2012 — ISSUE 1
1st & 2nd issues, 2012
Site donated by Hoch Publishing
10 veterans take part in Memorial Day parade
Ten veterans of the 99th Infantry Division took part in the 2012 National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. Joining their unit was Col. Vincent Alcazar, USAF, who carried the Colors for them, Col. Allister Anderson, Army Chaplain, who may have helped them behave, and Cris Papageorge, former member of the 505th Engineer Battalion, who merely wanted to be with them in the parade.
Harry McCracken honored at ceremony
Harry McCracken, 5MED, was awarded the Belgian Fourregere in a ceremony Dec. 15 at the residence of the Belgian ambassador, the Hon. Jan Matthysen, Washington, D.C. Two other veterans, Sossio (Pat) Capasso and Ted Hauprichts, also received the award. They were not with the 99th, nor were they in attendance.
John Rarick's story concludes
One extra cold day when our little detail was assigned to pail oats, we were taken to a top floor in a large building along the railroad. We were each given a tool which was a large blade mounted on a long handle. To pail oats, we would get under the oats with the blade and turn them over. This system was used to keep moisture out of the oats so they wouldn’t mildew or sour. An Irish civilian, who was living in Germany and working with the Nazis was on the job. He was a friendly, no account type and very lax in his supervision. He was apparently tired from a night on the town and took a little snooze.
Easy Memories: The Way It Was
Camp Maxey, Texas: Full House My first contact with E Company took place a few weeks before the outfit shipped out from Maxey. I had recently completed I&R training at Blanding, and had orders to report to 99th Division after a few days delay in route. Several of my I&R buddies were issued the same orders. I utilized my time off to the fullest, reporting in at Maxey at the last minute. To my dismay, I learned that all I&R units were full as of yesterday – late arrivals were unwanted. Ah, but there were still a few openings in the rifle companies. I was sent to E. Batson, another late arrival, was sent to F. Second Battalion of 393rd Regiment was looking to fill its ranks.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to mark 20th anniversary
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will mark its 20th anniversary in 2013 at the National Tribute to Holocaust Survivors and Eyewitnesses in Washington, D.C., and at special daylong events around the country. Thousands from across the country and delegations from abroad are expected to attend the ceremony April 28-29, 2013, at the Washington Convention Center and the Museum in Washington, D.C., to honor survivors, pay tribute to the rescuers and recognize World War II veterans and liberators who fought to defeat tyranny.
Foxhole buddy sends birthday greetings
You really get to know a guy when you spend a month with him, living in a hole in the ground. Howard Stein and I were in the first squad of the first platoon of C/394. Our 99th Infantry Division was thinly spread on the outskirts of the Ardennes Forest near the Belgian-German border. It was there we became foxhole buddies.
German family offers hospitality
I was a member of the Communications Platoon, Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 394th Regiment. The last week of April, the division was advancing south and east of Munchen. The last midsize village I remember passing through was Landshut. We were told that one of the other regiments encountered unexpected resistance and casualties. The division stopped advancing and dispersed among a number of small villages.
My name is Jessica Mehring and I am writing to you because I am researching my great-uncle, Pfc. David Calvin Mehring (Oct. 25, 1921-June 17, 1944). I am looking for information about his World War II army service and a photograph of him. Uncle David trained at Camp Van Dorn from December 1942 to November 1943. He was in Company B, 116th Infantry Regiment and 395th Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division. He was killed in action at the Battle of Normandy.
Checkerboard is appreciated
I received my Checkerboards (third and fourth issues 2011). I have read them from cover to cover. You are to be commended for putting together an epic publication. The coverage of the final convention, in word and photos, of this historic event is a tribute to the 99th Infantry Division to live on for all to read years from now.
Seth Abbott Jr.
Seth Abbott Jr., 89, of Plano TX, died June 5, 2012. He was with the 14th Armored Division in 1942, and after six weeks was promoted to sergeant, then transferred to the ASTP. He joined the 99th Division in Belgium in January 1945. He was wounded in combat near Cologne, Germany, and was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. After the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Survivors include his wife, Patricia; a son; three daughters; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Eugene Bauer, M.D., 96, 1st Bn., 393rd Infantry Medics, of St. Paul MN, died Nov. 25, 2011. He was a battalion surgeon serving as captain in the Battle of the Bulge, Elsenborn Ridge, Remagen Bridge, and the Ruhr Pocket. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and finished his military career with a promotion to major. After World War II, he returned to the Mayo Clinic to complete his residency and established his medical practice in St. Paul. Survivors include five children; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Neal Bellos, 86, B/393, of Manlius NY, died Nov. 9, 2011. He spent time as an infantryman on Elsenborn Ridge, receiving two Bronze Stars and several other medals and ribbons. After the war, he graduated from the University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and finally from Syracuse University with his PhD from the Maxwell School of Citizenship. He worked as a community organizer and anti-poverty advocate, eventually retiring from Syracuse University where he was a full professor. Survivors include his wife of 52 years; two children; and one grandchild.
Al Boeger, C/393, of Hot Springs AR, died April 28, 2012. He attended many 99th reunions and enjoyed staying in touch with his wartime buddies. He is survived by his wife, Carmen.
Gerald H. "Jerry" Byrem
Gerald H. “Jerry” Byrem, 87, of Strasburg PA, died May 24, 2010. He graduated from Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in 1943, as a tool and die maker and a machinist, he enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers. He was assigned to the Tank Destroyers at Fort Hood TX, for basic training. Later, he was transferred to ASTP at Hendrix College in Conway AR. He was then transferred to the 99th Infantry Division at Camp Maxey TX, and was shipped overseas serving as an assistant squad leader. He was injured and evacuated to a hospital in France then England. After surgery and recovery, he rejoined his outfit and was with them to the end of the war. He graduated from Penn State in 1950, as an industrial engineer, working for AMP Inc. in Harrisburg PA, for 35 years. Survivors include his wife, Lois; two sons; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Raymond Cieslewicz, 94, 1st Bn., 394th Infantry Regiment, of Bloomingdale IL, died Sept. 2, 2011. His son, Michael accompanied him to the Kansas City Convention in 1998, and was “astonished to see the embrace the soldiers had for each other.”
William Galegar, 87, G/395, of Oklahoma City OK, died Dec. 10, 2011. After the war, he earned his B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering. His career took him from the Oklahoma State Health Department to the U.S. Public Health Service, to eventual Senior Executive Service in the EPA. Survivors include his wife, Jean; two daughters; and four grandchildren.
Alfred Goldstein, 88, S/924, Oak Park MI, died Dec. 29, 2011. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured, became a POW, then escaped. He volunteered in Israel during the Gulf War in 1991. He visited Israel 15 times and studied at the Ulpan Akiva. He was an avid bicyclist, biking in the Michigan 300 until he was 76 years old. He and his longtime companion, Pearl Foreman were regular attendees of the 99th conventions and he was a member of the Dearborn Convention Committee and past board member of the association. Other survivors include three children and four grandchildren.
Cecil Greathouse, 89, of Columbus GA, died April 4, 2012. He received a Purple Heart for wounds suffered Feb. 13, 1945, and also was awarded a Bronze Star. After his discharge from the U.S. Army he joined the Georgia National Guard and retired from that organization in 1968. He was a lab technician for the Georgia Department of Transportation for 30 years and also was a court bailiff and auxiliary deputy for many years. Survivors include his wife, Retha; two sons; two stepdaughters; a stepson; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Dr. Guy Harrison
Dr. Guy Harrison, 87, H/394, of Plano TX, died Dec. 21, 2011. He received two Bronze Stars and a battlefield commission before being discharged in 1946. He worked as a coach and teacher in several school districts in Texas, retiring as assistant superintendent of instruction at Irving Independent School District in 1984. He was active in the First Methodist Church in Gladewater TX, serving in many capacities. Survivors include his wife, Margaret; two children; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Stanley Lambert, 86, Blue Ash OH, died Nov. 26, 2011. He received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, he had a 40-year engineering career at Procter & Gamble. He was instrumental in the development of many of the leading technologies on Tide and other P&G detergents. Survivors include four children; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Irving Mark, 87, C/395, of Scranton PA, died April 19, 2012. He joined the ASTP at Louisiana State University and served in the 99th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart Medal, which he declined, in order to return to his unit. He was a registered pharmacist and proprietor of Mark’s Pharmacy for more than three decades and a pharmacist for several area pharmacies. Survivors include three children; and six grandchildren.
Patrick Morrissey, 88, C/393, of Fargo ND, died June 11, 2012. He was a mechanical engineer, retiring in 1983 from Dakota Electric Supply Company in 1983. He was an avid golfer, devoted sports fan and voracious reader. Survivors include two daughters; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Edwin Bruce Mumford
Edwin Bruce Mumford, 89, Bloomfield Hills MI, died Dec. 17, 2011. He served as a sergeant in charge of communications for the 324th Combat Engineer Battalion. In December 1944, his unit was behind German lines for the initial three days of the Battle of the Bulge and anchored the forward slope of the line on Elsenborn Ridge from Dec. 19-26. He transported his saxophone in his jeep and played in divisional bands throughout the war. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. He moved to Detroit in 1958, and had a 58-year career in the automotive industry as head of Global Sales for Anchor Conveyors of Dearborn MI, and head of Allied Conveyors of America in Bloomfield Hills. Survivors include two sons and six grandchildren.
Kenneth Myers, 91, Q/394, of Maple Valley WA, died Dec. 21, 2011. He lived in Takoma Park MD, for more than 65 years, where he had a successful plumbing business. He enjoyed representing the 99th in several National Memorial Day Parades in Washington, D.C. Survivors include a daughter; a granddaughter; and two great-grandchildren.
Bohdan Pacala, 90, Q/393, of Bethlehem PA, died July 2, 2012. A sergeant with Headquarters Company, 393rd Infantry Regiment, he was wounded in Belgium and was awarded the Purple Heart. After the war, he worked for 40 years at steel fabricator Bethlehem Fence. Survivors include his wife, Annie; two daughters; and three grandchildren.
Alfred Platte Jr.
Alfred Platte Jr., 88, of Baton Rouge LA, died Sept. 7, 2011. He attended Louisiana State University before serving three years with the 99th Infantry Division combat engineers during World War II. He also served as an instructor in the Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill OK, during the Korean War. He was a certified public accountant. Survivors include his wife, Frankie; daughter; and four grandchildren.
Fielding Pope, 87, F/395, of Dallas TX, died Jan. 25, 2012. Survivors include his wife, Jean; a son; two daughters; and three grandchildren.
Robert H. Quinn
Robert H. Quinn, 91, M/393, of Rochester NY, died Feb. 7, 2012. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star, Great Britain’s King George Medal, and more recently, the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. A dedicated employee of Eastman Kodak for 40 years, he retired in 1982, as a general foreman. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mae. Survivors include three children; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Richard R. "Dick" Richards
Richard R. “Dick” Richards, 95, C/395, of Williams Township PA, died Feb. 4, 2012. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. He retired from Taylor Wharton Company where he was a crane operator for 20 years. Survivors include two daughters; two sons; and five grandchildren.
Lewis Roosa, 86, G/395, of Paoli PA, died Oct. 9, 2011. In 1943, he joined the ASTP program at Tarleton College in Texas, but when the war in Europe escalated, he was transferred to the 99th and shipped to England. Once when on patrol, he became separated from his group, and found himself confronted by a German armored car. “In the face of heavy concentration of machine gun fire, Pvt. Roosa worked his BAR into position and brought devastating fire on the enemy guns. So furious was the hail of bullets fired by Roosa’s rifle, the enemy was forced to withdraw,” reads the citation from his Silver Star. After the war, he enrolled in MIT, graduating in 1949 with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He worked with GE Company for 34 years, retiring in 1988. He then obtained his teacher’s certificate and was a substitute teacher for several high schools. Survivors include his wife, Jean; four children; and five grandchildren.
Clifford Vincent Samuels
Clifford Vincent Samuels, 89, 3/395, of Sturgis MI, died Feb. 28, 2012. He was awarded three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. He retired from Paramount Furniture Company, Sturgis MI, following 19 years of employment. Before that he had been employed for 42 years by Sturgis Newport Business Forms. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; three sons; nine grandchildren; three step-grandsons; 13 great-grandchildren; and four great-great-grandchildren.
Herman Saunders, K/394, of Baldwin NY, died Dec. 22, 2011. He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and was a prisoner of war. He was a talented musician and an integral part of every 99th convention for many years, as the accompanist for the Checkerboard Chorus and memorial services. He was preceded in death by his wife, Anna. Survivors include four children and one grandson.
Beverly Owen Smith Jr.
Beverly Owen Smith Jr., 89, of Louisville KY, died Feb. 22, 2012. He was a corporal in the 99th Division Artillery. He retired from American Air Filter, Louisville KY, in 1985. Survivors include his wife, Catherine; four children; three grandchildren; and several step-grandchildren.
Frank J. Smollon Jr.
Frank J. Smollon Jr., 88, K/393, of Annapolis MD, died Sept. 2, 2012. He was captured by the Germans the first day of the Battle of the Bulge. After his escape and return home he was honored with the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Prisoner of War Medal. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was employed by General Electric, Maryland Shipbuilding and Dry-Dock and Transamerica DeLaval. Survivors include his wife, Florence; three children; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Paul Sundermeier, L/393, of Bowling Green OH, died April 9, 2011, after a long illness. He began at Camp Van Dorn, but after the march to Texas he left the outfit and was transferred to the Air Force. He was sent to England and spent two years in the 8th Air Force. His wife, Marcena said his heart was always with the 99th, and they attended many conventions.
Aubrey A. Wallace
Aubrey A. Wallace, 89, D/MED, of Bogue Chitto MS, died Nov. 25, 2011.
Arthur Fox Wood IV
Arthur Fox Wood IV, 89, R/099, of Seven Devils NC, died July 2, 2012. He served in the U.S. Army and Air Force during World War II and the Korean War. He was a retired agricultural engineer. He is survived by his wife, Shirley.
Checkerboard needs content
It’s been more than a year since the final convention and this is only the second issue of the Checkerboard for 2012. Readers may have had their doubts that the newspaper was still in publication. At the final board meeting, the board of directors agreed to continue publishing the Checkerboard as long as the funds and content holds out.
Battle of the Bulge, Elsenborn, ME109s
The day after we moved from our first farmhouse in Elsenborn, I shot down my first German aircraft. I had just returned from the kitchen and pulled into the yard in front of the house. I reported to the CO, and then went out front to turn my jeep and trailer around to face the road – just in case we had to leave in a hurry. I backed the trailer onto the cobblestone street and pulled forward so I could back into the yard. As I pulled up I noticed a command vehicle and a ¾-ton truck pull off the road. Everyone jumped out and lay down in the ditch alongside the road. It was very quiet, but no one gets into a ditch without a reason. I got out of my jeep and looked down the road toward the main intersection. Two ME-109 airplanes were coming in just over the treetops. One plane peeled off at the main intersection and headed north. The other plane continued east in my direction. They must have been out of ammunition because they were not strafing.
Bucyrus man charged pillbox to stay alive
On a chilly Feb. 14, 1945, Cpl. Gerald Stoll decided he would rather fight than die. The result was a Bronze Star.
'The men wanted warmth - even if they did get killed'
Army Sgt. Bohdan T. Pacala, a 1940 graduate of Northampton High School, was badly burned in the face and hands the first week of December 1944, in an explosion at Krinkelt, Belgium. Pacala, a clerk who coded and decoded messages and dispatched drivers for the 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division, was recording a hospital in Cherbourg, France, as Christmas neared and the Battle of the Bulge raged.
Harry Arnold's Easy Memories, continued
Belgium The second lieutenants will win the war, so what in the hell are we fighting for? Words from GI song One thing observably different when we crossed into Belgium was the warmth and friendliness of the people. Where the French exhibited little emotion as we passed, the Belgians were more demonstrative, cheering, waving, and giving the victory sign, and presenting us with bread, fruit, wine – whatever they had to offer. Their obvious appreciation of our presence did much for our mood, which changed from morose to cheerful.
Nelson makes donation to Piddlehinton church
In the fall of 1944, I Company of the 393rd Regiment was located in the little country village of Piddlehinton, which was north of Dorchester on the southern coast of England. We were there most of October and were housed in red brick buildings and given straw for our sleeping mattresses. This had been a German prisoner of war camp and they moved the prisoners out to make room for us. What is ironic is that those of us in ASTP had had our infantry basic training at Camp Maxey in the summer of 1943, in another prisoner of war camp called “Jap Trap,” so Piddlehinton was our second housing in a former prisoner camp. In 1984, my wife and I went to England to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and first drove down to Piddlehinton. I was shocked to see people living in our old barracks, 40 years after we were there. They must have been quite poor. I think they worked in Dorchester.
Daughter joins association
Enclosed please find a check to sign me up as a new member of the association. My dad, Harry Valdespino, fought with the 99th. He was a heavy machine gunner in M/394. He went in as a replacement sometime in December 1944, and fought till he was war-wounded on April 9, 1945. He lost his left arm at the shoulder.
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