Marines

 

Steven R. Wildman Description/Personal Story

 

          Steven Wildman joined the marines on October 13, 1987.  He went to take part in Desert Storm in Kuwait.  He was sent to boot camp and what they call the school of infantry where he was taught how to use a rifle, patrolling, combat tactics, etc….  He was a Lance Corporal and was an Automatic Gunner in his squad.  Lance Corporal is the third lowest rank in the Marines, just above Private First Class.  He never actually killed anyone although several shots were exchanged.  He came in at the end of the war so he was there for three weeks before the conflict ended, at which point he drifted around the Gulf of Persia.  One of his most vivid memories was walking through the oil fields.  The Iraqis had set them on fire and the smoke blocked out the sun.  It was freezing cold underneath them and an oily black substance rained down on them and coated them.  He truly enjoyed meeting people and traveling to see places he wouldn’t have seen, but he thoroughly disliked the drudgery of being a “grunt”.  In short, he enjoyed the experience but was happy to be home when it was over.  When he returned he attended Bowling Green University in 1992 studying journalism.  He married Ann Kahlenberg had a son in 2006 that they named Owen Ryan Wildman.  He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

 

Steven R. Wildman Interview

 

Q:  When did you first join the Marines?

A:  He joined on October 13, 1987.

 

Q:  What training did you have?

A:  My uncle went to boot camp and the School of Infantry.

 

Q:  What did you do in Desert Storm, and what was your rank?

A:  He was an automatic gunner in his squad and he was a Lance Corporal.

 

Q:  What equipment did you use?

A:  He used a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon; also called a “Saw” that was a 9mm automatic weapon.  He also used Kevlar vests, helmets, and other standard materials.

 

Q:  Do you have any memorable stories?

A:  He remembers vividly when he and others were first flown into Kuwait.  He remembers the seriousness of the moment and the realization that this was serious.  They came in at the end of the air strikes so there wasn’t really any time for the feeling to fade.  He also remembers walking in the oil fields on their way out of Kuwait.  The smoke from the burning field reduced the temperatures to freezing levels and a rain of a black oily substance coated the soldiers.

 

Q:  What are your best and worst memories?

A:  The best was being able to travel and see places he probably wouldn’t have seen, and the worst was the drudgery of being a “grunt”.  He didn’t like being treated like an idiot.

 

Q:  How long were you in Kuwait?

A:  They were in Kuwait for three weeks and then lingered in the Gulf of Persia.

 

Q:  Were you scared?

A:  First coming into the country, the realization of your own mortality was very scary.  His life really did flash before his eyes, in his own words.

 

Q:  Did you kill?

A:  He did not kill.  Shots were fired several times but he never killed anyone.

 

Q:  Were you ever overwhelmed?
A:  He said he was pretty much prepared.  The goal was to kick Iraq out of Kuwait:  they got it, completed mission, and got out.

 

Q:  Were you relieved when you came home?

A:  He enjoyed the experience but was happy to come home.

 

Q:  What did you do?

A:  My uncle worked at CIC (Catawba Island Club) for a while and attended Bowling Green University in 1992 to pursue journalism.

 

 

Edward Bernard Wilhelm

by Chase Wilhelm, 2007

 

Korean Conflict, 2nd Class Petty Officer, U.S. Navy

 

Cause of Death

 

Edward Bernard Wilhelm died at St. Providence Hospital in Sandusky, Ohio due to a myocardial infarction (acute heart attack).  He was 48 at the time of his death.  He did not suffer from heart disease but did have his leg amputated before he passed.  The amputation was not a cause of the acute heart attack.

 

2nd Class Petty Officer

6/15/1940 – 8/2/1988

 

Interview with Thomas Joseph Wilhelm about Edward Bernard Wilhelm

 

Q: What was his rank in the U.S. Navy?

A: He was a 2nd Class Petty Officer

Q: What was his job in the Navy?

A: He worked on a submarine as an engineer.

Q: What weapons did him or the people on the submarine use?

A: On the submarine, the crewmen used torpedoes for defense.

Q: Was he in any conflicts or wars?

A: He was in a Korean conflict while he served in the Navy.

Q: Was he drafted or did he join the Navy?

A: He joined the service and was in it for four years.

 

Job Description of Edward Bernard Wilhelm

 

          Edward Bernard Wilhelm was an engineer on a submarine in the Korean Conflict.  His job was to keep up the maintenance of the submarine which was a pretty tough job to fill.  This included changing the oil and other jobs that were required for this profession.

 

Thomas Joseph Wilhelm

by Chase Wilhelm, 2007

 

Vietnam War, E-5 Sergeant, U.S. Army

 

Interview with Thomas Joseph Wilhelm

 

Q: What was your rank in the U.S. Army?

A: I was an E-5 Sergeant.

Q: What was your job in the Vietnam War?

A: I was an LCM operator on a land-side boat.

Q: Where were you located in Vietnam?

A: I flew into Cam Ronh Bay and traveled to Quy-Nhon.

Q: Where were you stationed in the United States?

A: First, at Fort Knox but there was no room, and then to Fort Gordon in Georgia, and finally to Fort Eustis in Virginia.

Q: What was your favorite part of the army?

A: My favorite part was driving a boat to Vietnam.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the army?

A: My least favorite part was taking orders from others.

Q: Did you go to any other countries besides Vietnam?

A: I went to China for four days to refuel my boat.

Q: How were you treated at home after Vietnam?

A: When I got off the plane there were girls spitting on us calling us baby killers.

Q: What weapons did you use in Vietnam?

A: I used an M-14 rifle, an M-16 machine gun, an M-50 machine gun, and a grenade launcher.

Q: Were you drafted for the war or did you sign up?

A: I signed up because I would have gone anyway so I wanted to choose of my job in the war.

 

Personal Story of Thomas Joseph Wilhelm

 

Thomas Joseph Wilhelm’s personal story is quite an interesting story.  Every night one person from the boat that Tom patrolled had to stay up and keep guard of the boat.  This particular night my uncle was in charge of this job.  This job requires a hand grenade to be thrown into the water every 10, 15, or 30 minutes.  Tom asked if the water was clear of any “friendly forces”, and it was.  So he decided to throw a grenade since the water was clear.  This turned out to be a bad decision because there turned out to be a Korean boat that he threw the grenade at.  At this time the Koreans were known as a “friendly force” to the United States. 

Before my uncle could blink an eye there was fifty Koreans that were going after him and they were out to kill him.  As the Koreans got closer and closer with their bats and weapons, Tom got to a captain to tell him what happened. Next thing the Koreans knew there were 150 troops coming to get rid of them.  Turns out that it was not Tom’s fault that the Korean ship was hit because the ship didn’t call in and tell the United States Army they were close to a ship.  My uncle got away without any injuries and nothing came about because of this event.

 

Mary Ellen Mellich Wonderly

by Meghan Wonderly, 2007

 

World War Two, Elton Triumph Explosives

 

Background

 

            Mary Ellen Mellich was born on November 25, 1920 in Ansted, West Virginia.  Her mother Helena was of German descent, and her father Lewis emigrated from Serbia in WWI.  Mary is the eldest of five children.  She attended Ansted High School and graduated in 1938.  During the war she left home to work in Elkton, Maryland.  She worked there until 1944.

            While in Maryland she met Albert Wonderly, whom she later married.  The couple moved back to Ohio, where Albert was from.  Mary and Albert went on to have twelve children, one of whom is my father Charles.  Albert died on August 23, 1994. 

            Mary Wonderly is still living today.  She enjoys spending time with her copious amount of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Crocheting and telling tales of her time at Elkton are favorite pastimes as well. 

 

Job Description

 

            For the Christmas season in 1941, Evelyn Mellich came home from Elkton, Maryland to celebrate with her family.  She had been recruited to work at Elkton Triumph Explosives, a factory which made ammunition and explosives such as 20mm and 40mm shells, tetranitrate, lead oxide, pentolite, grenades, primers and detonators, fuses, bombs, grenades, and pyrotechnics.  Evelyn had been employed there for about six months, and her experience there made her elder sister Mary interested in working there also. In January 1942 Mary went back to Maryland with Evelyn.  Once there, however, the two sisters did not really see much of each other since they ended up working in different parts of the factory. 

            Mary and a few other girls boarded in Elkton with an older woman who lived a few blocks from the plant.  Breakfast was provided, no men were allowed upstairs in the house, and the rooms were shared.  It was a small but comfortable living arrangement.  Elkton was a bustling town full of military men, boarding houses, and duplex apartments.  With so many young people around, Elkton was a fun town with lots of things to do.  Mary and Evelyn’s brother Harry was stationed at a naval base nearby, and he would come to visit the girls.  On one occasion, Harry came over for a visit and could not find Mary anywhere.  When she finally came home from shopping, she found an angry note from Harry saying he had looked all over town for her and why on earth didn’t she stay home more? 

            Elkton Triumph Explosives, Inc. was a steady job for many girls, not just Mary.  Girls mostly from the surrounding areas such as West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania also came to work at Elkton.  The pay was not very high, but the work was rewarding and it was better than not getting paid at all.  It was a segregated plant; African-Americans and whites did not work together.  There were four or five main rooms, as well as a canteen.  The sound of the hand-run machinery echoed throughout the massive building.  One of the girls who worked in the powder room turned completely orange and died from overexposure to the elements in the explosives.

Six days a week Mary worked at Triumph Explosives on the day or afternoon shift.   She was assigned to inspect 40 millimeter anti-aircraft shells.  The room before her would pour the powder into the shell itself and then seal it.  After picking it up from her own turn table, Mary would run her thumb along the casing to make sure it was properly secure.  If not, the shell was discarded.  Mary would then put shell on to a turn table that would take the ammunition to the next room.  There the shells would be put onto metal frames to be shipped away.  Running her hands along the shells left jagged slivers of metal in her hands, and her boyfriend Albert had to pick out the pieces of metal for her.

 

The Other Girls

 

            There are two stories in particular that my grandmother loves to tell about her housemates.  One is the tale of how a girl worker kept her pregnancy a secret for so long.  The second is about her roommate Opal.  There was quite a lot of drama at her boarding house in Elkton!

            One of the young women who stayed at the house had always been a little pudgy.  (Due to age and the fact that it has been over sixty years since the war, my grandma cannot remember the girl’s name.)  This girl grew a bit larger, and the other girls thought nothing of it.  The heavier girl still played softball and ran around the bases, no problem.  Then late one night my grandma and another housemate (the girl’s sister) awoke to screaming.  Evidently the chubby girl had been pregnant and was going into labor.  My grandmother and the housemate took the mother-to-be to the hospital.  After having the baby, the mother gave it up for adoption and never got to see her child again.  Back then, it was common for girls who got pregnant before they were wed to give up their babies, no question. 

            Opal was my grandmother’s roommate.  Both of them worked at Elkton Triumph Explosives, Inc.  When Opal had an appendectomy, my grandmother covered Opal’s spot as well as her own.  But when she recovered and came back to the plant, she did not work.  Instead Opal hung out in the canteen all day, chit-chatting with others. 

After a while my grandmother got sick of doing twice the work, so she paid a visit to the canteen.  She yelled at Opal, saying that she was not going to do Opal’s work anymore.  The next day Opal came back to her position in the work line.  However, the tension followed them home.  For months the two went without speaking, even though they slept in the same bed!  Finally, Opal “broke the ice”, and the two got over their squabble.  After the war, Opal went back to West Virginia and married my grandmother’s old boyfriend.

 

Albert

 

            My grandma and grandpa met in Maryland in 1943.  They were both attending a hay ride at the beach.  She was in her bathing suit, standing in line for refreshments when somebody put an ice cold bottle of Coke on the back of her thigh.  It was my grandfather, Staff Sergeant Albert Wonderly.  With such a flirtatious beginning, a romance soon blossomed, even though the factory girls were not supposed to “fraternize” with the soldiers. 

            No fool, my grandmother made sure to ask, “You don’t have a girl at home, do you?”  He fervently denied having one.  Gullible grandma believed him, and they began dating.  They would sit on the steps of the boarding house and talk, because men were definitely not permitted upstairs.  Once he brought her a ring, saying that he had won it in a game of poker.  My grandmother could not wear it, because it was so big it fell of her thumb. 

On June 30, 1944 they were wed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.  Only several children later did she find out that he had actually been engaged to a girl back home at the time they met.  The ring that he had said he had won in poker had actually been a present for the other woman.  This did not upset my grandmother however, for she reasoned, “he must’ve liked me better!”  Although he started out with outright lies, it must not have tainted the relationship too much.  They were married for fifty years and had twelve children.

 

Robert Wonderly

by Meghan Wonderly, 2007

 

World War II, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps

 

Background

 

            Corporal Robert Wonderly was born on December 6, 1924 to William and Loreena Wonderly.  He was one of five children.  Robert was raised in the Burgoon area.  My grandfather, Albert, and Robert were first cousins. 

One day in the early 1940s, Bob was sitting in his classroom at Jackson-Burgoon High School, looking out the window at the beautiful weather, when a thought struck him.  It was not fair to him, really, that his older brother Don was overseas fighting in World War II when Bob himself was stuck in at school.  Once out of high school, he could not allow Donald to have all the “fun”.  Without telling anyone, Robert enlisted in the Marines.  When he went to enlist he learned that he was classified as “Ag”.  This meant that had he not enlisted, he would not have been drafted.  He had an agriculture excuse, since he was the only one who was home to work on the farm.  However, this made no difference to him, because he really wanted to enlist.

After the war, Bob led a normal life.  Construction is the only career he has had other than being a Marine.  He married Jean, who is also still living today.  They raised six children together.  Robert is a jovial man who loves spending time with his family. 

 

Job Description

 

            After enlisting in the Marine Corps, Robert Wonderly was sent to College Station, Texas.  There he learned the skills that were necessary to become a radio operator, such as Morse code.  In nearby Bryan, Texas, Bob attended USO parties.  The USO is a group that worked to boost the morale of soldiers through parties, concerts, dances, etc.  When the radio intelligence portion of his training was complete, Bob was transferred to Camp Pendleton, California. 

At Camp Pendleton the Marines were separated into groups.  Robert became a part of the 3rd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, and 5th Marine Division.  The different groups were then sent to Hawaii for more physical training.  In Hawaii the Marines were trained to fight like they would in Japan.  Their training complete, the troops were shipped off to Iwo Jima.

The Navajo Code Talkers were also stationed where Robert was.  He recalls them as being tight knit and not very talkative.

Once the war was over, the 5th Division was back to Hawaii for a short time.  Then they were sent to Sasebo, Japan.  While there, the Marines set up a radio tower.  One night the Japanese came and cut the wires on the tower.  After their stay in Sasebo, the unit was ordered to go to Nagasaki, one of the cities that had been hit by an atomic bomb.  All that was left was the flat, blasted ground.  Their group drove the jeep out onto the exact place the bomb landed, and just surveyed the damage.  Bob remembered one factory that was still halfway standing, and inside was a giant machine that read, “Singer Sewing Machine”. 

Robert was paid thirty-five dollars a month.  He received five extra dollars than the rest because he was an expert rifleman.  Every three months the government would take out $7.25 in taxes, but they would send a twenty-five dollar war bond home to your family. 

On May 1, 1946 Corporal Robert Wonderly came home after serving thirty-three months in the Marines.  He had not been wounded.  His brother Don, however, came home suffering from malaria, but he eventually recovered.

 

The Battle of Iwo Jima

 

The men arrived at Iwo Jima knowing that there would be no source of food for them on the island, so they came prepared.  A truck full of canned goods accompanied them.  To prevent from being shot at by the Japanese, the Americans had to move as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, the sand was not compact enough for the vehicle to travel on.  As the wheels spun, shells began to fall all around the boat, slowly getting closer to the soldiers.  In order to survive, the truck was abandoned.  It sunk to the bottom of the ocean, taking all of their canned food with it.

Robert acted as a radio operator during the battle at Iwo Jima.  He was stationed on the ground with the infantrymen.  It was his job to relay the need for air strikes to the pilots of the planes.  The infantry men would lay large, brightly colored plastic squares on the ground.  Seeing the strips of color, the pilots would fire past that line, hitting only the enemy.  Once the infantry could gain some more ground, they were supposed to pick up the colorful squares and move them as well. 

One day something went tragically wrong.  The infantry needed support from above, so Bob called in an air strike.  Sadly, the infantry did not pick up the plastic squares when they advanced.  Not realizing that they were firing on their own men, the pilots kept on with their air strike.  By the time the air strike was called off, many men had already died.  It was a scarring moment in Robert’s life.

After the air strikes, Robert’s battalion fought at Mount Suribachi.  Bob had to hide in foxholes.  Iwo Jima was a volcanic island, so when the soldiers dug their foxholes, they were quite hot.  At night steam would rise out of them.  The American soldiers were fighting hidden enemies—the Japanese hid in caves.  The Americans could not advance without being shot at by the Japanese, and they couldn’t fight them while they were hiding in the caves  The only way the Americans could advance was by bombing the caves shut and sealing the Japanese inside.  At the end of the battle, there were thousands wounded and dead.  The dead bodies were stacked like logs on the back of a truck and taken away.

 

Lemons!

 

On the ship ride to Iwo Jima, Robert got sea sick.  One of the other Marines told him to suck on a lemon because it would help.  Robert tried it, but it did not work.  He just heaved the lemons over the side of the boat when he got sick again.

 

Ronald Eugene Young

2005

 

 Vietnam War, PFC, U.S. Army

 

RONALD EUGENE YOUNG’S STORY

 

PFC Ronald Eugene Young, 20, native of Fremont, and a 1968 graduate of St. Joseph’s High School, was killed in action in Vietnam Monday, February 23, according to information received by his family.  His wife, the former Carol Ramirez, their infant son, Donald, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lester Young, reside at 1308 West State Street.  Also surviving are brothers and sisters, Thomas, LuAnn, Lynne, David and James at home, and Mrs. Patricia Yost, Sandusky.  The war victim was aboard a small helicopter that was shot down by enemy fire in the northern part of South Vietnam.  The time given was 5 minutes to 3.  The Fremont youth was the crew chief on the aircraft believed to be on observation duty at the time.  The family was so informed through Captain Rodney Stanger of the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Bowling Green State University.  More details will be provided later.  The body will be returned here.  PFC Young was with an Army unit of the 101st Airborne.  He had been in Vietnam since last Christmas.  The Young family last heard from him by letter about two weeks ago.

 

OBITUARY

 

The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio.

 

A Requiem Mass for Pfc. Ronald Eugene Young, 20, son of Mr. & Mrs. Lester Young, 1308 State Street, will be offered Thursday at 10 a.m. in the St. Joseph church with burial in the parish cemetery.  He was the husband of the former Carol Ramirez.  Pfc. Young was killed in action February 23 in Vietnam.  He was the crew chief of a helicopter believed to be on observation duty at the time.  Friends will be received at the Ochs funeral home Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.

 

Ellsworth Norman Zerbe

2005

 

Korean Conflict, Private First Class, Engineer, U.S. Army

 

ELLSWORTH NORMAN ZERBE’S STORY

 

Ellsworth Norman Zerbe was born on November 2, 1928, in Tiffin Ohio.  His parents were Charles and Sibbie (Moore) Zerbe.  Ellsworth’s military career was fairly simple.  He enlisted into the Army in 1950 and was stationed in Germany during the Korean Conflict.  Ellsworth was a Private First Class Engineer.  He was also a security guard as a part of the Military Police during his stint in the Army.  Ellsworth was honorably discharged from the Army in 1952.  Ellsworth married Ruth Lambright in 1954. (Currently Ruth Ford)  Sadly, he died of a heart attack on August 3, 1988.  He was 59.

 

Obituary

 

The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, August 4, 1988.

 

Nov. 2, 1928 – Aug. 3, 1988

 

Ellsworth N. Zerbe, 59, 1315 Cherry Street, died unexpectedly Wednesday at Memorial Hospital.  Born Nov. 2, 1928, in Tiffin to Charles and Sibbie (Moore) Zerbe, he had worked at the General Electric plant in Tiffin 18 ½ years as a hoist operator.  After the plant closed, he worked at Heinz USA for two years.  Mr. Zerbe was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Clyde where he was a deacon, and an Army veteran of the Korean Conflict.  Surviving are his wife, Ruth Lambright, whom he married Oct. 17, 1954, in Fremont; son, David at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas; daughters, Brenda Coonrod and Sarah Freeman, both of Fremont, and four grandchildren.  A sister, Luella Jacoby, preceded him in death.  Services will be Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Weller-Wonderly Funeral Home, with burial in Greenlawn Memory Gardens.  Visitation is Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.  Memorials may be made to the church.