Summer - 70th Infantry Division Association



Summer - 70th Infantry Division Association
The President's
"Mixed emotions" certain[y describes
my feelings as I write this, my tirst report to
you as your president.
I am, of course, honored and proud to be
the head of an organization as alive and
important as the 70th Division Association .
But I am sad that my term had to begin
prematurely because of Neal Gibbs' resignation.
I speak for every Trailblazerwhen I thank
him for his invaluable services in the post
and wish him and Beverlymanymoreyears
of happy life.
My wife and I recently had the opportunitytovisitNeal and Bevandtheyasked me
to thank everyone for the thoughtful letters
and cards of support and encouragement.
We were able to discuss many ot Neal's
thoughts and plans for the Association.
While we were there, Lou Hoger, our sec-
Alex Jolmson
retary-treasurer, dropped in for a short
visit, too.
I am pleased to report that Neal has
wrapped up the arrangements forourLouisville Reunion next year. He and the Time
and Place Committee did a fine job and I
know that our Kentucky get-together will be
a memorable one.
Meanwhile, as always, your officers are
ready to serve you in any way we can . Just
drop us a line. All our address and phone
numbers (something new!) are on this page.
In the next issue of this magazine I'll list
the committee chairmen who will be working on the Louisville meeting.
is published four times a
year by the 70th Infantry
Division Association and
friends . Subscription: $12
Edmund C. Arnold
3208 Hawthorne Ave.
Richmond, VA 23222
(804) 329-5295
Associate Editor
Chester F. Garstki
2946 N. Harding Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(312) 725-3948
Vol. 49
Summer, 1991
Alex C. Johnson
833 N. Carlyle Lane
Arlington Hts., IL 60024
(705) 506-9884
Neal C. Gibbs
11910 Moonlight Rd.
Olathe, KS 66061
(913) 764-0388
Past President
Norman J. Johnson
3344 Bryant Ave.
Anoka, MN 55303
(612) 421-7265
70th gets new commanding general
The "new" Trailblazer Division have a
new commanding general. Brig. Gen. James
Pocock, who took command on May 2,
succeeds Maj. Gen. James Mukoyama,
Jr., who was promoted to deputy commanding general of the Training and Doctrine Command of the U.S. Army Reserve
70th Infantry Division
at Fort Monroe, Virginia.
The 70th Training was mobilized and
served at Fort Benning, Georgia, during the
Desert War. It had more soldiers and more
units activated than any other training division ever has.
Gen. Pocock is a native of Michigan and
a graduate of West Point. He has a Master's
degree in communications from Michigan
State University.
He began his military career as a platoon
leader in the 14th Armored Cavalry. He
moved up through Armored to become
deputy chief of staff for operations for the
U.S. Army in Europe and the Seventh Army.
Since 1964 he has been in the Regular
Army and served in VietNam. He has held
many commands including chief of staff of
the 70th Training Division and, most recently, commanding general of the 300th
Military Police (Prisoner of War) command.
His many decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Paratrooper tab and
the Ranger tab.
He and his wife Gloria live in Okemos,
Michigan. They have four children. One
son is an Air Force captain, another is a
writer for "Prairie Farmer" magazine, a
third has just graduated from the School of
Architecture at the University of Michigan.
A daughter lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
Vice President-West
Paul E. Thirion
6669 Nicolett
Riverside, CA 92504
(714) 682-2963
Vice President-East
Wm. R. Kiefriter
50 Woodhill Dr.
Willow Grove, PA 19090
(215) 657-0212
Louis Hoger
5825 Horton
Mission, KS 66202
(H) 913-722-2024
(0) 816-931-4333
Asst. Sect.-Treas.
Calvin L. Jones
227 NE 105th Ave.
Portland, OR 97220
(503) 253-8575
L. Donald Docken
170 N. Ruth St., #1005
St. Paul. MN 55119
(612) 735-8325
Asst. Chaplain
Rev. Harry Durkee
7739 Via Napoli
Burbank, CA 91504
(818) 767-0794
Donald C. Pence
Carolina Trace
285 Fairway Lane
Sanford, North Carolina 21730
(919) 499-5949
Dr. Eugene Petersen
1850 Randy St.,
San Leandro, California 94579
(415) 351-0861
SOFTENED CITYTrailblazer Divarty joined with other U.S. artillery on
the south bank of the Saar River to soften up
Saarbrucken in the Spring of 1945. When these 274th
men-around 5 a.m. on March 20----entered the city,
from which the enemy had retreated under the intense
bombardments, they found this graphic evidence of
the fury of the American shelling. (Signal Corps photo)
Wingen plaque projects proceeds well
Eugene Burtner, L/276, was named
chairman of the two-Regiment committee charged with placing a plaque to
commemorate the actions ot the 274th
and 276th in the Battle of Wingen. He
makes the following report:
"The votes are in regarding the
plaques for Wingen's memorial. The
inscription is the general consensus of
you, the committee, with slight changes
by Fred Cassidy and me. Instead of a
division between us, we are unified,
and this is as it should be because we
were comrades-in-arms in this pivotal
battle during WWII.
"The people of Wingen are giving us
a stone, cut in the protile of Mount
Hood with the Trailblazer insignium
etched into it. On it will be attixed two
plaques, one in English, one in French.
On each plaque will be a small enam-
Summer. 1991
eled 70th division axe-head emblem in
"The inscription says: 'IN TRIBUTE to
the men of the American 274th and
276th Infantry Regiments-Task Force
Herren-who won the freedom of
Wingen-sur-Moder, 3-7 January
1945. And in memory of those who
gave their lives in this battle. Dedicated
by the U.S. Infantry (Trailblazer)
Division Association and by the citizens
of Wingen-sur-Moder. 22 September
Committee Members:
Davenport, F/274
Bill Bergren, B/276
Hy Schorr, H/274
Ray Maichow, B/276
Jim Lassiter, Associate Member 70th
Andrew McMahon, E/276
Fred Cassidy, G/274
Bayonet fighter's
experience recalled
In the Spring, '87 issue you reported the
death of John Schwaegel,G/274, and mentioned that he was one of the few Trailblazers
who actually engaged in hand-to-hand bayonet combat. It was reported to me that Frank
Hickerson of the 3rdBn/276, was also areal
bayonet fighter. I later saw that Frank had
retired to Arizona and had joined the Association. I hope he will tell you more details
about such combat.
Ralph Stockman
Pence, B/275 and Association historian.
"I have since learned that this patrolmade up of men from several companieswas sent out from the G Company area to
attempt to get through the Siegfried Line,"
says Charlie. "The 70th defense line was on
the wooded ridge overlooking a road that has
now become a 4-lane highway.
(P)raising Cain!
Two 'Blazers come up with
story of heroic comrade
The circuitry of this wartime story is
circuitous (no pun intended) so read carefully. Men who served in A/275th frobably never knew that the heroism o their
buddy was finally recognized by a major
Carl Mathes, HQ 1st Bn/275, recently
opened a box which he had shipped from
Schweinfurt, Germany where he had
served in the 3rd Division after the 70th
went home. In it, among many military
souvenirs, was a copy oHhe 3rd' s "Front
Line" of 1946. It carried a story about Pfc
Jess Cain, then with the 15th Infantry
Band, who had been with A/275 in his
Trail blazer days. The story relates:
It was a nice sunny day in March,
1945, in the hills justoutsideSaarbrucken
where the 70th was preparing to attack
that key city. Jess and two others were
sitting outside their foxholes, enjoying the
early Spring. Word came that one of
them was to join a patrol and Jess took the
In the bright sunlight, the patrol started
toward the German lines. Moving on a
narrow ledge, the group was suddenly
fired upon by several enemy machine
guns. Five men were struck before they
could hit the ground and soan Jess was
the only unwounded man.
After hugging the ground for two hours,
he decided he had to get back and get
helf? for his wounded buddies. Rising to
his feet, he made a mad dash up the steep
slope he had descended those perilous
two hours earlier. To his surprise, the
enemy didn't fire until he had reached the
top. Running to Battalion CP, he related
what had happened. Then he grabbed a
helmet to replace the one he lost and
insisted on leading the Medics back to
evacuate his buddies.
For his selfless action, Jess was later
awarded the Silver Star and his story was
told in "Newsweek" and dramatized on
the radio."
With the 3rd, Jess, who then was still only
19, was the vocalist and front man for the
"Sentimentalists", the Regimental swing
And now the plot thickens. As this is being
written, comes a letter from Charles Paskvan,
A/275. He had learned about the Association
in 1980, joined and immediately started
searching for members of that very patrol. He
had been the BAR-man in the 17 -man force
which lost nine killed and seven wounded.
Paskvan was hit by three bullets on that illfated trek.
From Roger Farris, G/275, he learned of
Jess Cain's whereabouts. He is a Boston
television personality and works at a studio
on Beacon Street in Boston. Charlie sent to
Jess a copy of the story about the patrol that
had run in the "Trailblazer" of Spring, 1987,
in one of the series of articles by Donald
During his second civilian trip back to
Germany, in 1989,he went to St. Arnual,just
south, across the Saar River, from
Saarbrucken, and tracked down the place
where the patrol had been anrnrulated. The
new highway has pretty well replaced the
Siegfried Line, he says, although there are
still some concrete uprights nearer
"I started looking for patrol members at
the Minneapolis Reunion. In December,
1990, I fmally found our get-away man
whom we had left halfway up the hill facing
St. Arnual ... it was Jess Cain!"
'New' 70th veterans
eligible as members
$1 2 annual dues to the secretarytreasurer.
Some members have suggested
forming a unit called "Sons ofT railblazers". Of course, the phrase "and
Daughters" should be added. Children
-indeed any relatives or friends-of
original 70th veterans are eligibleand welcomed-as Associate Members.
The call -up of some units of the
"new" 70th Division in the Gulf War
has prompted inquiries about membership in the Association . Members of the
70th (Training) Division are eligible for
Associate Membership. They have all
the privileges of WW2 members except
the right to vote. No formalities are
required; they need only to forward the
Layton seeks Medic
who aided deafened
Does anyone know a Medic whose name
could have been Leo Day? I'd like his address. I think he was the Medic who treated
me in a small town near Forbach, France, in
January or February, 1945, when I was injured. It was a 88mm round to which the man
next to me lost both legs at the knees. The
third round of 88mm hit company headquarters, and the company jeep driver had 14
holes in his back and was sent to a hospital
in England.
My ears were bleeding and I was treated
by a Medic instead of going to a hospital
where I certainly should have gone. I was
treated for two weeks by this Medic and we
had to write notes to each other because I
could not hear anything. I still have trouble
trying to hear or understand someone talking. If you know the Medic's address, please
write me or phone (293) 686-2310.
I agree with Ernie Richards about contacting more non-members by an ad in the AARP
I only saw four H/276 men at the Las
Vegas convention. I would like to read more
in the "Trailblazer" about my old company.
Arthur Cecil Layton
PO Box 338
Nashville, Georgia 31639
When two of the company officers were
killed in the same day, it left an impression
that John Presley, I/274, has never forgotten. John joined the 70th at Leonard Wood
and stayed till his discharge in July, '46.
He worked in a rayon plant in his native
Arden, North Carolina. He has two sons and
four grandchildren.
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
GRANTING THE DEATH WISHHitler had ordered his troops to hold Saarbrucken unto
death. So the Germans had to be blasted-literallyout of their heavily reenforced bunkers, part of the
formidable Siegfried Line. The German 6th SS Moun-
The small, lonely world
of the soldier in combat
C/274 Medics
The individual soldier could not know the overall picture of
combat or even where he was or what went on at a distance any
farther than he could see. I found myself in this situation.
After some research, I now believe it was the morning of Feb.
19, 1945. I, a Medic with one of the platoons ofC/274, headed down
the wooded slopes ofKreutzberg Ridge toward the Metz Highway.
On the way down we skirted a small clearing. Fighting in the woods
was everywhere.
The group I was following entered a thicket of small evergreen
trees. We were single file, picking our way carefully. Suddenly the
lead man held up his hand and started circling back. We each got
a good look. We were now looking at the backs of about 20 Krauts
who were digging feverishly on a long trench! Not one of them had
seen us. We very quietly made our way out just the way we entered.
We then passed three of our men who were lying on the ground.
wounded. The most alert of the three said to me, "Doc, you gotta
get me out of here." My men were fast disappearing up the slope.
A decision had to be made.
I grabbed the last man of the disappearing column. He didn't give
me any argument ... just slung his rifle over his shoulder and we
Summer. 1991
tain Division, with whom the 70th had engaged in
bloody battles in the Vosges, again faced the young
Trailblazers who quickly became battle-tested veterans. (Signal Corps photo)
got our wounded buddy between us with one arm around each of
our necks.
By this time the shooting had quieted down. Everything was just
too quiet. We felt we had to take the shortest way back .. . which
was straight across that small clearing which we had avoided on
the way down.
We stopped and rested twice on the way across that clearing and
not a rifle cracked. I could just about feel the eyes of all watching
us. When we reached the upper edge of the clearing and an irrigation
ditch that watered the field, we laid our exhausted comrade in the
protection of the ditch and my rifleman friend took off up the
mountain to catch the rest.
I made out a medical tag for Pfc George Poole and promised to
return after dark with a litter squad. At this moment an automatic
weapon opened up on a small cedar tree growing out of the ditch
bank right above our heads. I dropped into the protection of the ditch
with Poole and the bark chips fell down on my face as I watched
that tree being almost cut off. (Some one wanted to let me know
that I really hadn't gotten away with anything.)
When I returned after dark with a litter squad, Poole had died
but the litter squad brought out the other two that night.
When I had to leave Poole to find my unit I arrived through the
woods a ways from where a battle was developing between one
of our tanks and Jerry troops in a deep trench on top of the ridge.
Later that night, too tired to dig in we just lay down at the base of
a tree and felt the drip, drip, drip of water drops on our faces.
Brief but bloody. • •
Battered by bullets,
new second looie
survives Stiring-Wendel
In Phillipsbourg, about January 15, 1945, I received a message
to report to S-2. They informed me that I was up for a field
commission, but the final choice was mine. I chose to. I had to hurry
to gather my personal effects and be taken with about a dozen others
to receive training.
When I received my commission I was given a choice of where
to go. I chose to return to the 70th, the only unit I knew. I requested
Co. B, 274th and the third platoon. Requests granted. So the newly
commissioned 2nd Lieutenant headed back to the frontlines on
February 19. We had been allowed the 18th to get new bars,
uniforms, etc.
On the evening of February 20 I arrived at Spicheren Heights.
This was the first look I had at German gun emplacements and pill
boxes which overlooked the approach to Kreutzberg Ridge and
Hitler's "Holy Ground". There were, I believe, five pill boxes our
troops had captured. German soldier's bodies were stacked, frozen,
ready for burial, obviously postponed by the capture of Spicheren
Heights. This observation brought me back to a quick realization
that I was back to where the action was!
Near one of the pill boxes I was let out of the jeep and told where
the CP of Co. B was located. There was an introduction to my
commanding officer, Capt Mitchell, who had replaced Capt Decamp. I was then taken to the third platoon where we had a
heartwarming reunion. This was what I needed, to be reassured the
third platoon felt as affectionately toward me as I did toward each
one of them. This was the only company and only platoon with
whom I would ever be associated. My basic training and all duty
was here with this platoon. Need one wonder why I felt so warm
at being back with my men.
After this show of affection and near tears, I was brought up to
date on who had been wounded or killed since I had been gone;
many I knew and loved. I was assured over and over how grateful
they were that I was back.
The assignment for the first night was setting up to protect the
draw between the ridge occupied by Co. A and the ridge occupied
by Co. C, we in B Co. being in reserve. This night passed without
too much activity except occasional mortar and artillery.
February 21 was a day holding in store some strange experiences.
This was new territory and I being an inquisitive person, it came
naturally for me to explore. It was quiet this morning so I meandered
around, being careful not to get too far from my platoon. There were
numerous dead Krauts lying on the slopes of Kreutzberg Ridge.
The quiet was brought to an abrupt halt when artillery and mortar
fire began dropping. We were ordered to proceed along a trail that
ran along the left of the ridge occupied by A Co. As we rounded
about 200 yards all heck broke loose by small arms fire. When we
thought we had quieted them, anti-aircraft guns opened up to our
left, and coming out of, or behind, some houses. The fire was so
thick it seemed as if everyone was going to get his pants knocked
One fellow down below in the trail was hit and began yelling
for help. I went over the side, ran down to grab him and run back
up the hill to safety where some of my platoon were in a dugout
on the high side of the trail. We carried the wounded man, (I did
not know his name) into the dugout. It was embarrassing to him
when we found a piece of small ack-ack outer shell stuck in the
small of his back. Luckily there was very little damage. Wick
Richardson removed the fragment and dressed the cut.
ARASSMENT CONTINUED until after dark at which time
we returned to our assigned area to dig in and set our defense
up along the draw as we had done the previous night. This night
was spent in relative quiet.
February 22 was my day number two as a lieutenant. Before
daybreak we were ordered to take a position on the left side of the
ridge being occupied by Co. A. Shortly after dawn shells began to
come in rather heavy, making all hunt cover. The trees had been
stripped of most of the foliage that had made for good camouflage.
We were ordered to move out along the ridge about 100 yards from
the crest to resist an attack being launched. We were able to advance
very slowly during the next two or three hours. During this time
casualties were few; about two or three during the afternoon.
We had covered about 500 yards. Suddenly we ran smack into
all kinds of machine gun and rifle fire. The Germans were well dug
in and it seemed we had been stopped dead in our tracks. We inched
forward with Lenk's and Bergstrom's squads in the attack. I was
with Sgt. Lank's squad. We advanced over a little knoll and Lenk
and I dived under the same tree top where we returned the fire. The
whole area was being raked with machine gun fue. One could hear,
feel and even smell the slugs there were so many. I heard Lenk call
out, "Inzer! I've been hit!" Then came a little moan.I asked, "How
bad?" With a strained laugh or chuckle, he said, "I've been hit in
the butt! What will my friends think?"
Lenk, portraying the type soldier he was, stayed put and continued fuing and directing his squad from that position. After about
an hour ofbeing pinned down, we had also kept the Germans pinned
down. The Germans then ran up white flags attached to their rifles
and tree limbs. A few of the inexperienced troops raised up. The
Germans evidently presumed that was all of us. They opened fire
again. This was their mistake because we got almost all of them
before they could regain the safety of their fox holes. There were
two or three captured and the rest lay dead. Our price was two or
three wounded and none dead from Co. B. The ground was regained
and all was under control.
E WERE ORDERED back to our nightly position of pro
tecting our draw. After darkness, on orders from Capt.
Mitchell, I went back to the company CP in the bunker just below
the crest of the ridge. Though company officers knew me to be a
teetotaler, the ration of booze was mentioned. This was my fust
time to draw it, so I promptly picked up my bottles and went back
to my platoon where I passed it around.
The 23rd promised to be a mean day. The bitter weather was
bone-chilling cold as the snow lay deep on the ground. There was
no place to escape the elements by night or day. We were becoming
somewhat accustomed to this as much as human bodies could.
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
Before daybreak a messenger came to my fox hole with orders
to report to Capt. Mitchell. I was ordered to go across the draw and
go on to the left ridge occupied by Co. C and then down the ridge
to hit the flank of Germans who were attacking Co. C.
Kerchursky had taken command ofLenk's squad. Dourand and
"Sandpoint" Bergstrom had the other two squads. Dourand and
Bergstrom were with me and Kerchursky was in support. I decided
to go above the trail and make our way to the top. Peila was up front
as the scout. As we came across a little flat, being overlooked by
a drop-off of about 20 or 30 feet, Peila came back and told me he
was scared and I said, "That's two of us". From here Peila and I
were the scouts.
As the dawn began to break we picked our way quietly and
cautiously to the bottom of the cliff. There I saw silhouetted a
German helmet against the skyline. I halted the platoon and
observed several more helmets. I was preparing to open fire.
T/Sgt. Porter came running up and said, "Don't shoot, they are
Americans". This was my mistake and so was my next move.
I called for the password and was answered with rifle fire. I was
the first man hit. The slug penetrated the center of my chest and
exited from the lower left chest wall, taking half of my lung and
leaving the other half collapsed with sections of four ribs missing.
I gave orders to retreat. No one did, except Traum who was sent
back for support. I dived for cover toward my left and hit the ground
and safety, I thought. A machine gun opened up and sent six slugs
into my right thigh breaking the bone. The next volley landed
several more slugs in my right arm mangling the humerus and
GT. DOURAND, a very small man, came from a protected
area running up to me making every effort to carry me out. I
told him, "Get back". This he did but only for about six steps before
machine gun fire finished him. (This man had given his life trying
to save mine. His bravery was like so many more of Co. B. 274th
Regiment men with whom I had the honor of serving.) After this
there were numerous rounds which seemed to hit under my body.
It is strange what the impact of a round can do. They would jar the
daylights out of a person.
Russell and Thomas Miller (same last names, but no kin) and
Movarah were killed back to my left. All had been wounded and
killed trying to get back to safety. John "Whiskey Wick" Richardson
was severly wounded in the right shoulder but was able to get out
and get some artillery support. The machine gun and rifle fire
continued pounding under my chest and head and I lost my cool
and crawled back to where I got the first slug. I remember nothing
else until the firing stopped.
The Germans came down in mass and set up a defense between
me and our troops. At this point Peila, Sgt. Porter and Sgt.
(Continued on next page)
DOWN FROM THE HEIGHTSHigh ground that Hitler had proclaimed "holy" was the
jumping-off point for the 274th Regiment on its way to
Summer, 1991
Saarbrucken. It bucked heavy resistance in the drive
onto the town of Stiring Wendel and the vital Metz
Highway. (Signal Corps photo)
Stiring Wendell
Bergstrom were brought where I lay on my abdomen. They each
had right leg injuries. Peila was using a branch for a makeshift
crutch. These three were led away as prisoners by the Germans.
From reports its seems Kerchursky, Porter, Peila, Bergstrom and
Traum (Traum not wounded) were the only survivors.
Where I Jay was a path leading up through a cut in the embankment. Face down, I was lying on possibly a fence or telephone wire.
As the Germans came from either direction they would step on the
wire and I could detect their coming and going. After a short period
of time they went about their usual stripping of the dead and
wounded. I had 25 or 30 dehydrated chocolate bars and a couple
of pounds of lemon drop candy which they took.
I lay in this position until evening. I fmally asked a very young,
(perhaps 15 or 16 years old) German aid boy to turn me over on
my back. He was assisted by one of the soldiers, but my right foot
was left pointing downward. This left my right leg twisted and
perhaps providentially arranged to stop the bleeding, or at least
check it. The same young boy administered first aid. He put a single
small band aid over the spot on my chest where the frrst slug entered.
He fashioned a splint from a small tree twig and used two straps
for fastening the splint; one strap high on the arm and one below
what was left of the elbow.
I did not take my sulpha pills at once because I had thought, "If
I have an intestinal wound I'll divide the 24 hours so I'll have 12
hours grace". Late on the evening of the 23rd I decided to take the
sulpha tablets that each soldier carried for emergency medical care.
This was a major operation for me. With my left hand, I had to reach
under my back to the right side of my cartridge belt where the pills
were carried in a pouch. This was extremely painful as the left
ribcage had been opened by the broken ribs. My breathing made
a whistling noise through the gaping wound. Finally I managed to
get the pills and swallowed all but one which was fumbled into the
snow. I was never able to retrieve it.
I asked the German boy for water as we had been instructed to
drink water with the sulpha pills. I knew I needed one canteen and
I only had one-half a canteen. With sign language and pointing to
the dead body of Sgt. Dourand, with a full canteen, I got the aid
boy brought to me that canteen.
I shall always remember that water. Dourand always mooched
lemon powder from everyone. I do believe his canteen held pure
lemon, it was so sour and almost impossible to drink even under
these circumstances, but at least it was not frozen.
HE GERMANS NEVER SEEMED to notice me after they
lifted my candy. The artillery and mortar fire was on the dot
and it was not pleasant as I lay in the middle of it all, unable to move.
If memory serves me correct! y there seemed to be 10 or 12 barrages
in all during February 23, 24 and 25. Some were American, some
German as the Germans seemed to be just individual
Germans deciding to get moving. Sometime on the 25th they
withdrew as a group and started shelling.
I do not know exactly the time of day when the Co. B messenger,
(Joe Harris was his name I think) came up; he was apprarently just
looking around. When he walked near I spoke. I shall never forget
his facial expression. I had bullet shredded clothes, blood over a
goodly portion of my body and face mingled with a week's growth
of beard. I was bleeding profusely through the nose and mouth. No
wonder he did not believe what he saw. He never spoke a word
to me, but hurried away. (Sgt. Linder C. Gill relayed this to me at
a much later date.) Harris came running back to the CP and
announced in a very excited emotional voice, "I found Inzer and
he's still alive!" In the matter of minutes a stretcher came with
Harris, Gill our aid man, Coffee, and several other good Co. B men.
The moment I was back with my company has to be the most
joyous of my life. I insisted upon their stopping at the CP; I had
the strongest urge to report to Capt. Mitchell where the Germans
were, how many, etc. even though two full days and dusk of the
third day had passed. By then they probably knew much more than
I did. The men helping me granted me that privilege and even
though my condition was weakened and I was puffing on one lung
I gave that report all I had. I felt I had done my best.
I am sure my last visit to the B Co. CP was a matter of minutes.
I felt I was leaving a part of me on Kreutzberg Ridge as the litter
bearers carried me back to a waiting ambulance and headed for the
field hospital. My thoughts were trailing behind of the sweet
memories, fond, deep friendships, love, respect and a pride instilled
in me for the only division, only battalion, only company, and the
only platoon I ever knew; one that would be a part of me forever.
Vegas sales table
reports record sum
'Tour guides' at Saarbrucken
send greetings to Trailblazers
Final reports show that the sales table
at the Las Vegas Reunion rang up
$4,225 in Trailblazer memorabilia.
Archie and Evelyn Smith, chaired the
committee. Members were Alex and
Jeanette Kalisuch, Ray and Mary
Bennett, David and Ida Hing, Bob
and Lollie Budnik, Bill and Nancy
Bassak, Ed and Margaret Larson ,
Ralph and Elaine Melsheimer,
Tom Dickinson and Bill and Ruth
Sarangouis. Frank and Vi Kloiber
were on the committee but couldn't
make the Reunion because of his heart
I am not a veteran of the 70th Infantry
Division. However we were your tour guide
in the crossing of the Saar at Saarbrucken.
We were the 289th Combat Engineers Battalion.
We have had four reunions. At the frrst we
had six present; at the second, 12, and the
third, 28. Last October atFortM yers, Florida,
we had over 60. In only a few months I have
"found" about 15 old 289th buddies myself,
including former Lt. Col. Wallace who was
our Battalion commander.
We made tapes of some of the war stories
and you fellows were the subject of conver-
sation. You may remember that the frrst
scheduled crossing was scrubbed because of
fog and we all had to wait until the next day.
Our next river crossing was the Rhine at
Worms. Dam near got blown away by the
German artillery as we and the ambulances
went across and dug in into the black mud.
Please give our best regards to all 70th Division vets. We certainly share something in
Companies A, B, C, HQ and Service
289th Engineers (Combat) Battalion
by Dalton R. Dennis
1211 Dowgood Drive
Clinton, Mississippi 39056
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
The Grinch in uniform
Callous officer steals Christmas
from unfortunate Trail blazers
Every year as the holiday season approaches, my thoughts go back to Christmas
Eve, 1944. The majority of our troops were
moving north from Marseilles by 40&8s to
take up positions against the enemy. I, along
with others from the Regiment, was going by
convoy. We spent the first night on an abandoned airfield. The vehicles were lined in
rows and the only place to pitch our tents was
on the frozen ground between.
Some of the fellows opted to sleep in the
jeeps, with their shelter halves as side curtains. My driver and I set up our tent on the
ground. That night it snowed but we were
warm and cozy with a couple of candles to
heat the tent. Those in the jeeps spent a
miserable night. Needless to say the next
night they set up their tents, too.
E ARRNED in Dijon, France and
set up camp in a large city park on
the evening of Dec. 24. I was assigned a
detail with an officer from Battalion (I never
did know his name, something I regret) to
get water for the Battalion. I asked the cooks
to keep some water hot as I was going to
shave for Christmas.
We set off to find the water point and ran
across a Red Cross officer who led us there.
While we filled the jerry cans, our officer
Well, Christmas Eve was spent on the
sidewalk in the cold. The officerfmally came
out and I didn't mince any words with him.
I was ready to report him and he apoligized
to us. When we got back to the park, the water
was still warm and at 2 a.m. I got my shave
and considered it a Christmas present. It was
such a cold, clear night one could think of an
evening in Bethlehem 1944 years before.
asked where he could get a bath. The Red
Cross man told him that he had an apartment
and he could take one there. Off he went.
When the cans were filled, we proceeded
to the apartment. Well, it was cold that
Christmas as you all know. We waitedoutside, of course-and waited and around
ll :30 the Red Cross man came down with
a Christmas drink of cognac for the four of
us. I asked about our officer and was told he
was soaking in the tub. I told the man to tell
him if he wasn't down in a half hour I was
corning after him. My tech sergeant's stripes
didn ' t mean much at that time.
Just about midnight I asked one of my men
for his carbine and I started up the stairs. I
turned on the light and when I got to the
second floor the light went off (the first time
I had encountered a delayed light switch).
Alone in the dark in a strange building, I
snapped off the safety and eased down the
Lifers exceed
milestone number
The big milestone has been
reached! Life members now number more than 500! To be exact:
506. Please note a correction : In the
last issue, the late Billie Joe Garrison, C/275, was listed as a Lifer.
Instead, it should have been the
artilleryman David Garrison, second in the list below.
Kenneth T. Conn, 1/274;
David M. Garrison, C/883 FA;
Harold J. Holdsworth, M/27 4;
William A. Kidwell, Hg/883 FA;
Charles Loch a, Sr., A/275;
Hack Nickerson, F/276;
James T. Pettus, E/275;
Harold L. Rogers, HQ/3 Bn/274;
Bill L. Smith, K/276;
RobertR . Vanover, L/275
Willard A. Wight, L/276
NCE OUTSIDE, I told the fellows
what happened and explained that if
anything had moved I would have shot. The
man whose carbine I borrowed said, "Sarg,
there are no shells in the magazine." I could
have choked him about then. He never carried an empty carbine again.
V-Mail was one of the great inventions of World War II.
On a sheet of paper 8 112 X 11 inches, the soldier wrote
his message to home. The paper folded down to a letter
4114 x 51/2. This was photographed, the film flown to
the States and a smaller photo copy was delivered to the
recipient. For the handsome sum of 6 cents, this received
airmail handling in the States.
Harold Smith, A/883, had his buddy, Sgt. Charles
Hungate, draw this birthday greeting which he sent to his
wife for February 28, 1945. The actual size of the delivered letter was 4 x 5 inches.
Summer, 1991
WAS on the point of what may have been
the first major 70th Division action in
January, 1945. In the blackness of early
night (the moon came up later), north of
Philippsbourg, we came under intense machine gun fire. First squad, 1st Platoon, I
Company was decimated. The rest of the
company suffered severely, too.
In the first hour of combat, German tracer
bullets either sizzled in the snow in front of
me or ricocheted over my head. Not so lucky
were Sgts. Henning and Gerken and BARman Strauser-all killed. Also mortally
wounded, I thought, was my closest friend
and foxhole mate, Bill Schaefer. But when
I returned next summer from the POW camp,
I found that he had survived and was undergoing extensive plastic surgery. (He and his
family and mine have kept in touch over the
years and have visited each other many
I was taken prisoner before daybreak after
making my way back about 400 yards, looking for my unit. As we were being moved by
rail from near the Rhine to Stalag V-A at
Ludwigsburg, we were without food, water
or toilet facilities-86 of us in one 40-and8 car. On the third day a few of us were taken
off the train to bring back a few loaves of
bread; some of us carried back chunks of ice
to melt for drinking.
On more than one occasion the trains and
rail yards were under attack. Bombs and antiaircraft guns nearby shook our car but we had
no injuries. On the evening of the third day
we were unloaded at Stalag V-A.
Another lengthy train ride took us to Stalag
IV -B some 80 miles south of Berlin. Though
this ride was not nearly so crowded, we
suffered severe frostbite on our feet.
TALAG IV-B was a huge, gray, drab
enclosure which confined many
thousands of British and Russian prisoners as well as Americans.
Sanitary, medical and nutritional conditions were very primitive, but those of us
taken on our sector were still pretty sturdy
and resilient. Loss of stamina and weight
would begin to show after we arrived at the
work camp in the IV -A area near Dresden in
early February. My weight feU from 170 lbs.
to around 120 by May. In the Lilienstein
Work Camp I became well acquainted with
two other POWs from I Company. Edwin
"Red" Fridley and I shared a flea- , bedbug-,
and lice-infested bunk in our prison hut. Yen
K. Hom from the l st Platoon was also in our
Our work was digging a water-line trench
from a village near the Elbe River to our
camp. This dragged on through nasty and
Lambert spent war time
in German Stalags
nice weather in February and March. The
trench passed by several long piles of vegetables which had been harvested, piled and
covered with straw and dirt presumably in
the Fall of '44. The guards and civilian
bosses spent nearly as much time chasing us
from the piles of potatoes, rutabagas and
onions as they did supervising the digging.
Early in our stay at Stalag IV-B we were
processed through a shower and delousing
unit common to German prisons. These bare
brick and stone structures had a waiting room
where we completely undressed, leaving our
boots stashed in the room but tying all our
garments into one bundle to be sent through
a steam "delouser".
WO THINGS were luxurious about
the procedure. One was the hot
shower where we could observe our
flattening bellies but still muscular limbs,
and the warm streams of water splattering
over our blue frost -bitten feet. The other was
picking up our bundles of steaming clothes
after shivering stark naked for a half hour in
the waiting room. It is fortunate that we
didn't know until later how similar the beginning procedure was to the gas-chamber
executions of the Jews.
EarlyonecoolmomingaboutMay 1 at the
Dresden camp, I made a hurried trip to the
outhouse. It was a long room, about 10 by 30
feet, on the front side of the morgue.
As I left the place I looked at the looselyhinged door and asked myself, "Why not?"
I carried it back to the hut where, with
Salinger's saw, we cut it into a nice stack of
fuewood and stored it behind our stoves.
Before the Krauts were aware, the other door
and the panels between the seats of the outhouse had been made into firewood for other
huts. The guard, "Redhead", coming through
our hut looking for evidence, merely muttered when he saw the fuewood and left
without his usual tantrum.
Toward the very end of the war, the German guards determined to march all of us,
some 800 Americans and some 200 British,
westward. Their obvious concern was to end
up in American occupied territory rather than
By early afternoon of the second day the
struggling mass of POWs was strung several
miles along the winding road. Red Fridley,
Y an K. Hom and I were plodding along
together when I had to fall out for nature's
call. They were a quarter mile ahead of me
when a loud explosion occurred on the road
between us. As I reached the blast site several
men lay writhing in pain. One had a shattered
knee, another had shrapnel in his buttocks
and leg; others were slightly wounded.
But a friend from my own hut, Wilbur
Snook, lay fatally wounded. A piece of
shrapnel had cut deep into his abdomen. This
was a bitter twist of fate: A man survived a
winter of forced labor and slow starvation
and now lay with a chunk of shrapnel, probably from a Russian bomb or shell in his guts.
Snook appeared pale in the afternoon sun as
several of his hut mates stopped by to greet
him or read Scripture at his request.
Frantic German guards stopped a military
ambulance, loaded the man with a mangled
leg on it, and several of them moved off with
the vehicle. A remaining guard halted an
empty horse-drawn wagon heading east and
made the bewildered Polish driver turn the
wagon around. We loaded Snook and several
other wounded men in the wagon and resumed the trek westward.
y NOW all the guards were fleeing
the Russian advance and we were on
our own at the trailing edge of the
column. Those of us walking took hold of the
wagon, grateful for the support it gave our
We came abreast a German and his family
walking in our direction and attempted a
brief conversation. He seemed apprehensive
about the situation, but was quite friendly
toward us. "Wehrmacht ist kaput," he said.
"Krieg ist fertig". The war was indeed ending, but its bitter aftermath would linger.
The German civilians took us straggling
POWs into their homes in advance of the
Russian occupation. On our fust night in the
little village of Liebstadt we were well fed
and housed and my wounded friend Snook
was given some brief medical attention.
The next day Snook died. We carried him
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
in a rough coffm to the church yard where
the local German pastor conducted a burial
On about the third afternoon of my time
in the Russian-occupied village ofLiebstadt,
a petite Russian WAC appeared at the house
where I was quartered. She indicated a distinct interest in my wrist watch. What followed was a painful exhibit of my naivete.
The watch had been a Christmas gift from my
After having carried this watch through
combat and four and a half months of captivity, I took it off in a friendly gesture to
allow her to examine it. She looked at it
momentarily, then dropped it inside her
blouse. She handed me an old German watch
which did not run.
I tried to convince her of the unfairness of
her "purchase", but to no avail. Had I been
strong and healthy it rnighthave been no tirck
to turn her wrong side up and shake it from
her, but in my condition she would doubtlessly have gotten the better of me in a scrap.
Besides one scream would have brought
vodka-happy Russian soldiers from severeal
NMAY 13, 1945inLiebstadtweate
a filling midday meal in our thirdfloor apartment. Then our leisurely
afternoon was suddenly interrupted by a
commotion in the street below. The chap
nearest the window shouted "Gis!" I didn ' t
go to the window, but grabbed my knapsack
and belongings and joined the throng going
down the flight of stairs.
There in midstreet--God bless them!stood several U.S. Army men near their
ambulances. More American POWs than I
realized were in the village. They now poured
into the street along with a few Englishmen
and the Dutchman, Hank. Quickly we
backed into the ambulances. Some sat on
fenders, still others scrambled onto the
American light tank which was sitting
around the bend in the street.
The American tankers were swapping
rations with Russian soldiers. One big
American tankman of Slavic descent was
partially successful in making conversation
with the Russians in either Czech or Polish.
Within an hour the U.S. convoy was moving
from Liebstadt toward Dresden. Before entering the city we met a large American truck
convoy with some lumbering Sherman
tanks. Only the sick and wounded stayed in
the ambulances; the rest of us boarded the 6by-6 trucks to move through Dresden.
Summer, 1991
GENIUS AT WORKFive-star General George Marshall, who guided
American armed forces to World War II victory and
later made a lasting place in history with his great
Marshall Plan to rehabilitate war-ravished Europe,
visited the 70th Division at Camp Adair, Oregon,
shortly before it departed for Missouri and the ETO.
Here he watches some sharp shooting by the unidentified rifleman firing from the prone position. Major
General John Dahlquist. Trailblazer CO, stands at the
feet of the marksman and his coach. (Chester Garstki
This •aJazer look more northern route
I came to the 70th via a route that few other
Trailblazers travelled - through northern
Scotland, England and Belgium, to a reppledepple in Givet, France.
After a short stay there we went by truck
to Luxemburg and finally to Epinal, France,
arriving about the middle of February.
My most memorable event while being
convoyed was having a bowel movement
while sitting on the truck tail-gate being held
by Henry Prescott and anotherGI. I prompt! y
made a fast deposit as we passed through a
small village, with residents waving on both
sides of the road. Since our truck was in the
middle of the convoy, later I took much
ribbing from the men traveling in the following trucks.
After a short stay at the Epinal depple,
back on the trucks. Destination: big secret.
Later, wehaveabreak-stopinasmall village.
As we lay resting on the road-side, two trucks
traveling the opposite direction, loaded high
with dead bodies passed slowly thru. The
instant smell of death was detected, and at the
same time this clued us in that the front lines
were not far away.
Soon we arrived in Spicheren, close
enough to hear the artillery. War had arrived;
a few jerry shells hit the small village. I was
assigned to Co. A, and he to C, 275. March
15, while on patrol attempting to get through
the Siegfried Line, three machine bullets
stopped me. Henry informed me that during
his occupation duty, he went searching for
me, but the Division roster had no record.
Correspondence started between us after
Henry joined the Association about eight
years ago.
ese raw recru1ts
• • ·~
THE MEN OF COMPANY KThat's the title of one of the finest books about the
infantry that was ever written. And it's the title of this
portrait of King Company, 274th, taken at Camp Adair.
Standing, from the left. are: Sgt. Irving Pacholski,
Pvts. Edward Jasper, Guy Rose, Frank Hribley, Lacy
Dickens, Laurits Peterson, Earl Bay, Herbert
Henrichsen, Kenneth Dillard, Earl Orashan, Sgt. Clyde
Rytting and the platoon lead-man, S/Sgt. Clifford
In the middle row are: Pvts. R. T. Brown, John
McCracken, Strie Kristen, Fred Neberhause, William
Chastain, James Judd, Robert Kalina, Merrit Jensen,
Loney Lunsford, John Blissitte, Kenneth Bogue,
Rudolph Jancigan and Truber Isaacs.
Holding their rifles in the front row are: Pvts. Frank
Westbrook, Walter Blaire, Lauren Brown, John
Chapman, Donald Cubuitt, Robert Heinlein, Glenn
Johnson, James Esteppe, Merle Coyler, Thurman and
George Sayre.
What's the password?
Um-um-um-um ...
uh-uh-uh-uh ...
Well, let me tell you
Location: Forbach Castle (Forward of our
Infantry frontline)
Duty: Forward Observer (S-2) responsible
for observing enemy movement, report via
telephone/messenger and record all information on topographical overlays. We also
assisted our artillery in reporting drop coordinates.
Observation was made from ruins of
Tower, many times under direct fire from
"screaming meemies", and sometimes under
fire from our own short rounds. So our pres-
ence was to be unknown to enemy, wearrived at dusk for night duty and before dawn
for day duty. Our period of continuous observation was generally three days on and
two days off.
Climbing the hill under darkness we sometimes accidentally tripped over the bodies of
dead Germans which littered the hillside
(distinct garlic aroma). Occasionally on clear
days we would be visited during the late
morning by forward artillery observers
loaded down with heavy binoculars, triangu-
Jation equipment, etc. This exposure usually
attracted German fire.
During a lull from heavy fire one late
afternoon, I decided to get the hell out before
it all started up again. I got down the hill fast
and raced over to our jeep meeting point (my
replacement drove out and I would drive
back). In the excitement of leaving, I did not
get the current password. I drove across a
field parallel to the woods on my right (about
700 feet from the tree line) looking for a
clearing which would be the point to tum
Since I was bouncing along at about 40
MPH, and there was a heavy haze which
obstructed the tree line, I knew after crossing
too many ditches that I had missed my tumoff and was lost. My only thought was that
the Germans were on my left, so I kept going
straight and right. Darkness closed in and I
was driving with blackout lights. I came
across a road and without hesitation turned
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
• • •
became conquerors
right (Metz Highway). I put the pedal to the
metal and flew.
After driving a period of time, suddenly an
obstruction appeared across the road and
immediately I recognized a road block. At
fust I was relieved to hear American voices.
However, I was confronted by riflemen with
pointed guns walking slowly toward me and
yelling "What's the password?" I gave the
last password-which did no good. With
guns pointed at my head, I was ordered out
of my jeep and with hands raised above my
head was searched. Blindfolded, I was
walked back to another vehicle and driven to
an interrogation location.
Of course I knew all the answers to the
many questions except the current password.
What was unbelievable was my driving from
no-man 's-land through a recently mined area
and living to tell the story. After hours of
explaining my bizarre trip, finally someone
arrived from the 276th headquarters and
made personal identification.
No apologies were given by the 275th nor
did I expect any other than believing my
story. To say the least, I was thoroughly
shook up for days after this experience. As
I recall, my progress through ditches, across
mine fields, and not being fued upon by
either side could only be explained by
chance, luck, or ..... .
Surrender ... hell!
I'll run instead!
After John O'Brien,F/274, was wounded
he thought he had no choice but to surrender.
But then he changed his mind. "Iran like hell,
dodging more bullets and some Gis helped
me". He was sent to England for recuperation.
He had served with the 816 Signal Port
Service before joining the 'Blazers in France
at Christmas time, 1944, just before Operation Nordwind. He also remembers shooting
a German soldier in the dark of night while
only 6 inches apart. "I should have captured
him," he now thinks.
John is an electrician in Norfolk, Virginia
and read about the Association in the DA V
magazine. He and his wife Jeanne May have
two sons and a daughter.
Summer, 1991
THE HALF THAT REMAINEDSurvivors of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Saar
are these men of Company K. 274. The unit lost half of
its men in the assault on Saarbrucken. Here those
survivors march through the battered city in pursuit of
the fleeing Germans. (Signal Corps photo)
The Editor's
Edmund C. Arnold
heading the upper court from '76 to '82, he
has served as a mediator in other disputes
over education.
We get that news from Calvin Jones,
Sv/883, who forwarded a clipping and observed: "Amo and I worked only a few
blocks from each other in Portland for many,
many years. Although we never got together, I followed with interest his career in
the judicial system. He and I came out of the
same Officers Candidate class at Fort Sill
and went to the 91 st Division and then to the
Barracks Bag
You're right; the "Trailblazer" does
look different.
Since March, 1982, when I took over the
editor's job from the late Frank Moran,
this magazine has been dressed in the same
type style. But magazines, like pretty
women, need a new dress once in a while.
So here we are and I hope you like our new
The high literary content of this journal
- that's the stuff you guys send in remains the same. It's still your magazine,
devoted to your interest in the 70th Division.
That's the 70th Infantry Division. The
"new" 70th, the 70th Training Division,
baffles me. I have been trying since the end
of the Desert War to find out who those
Trailblazers were who were on our last
cover. No reply. Boy! That's public relations!
I was less than enthralled when President
Bush hailed the Desert Storm soldiers as
the best the United States ever had. Without
taking away one ounce of respect for their
bravery and military prowess, I still believe
their efforts were not at the level of
Gettysburg, Guadalcanal, the Chosin Reservoir or our Battle of the Bulge.
Or is this just an old soldier sentimental
in senility?
of World War II, you and your spouse may
be buried in this, or in another, national
cemetery. You may get more information
from Mr. Chambers at 15501 Dickman
Road, Augusta, MI 49012, or your local
Veterans Affair office (I is ted in your phone
book). Ask the V.A. for its folder VADMS-IS-1. The October, 1985 issue of the
"Trailblazer" also gives details.
Arno Denecke, H/Q Divarty, has been
appointed to head a group charged with
studying a conflict over lagging student
achievement that led to a boycott of Portland, Oregon schools in February.
The boycott, led by the Black United
Front, kept about 1,600 students - 3 percent of the total school population- out of
class to protest what they called a failure of
the school board to implement a new program. The Front and the Board couldn't
even agree on composition of the panel.
Arno is a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court of that state and it was believed that he would best be able to smooth
relations between the adversaries. After
Several members have sent me clippings
of a column by Mike Royko originally in
the "Chicago Tribune" and syndicated
throughout the country. It is reprinted, in
part, elsewhere in this issue. What do you
think about it?
The inspiring picture on our front cover
is agiftofEugene Chambers, director of the
Fort Custer National Cemetery, and of the
Advisory Committee of the cemetery. It
shows the Avenue of Flags, the entrance to
the newest national cemetery. Near Battle
Creek - its address is really Augusta,
Michigan - the cemetery is named for
Fort Custer which was the induction center
where Michigan and many Midwest soldiers first saw WW2 service.
You are reminded again that as a veteran
Don Docken, C/275, has reprinted his
"Combat History of Co. C." So if you found
the book was sold out when you first ordered it, you may now obtain a copy from
Don at 170 North Ruth St. #100, St. Paul,
MN 55119.
After 46 years of trying , Malcolm
Muszynski, K/276, got his military records
straightened out by the Board for Correction of Military Records.
"With the help of the 3rd En/Medics and
articles written by men ofthe 3rd Bn/276, I
am now on record. I had written many,
many times to the Department of Personal
Records in St. Louis and always got the
same answer: No records available."
"I was wounded on Feb. 7, 1945 on
Oetingen Hill by a shoe mine. Now, thanks
to former 70th men, I have the Purple Heart.
I extend thanks to all of them, especially the
Battalion Surgeon, Capt. J. V. McKay and
Cpl. J. H. Satterlee."
Two good canoneers have left us. Burton "Bussie" Holmes, HQ/Divarty, reports:
"Don Johnson, who served with the 884th
and then HQ/Divarty, and James S. Gibson
who was an aide to Gen. Peter Rodes, and
later assistant S-3 in Divarty headquarters,
have died recently.
Price List
Lapel Pins ........... $2.25
Coin Purses, Squeeze Type .. 1.00
CoffeeMugs .......... 2.50
Ball Point Pens ......... 4.00
Stationery, 50 Letterheads and
50 Envelopes . . . . . . . . 4.50
($2 .50each ifordered separately.)
BeltBuckles ........... 7.50
Decals (Octagonal) . . . . . . 1.00
HistoryBooks ......... 27.50
Order from Calvin Jones
227 NE 105th Ave.
Portland, OR 97220
"The Winter issue of the 'Trailblazer'
brought back a few memories. On page 6,
Jordan Baker writes about his experience in
Stalag IX-B near Bad Orb. AfterthePOWs
were liberated, I was assigned briefly to see
that the place was cleaned up. The 725th
Field Artillery Battalion was also involved,
as I recall, and local Nazis were made to
clean up the mess. On my first inspection I
remember seeing innumerable empty cartons of American cigarettes strewn about
the guards quarters that never got to the
prisoners to whom they were sent. Small
potatoes were rotting and sprouting on the
dirt floor of the kitchen. Bunks and floors
were filthy and when I departed my trousers were covered with fleas.
"I vividly recall the afternoon we re-
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
ceived word that Lt. John Kemp had been
killed at Forbach. (The story is on page 16.)
Most readers of the 'Trailblazer,' I am sure,
don't know that his brother was Hal Kemp,
leader of the popular jazz band of that era."
"For a while, early in 1944 when Division Artillery was training at the Yakima
(Washington) Firing Range, I was CO of
the battery that is pictured on page 22. I
remember well Albert Sederholm who was
in the Communications Section. He was a
bit on the heavy side but he could climb a
tree or a pole with the aid ofleg spikes more
rapidly than most of his companions. He
was a fine soldier. Regrettably, I can't recognize the faces of the other men shown."
Get out your red pencil and make a
correction - no, an addition - in "The
Trailblazers" history book. On page 109,
Arthur Layton, H/276, tells of the death of
a mortar gunner, identified only as "Spud."
Carl Settle, C/276, has identified the KIA
as George C. Spudick.
Bennett's art
to enhance
magazine pages
The "Trailblazer" will be
enriched from now on by the
drawings of Pete W. Bennett, HQ,
2nd Bn/276. Although he keeps
busy as a commercial artist in
San Antonio, Texas, Pete has
offered to send spare-time
sketches for the magazine.
His work is familiar to many
70th men as he did the drawings
in the original history book of the
Division, commercially published
in 1985.
Pete has a distinctive style that
well captures the whole atmosphere ofT rail blazer combat in
Alsace and the Saarland. Here he
has recorded the efforts of one
soldier to ward off the bitter cold
of the Vosges Mountains in
January, 1945.
Summer, 1991
Another correction: The new member
located by Archie Smith, E/274, is Willard
Wolfmeyer. This suggests that when you
are sending an item to the "Trailblazer" be
sure to print all proper names. We can catch
misspellings - yours or ours - on most
words just by their context. But proper
names just can ' t be checked.
It's always sad to have to write an obituary. But this one touched me especially
hard: Marion Dean Ross, K/275, died in
Eugene, Oregon on April 1. He was a retired professor of architecture at the university there. He was known as a master teacher
and even after his retirement he conducted
seminars and did TV lectures. He received
many professional honors. But ...
He never married, he had no family and
no funeral. It is to weep.
I was a little shook by a letter that accused me of "allowing political articles to
appear in the 'Trailblazer'." I was first
berated for having a "personal vendetta"
against the Postal Service. "Now we have
the same type of stuff being printed about
those people who are opposed to war. What
is next? An article for or against abortion
rights? Let' s not tear this Association apart.
No more political garbage in the 'Trailblazer', please."
I report on the USPS service because I'm
the guy who has to take complaints about
the abysmally tardy "service". It took almost three weeks for the magazine to get up
to Syracuse, New York last issue. Hell! It
took 10 days to travel less than two miles
from the post office to my house.
The objectionable (to him) story about
war protesters was an interview reprinted
from a Topeka newspaper during Desert
Shield. An honorary member of this Association, widow of one of our founding fathers who kept the Association together in
the lean years and herself a surgical nurse
who served in the Battle of the Bulge, Nina
Dick suggested that the people who took
their protests to the streets "ought to be
rounded up and sent to the front."
That, I insist, is not political. That is a
statement of patriotism and I can think of no
one who has a better right to offer that
opinion than Nina.
Issues such as abortion, pro and con, the
death penalty, anti-smoking laws and so on
will not be discussed in these columns as
long as I am editor. They are not part of our
agenda. But, by golly, we are associated
only because of our military service. Anything to do with such service, in our war or
any war, is absolutely appropriate for this
What do you think? This is your magazine and I try hard as I can to serve you.
Please tell me how to do that.
The first overseas "Trailblazer" was
printed on paper liberated from a German
Army print shop in Forbach. So I truly
enjoyed a letter from Charles Kelly ,
HA/70, on liberated stationery. The first
page is on a letterhead from the Reichsluftschussbund, gruppe Sarr, then it continues
on two letterheads ofSol-und Radiummbad
Bad Kreuznach Stadtische Kur - und
Badverwaltung.All were liberated in 1945.
This is better than recycling paper.
Chester Herron, 570 Signal , is trying to
locate his old CO, Col. Oliver Sause; Capt.
Dean, CO of the 770th Ordnance, and 1st/
Sgt John Lippert, Vernon Gardner and
Lt. Mum, all Ordnance guys. Chester's
address: 2813 Sanders Dr., Garland, Texas
Royko hails unsung WW2 veterans
So states the headline on a column by Mike Royko,
Chicago Tribune columnist. An Air Force radioman
during the Korean War, he won the Pulitizer Prize for
commentary in 1972. His syndicated column runs in newspapers throughoutthe United States and several Trail blazers sent clippings to the editor. Portions reprinted here are
by courtesy of the TribuneMedia Service.
"As a combat infantryman (New Guinea, Solomon Islands,
Luzon), I've decided to join you in the orgy of euphoria
engulfing the nation. Admittedly, this war was a pushover and
most of the troops saw no combat, experienced little danger,
and weren't 'over there' very long, as wars go, but that
shouldn't detract from their all being 'heroes' in the eyes of the
"Anyway, your idea to break the bank on behalf of the Gulf
vets should logically apply to us who served before generally longer, bloodier, and with less media and public
adoration. Your idea for a $10,000 bonus sounds swell, and I
would like mine in one lump sum- with interest, of course,
dating from December, 1945 ... "
An Iowa vet writes: "Thank goodness the desert war was
over quickly and with few losses. But all this euphoria has a
movie atmosphere. I was in WW2 and Korea. Two of my
brothers were killed in WW2 and buried at sea ... I don't think
some of the people putting up yellow ribbons and waving flags
could tell you much about the Bataan Death March or Iwo
Jima. I don't think that they know about the reality of war and
how bad it can really be."
Maybe a veteran from Arkansas, sums up the feelings of his
generation best: "I was attached to Patton's Third Army. I
seldom talk about the war, the freezing days and nights, the
fatigue, the fear, the dirt, mud, and the smell of dead bodies.
There was no big welcome for us guys. The welcome was in
our hearts, our thankfulness for being back and alive. Our
welcome was seen in the smiling, joyous faces of our parents,
brothers, sisters, and sweethearts or wives. We didn't need
Maybe he didn't need parades. But today's politicians
surely do.
They'regettingupthere in years, the World War II vets. But
they're still my choice as this century's most remarkable
generation of men.
... They won the biggest, bloodiest war in the history of this
planet. And when it was over, they came back and went right
to work making this country the most powerful industrial and
economic force in the world.
Recently I wrote about how a few of them felt about the
homecoming hoopla that followed the abrupt ending of the
Gulf War. They were generally amused when they compared
the TV coverage of festive airport reunion scenes with their
own quiet arrivals.
That column brought a small flood of mail from other WW2
vets, sharing their memories. None begrudge the Gulf War
troops their due. But some are skeptical about flag-waving
politicians; others think that the word "hero" is being tossed
around too freely ...
A physician from Montana took note of a proposal by a
congressman that all Gulf War troops be given a $10,000
bonus. He fired off a letter to the congressman, and sent me a
I'm not trying to revive a dead horse. But
I've been getting more than a few letters
endorsing the idea of a second 70th History
A testimonial to "The Trailblazers"
comes from Jack Nickerson. When herecently joined the Association, he told SeckTrez Lou Hoger that he wanted a History
Book for himself and for three of his children who live more than 800 miles from his
Idaho Falls home. His son Aran, lives only
300 miles away and Jack opined he'd share
his own copy with his "nearby" son.
"I am providing home care for my mother,
97, so I have had time to read only a little
bit. But the book is so good that I'm ordering a copy for my son so I can have my
And I've received several letters from
candidates for "Babies of the Battalions",
the youngest members of the Association.
Charles Tite, F/276, was born March 31,
1926. That puts him 18th on the list as of
this very moment. Other claims may change
this before you-orChuck-read this. He
joined the 70th in February, '45 as a replacement in the Saarland.
A real young-un is Hoyt Stimson, A/
275. He was born in 1927, no less! March
25. He was a couple of months short of 16
when he entered the service and was assigned to a veterinary service company
with the 1st Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas. He
became a Trailblazer in April, '44 at Adair.
Wounded at Philippsbourg on Jan. 8,
'45, he was discharged after two years and
two months service - and then was still
only 17 years and 9 months old!
Robert Van Osdel was a dentist with the
274th in combat. He died in 1987 and his
wife Ruth continues her Associate membership. "Bob would have been pleased to
know what a strong organization you have
made. And I am so pleased that the 70th
continues its comradeship." Ruth has moved
to 965 East Del Mar, Apt. 1, Pasadena,
California 91106.
Another inscription in the Taps list: Hugh
J. "Vic" Vickery, who died at the age of 67
on January 30, '91 at the Veteran Hospital
in La Jolla, California.
A 23-yearveteran with the Army, he was
vice commander of the South California
Districtofthe D.A.V. Active in civic affairs
in Carlsbad, California he had served as
director of that city's Chamber of Commerce and was chairman of its Christmas
Bureau in 1970. That year he was chairman
of the United Crusade and in 1976 he and
his wife Hazel were named "Citizens of the
Year" by the "Blade-Citizen". He was buried with military honors in the Riverside
National Cemetery.
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
My hat goes off to all entitled to wear the
Infantry Rifleman's badge; they deserve all
the credit we can give them.
We need to be reminded that our freedom
is not free at all. It cost us all, those at home
and those on foreign soil. Those who had to
say goodbye to us in the armed forces , were
working and waiting for us to win and come
I was the youngest of nine children, seven
sons and two daughters. Two brothers went
to the South Pacific, leaving the rest of us in
various defense work to keep the war effort
going. I drove an off-road-22-yard dump
truck until I received my letter from the
President in April, 1943.
I was inducted at Camp Arlington, California, got a haircut and some olive drab
clothes and too many shots and tests. They
tried to discipline us but they soon gave up
in despair.
After Arlington finally decided where to
send us, our destination turned out to be
Camp White at Medford, Oregon. I was
temporarily attached to the 91st Division,
then to the new 70th Infantry. It had to have
a Headquarters and a Quartermasters to even
get started, you know.
My uneducated guess is that there were
possibly 30 to 50 of us from the Southern
California area. Truck drivers, of course,
cooks, bakers, mechanics, warehousemen
and those on a lower I.Q. level to run the
Division HA. At least this was the keen
perspective of this 18-year-old would-be
truckdriver and screwdriver mechanic. He
found himself along with the bunch of future
Trailblazers headed for Oregon on an enjoyable steam train ride to Dunsmuir, California, where Greyhound had some stage
coaches waiting for us.
Wells Fargos-at least I do not
recall any horses in front-they
were old, big, fat, conventional models from
the late 20s and early 30s, some Fagoels and
the rest GMC.
Our top kicks were some of the best. Our
commanding officers were Col. Donald E.
Bowles, Capt. Adams and First Sergeant
E.G. Spicer. We were quickly organized into
platoons. All the tallest and the best men
were assigned to the fust platoon under Lt.
Summer, 1991
Roof, a great guy, and Tec/Sgt. George
Wisdom, another top soldier. I'm just prejudiced cause that is where they put me and I
liked it so well I was a part of the First Platoon
until I was sent home in April, 1946.
Ah, basic training!
Lots of drilling, calesthenics, rifle and
truck maintenance training and gathering
new trucks and equipment out of Salem,
Vancouver and Yakima. We had a great
time, it was fun.
I guess they were extremely hard pressed
for leaders. For one day when I was getting
off KP duty someone asked me if I had
looked at the bulletin board. I wasn't anxious
for more KP but I went to check anyway.
They had my name up as the new fust platoon
sergeant. They probably got the names mixed
up. Anyway this 18-year old punk kid took
over. I couldn't even spell platoon or sergeant, and still can't!
It wasn't long until we loaded our trucks
for Camp Adair. Once moved in, we went
through basic infantry training (believe it or
not) and at the same time learning our Quartermaster supply duties night and day. There
were a lot of marches past Coffin Butte to the
rifle ranges. We were tops, you guys should
have seen us truck drivers crawling in the
HAT SUMMER and fall of 1943
we moved all you fellows over
the grand roads of the Santiam Pass
and scattered you from Bend, where I now
live, clear to Bums, Christmas Valley and
Wagontire, Oregon.
You guys were eating dust most of the
time, but you also consumed a lot of good
food we hauled out and distributed to you.
Yeah! I know you had to eat some K- and Crations, too. Even today among the juniper
fed us,
hauled us,
even chased
the Germans,
trees on our 40 acres I will occasionally pick
up a C-ration can which brings back many
memories of nearly 50 years ago.
The highlight of all my experiences at
Adair was meeting my Swedish bride-to-be
in Silverton on a weekend pass with another
truck driver, Donald L. Hunt, from Rifle,
Washington. We were married on May 14,
1944, and our 47th anniversary is coming up
soon. All of our four children were born after
the war and we now have a dozen grandchildren. Our son Dave has been driving some
Clifford Schrock's potato-chips trucks in the
Willamette Valley. Many of the QM Company members know Cliff; he was, no doubt,
the only genuine truck driver in the bunch.
Most of the originals from Camp White
were eventually transferred into the Infantry.
We non-coms stayed QMs and went through
two orthree basics, training recruits. But I did
not mind, I had my folks ship my 1936-80
Harley Davidson to Adair so I would have
faster transportation to and from Silverton.
It wasn't long until my wife and I had to
say goodbye. The company boarded another
steam train out of Camp Adair and headed
for Fort Leonard Wood where we trained
some more recruits for truck drivers in the
Ozark mountains. Soon we started packing
all our gear to ship overseas. January, 1945
found us on the S.S. Mariposa in the Southern Atlantic trying to outrun German submarines and land at Marseilles, France. After
some excitement at CP-2, Marseilles, we
were equipping to move north.
OVING BY NIGHT with all our
trucks, we arrived into an old German garrison at Morange which
was the base for our QM operations. We
went right to work moving troops as directed,
trying to keep you guys suplied with food,
gas, ammunition and everything needed,
going up to the lines, usually at night to haul
off the wounded and POWs. Some of us
truck drivers know what it is like to be shot
at and have felt the concussion of 88s and
mines. We were up there and saw you doing
your job and have put our lives in jeopardy.
We certainly cannot say we were in the
middle of the fighting, but we were there at
Wingen, Stiring Wendel and Forbach. We
hauled some of you over the pontoon bridge
into Saarbrucken and even made a motorized
patrol about 25 miles into Germany to contact the retreating Germans.
We do not deserve any great honors, we
were simply just doing our job. Personally,
I am proud of the 70th QM Company drivers,
supply men and the Division Headquarters,
and of being a part of a great fighting division.
Richard H. Foster
70th QM Co.
An enemy unseen
Sniper harasses Medics
as they aid the wounded
C/370 Medics
DuringmostofMarch, 1945, we were dug
in outside Forbach, France, in a hilly, wooded
area. We had been attempting for the past
several days to capture the town, but had
advanced only a short distance. We were to
make a daylight attack the next morning with
the intention once and for all , of taking
Forbach. An artillery barrage had been laid
down most of the night. At daylight we
shelled the enemy with mortars, followed by
an infantry attack in full force. The fighting
was heavy all morning with many casualities,
and we medics were kept busy carrying the
wounded back to the aid station.
About one o'clock in the afternoon a
couple of infantrymen found my squad and
asked us to pick up a wounded man in a house
just inside the edge of town. We followed the
soldiers across a field, dodging artillery fire
for about a quarter of a mile. Finally we made
it into a house away from the fue. One of the
soldiers pointed toward a house about 50
yards away where the wounded man was.
E RAN for the house, having to
cross an open area in the process.
We were almost across the open
spot when a sniper cut loose at us from
behind me and I yelled to take cover. At that
instant, the second bullet caught one of the
Medics behind me in the neck. He fell to the
ground screaming. I dived for a pile of brush
in front of me. The other two Medics hit the
dirt where they were. There was a slight
depression where they fell and the sniper
couldn 't hit them.
The sniper set up a constant fire, never
giving us a chance to move. He shot near my
feet several times and I slid further up under
the brush in hopes of getting out of his line
of fire. After we had been pinned down for
about 30 minutes, one of the men in my squad
took a bandage from his medical kit and
turned so he could reach the wounded Medic.
Just as he raised his arm to place the bandage
on the wound, I saw him jerk as a bullet
entered his body, killing him instantly. He
died with his hand on the man's neck. I called
to the other Medic, who had not been hit, and
he said he was all right but was afraid to
About an hour later some infantrymen,
watching from one of the houses set up a
machine gun in an effort to stop the sniper.
The gunner fued one burst before the sniper
caught him in the forehead with a bullet. He
fell over the gun dead. Another soldier took
the gun and fired only a couple of bursts
before the sniper hit him killing him also. A
third man tried and was hit in the leg. In the
meantime a bazooka man had been called
for. He hit the house several times, but to no
avail, the sniper never quit firing. A few
minutes later another soldier worked his way
out to where I was and began to look for the
sniper. Just as I yelled for him to get down,
a bullet caught him in the face. He spun
toward me and fell across my legs, dead. The
area around me became void of activity, the
least bit of movement brought about an
onslaught of deadly fire from the German.
fear one has while being hunted
by the deadly bullets of an unseen enemy.
I thought several times of attempting to
crawl out to one of the houses near me, but
the thought of not knowing the location of the
sniper who could observe every movement
we made kept me where I was.
One of my men was dead, another was
lying a few yards from me bleeding to death
and screaming every few minutes for someone to help him. My third squad member was
in a perilous situation and might get hit any
minute. Another man was lying across my
legs dead. Since we had been pinned down,
four men had died around me, and two more
had been wounded.
As I was lying there with a thousand
thoughts racing through my mind wondering
ifl would ever get out ofthis alive, with fear
beyond description, never having felt so
alone or been so helpless, I heard the rustle
of brush a few yards from me near a fence.
A few seconds later I heard someone approaching only a few feet from me. I was
lying on my stomach and couldn't see who
it was. I froze not knowing whether it was an
American or a German. He took me by the
shoulders and turned me over. I opened my
eyes and shuddered with relief as I looked
into the face of an American Medic. He had
been watching me for quite a while and had
thought I was dead. In order to reach me, he
had crawled along a fence, undetected by the
sniper. He told me to get low and follow . We
made our way along the fence and into the
house about 70 feet away.
was the house with the wounded
soldier for whom we had originally
started. The Medic told me we would have
to jump from one building to the other,
because there was a German machine gun at
one end of the alley. He backed across the
room and took off, landing in the doorway
of the other building. I followed suit; just as
I landed in the doorway of the other building
a hail of bullets hit the facing above my head.
We checked the casualty and he was all right.
About an hour later the Medic and I decided to return to the other house and wait
until dusk before attempting to get the rest
of my squad out of the small field. We made
the trip back across the alley and received the
same reception as before.
We had been in the house only a short time
when some P-47s strafed the area knocking
a portion of the roof off a house nearby. As
one of the planes pulled out of its dive he
dropped a bomb down the street and it lifted
us off the floor.
Shortly it began to get dark. We slipped
out of the house and began working our way
down the fence. Thesniperhadn'tfued in the
last few minutes so we began working our
way out to the men. The wounded Medic was
alive but in bad shape. Our other comrade
was all right but he had been in one position
so long he couldn't move his arms and could
hardly walk. We put our wounded buddy on
a litter and began looking for some of our
own troops. It was pitch dark by this time and
we could hear German voices nearby. We
came upon an old car and decided to put the
wounded man under the car until we could
reach a decision about what to do. A short
time later one of the men found a lieutenant
and several soldiers in an old building. We
picked up our comrade and headed for the
building. After getting inside I did what I
could for him with the medical supplies we
The officer had been attempting for some
time to make contact with company headquarters, but to no avail. The Germans had
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
It was on January 5, 1945, that the scattered remnants of Company C regrouped at
the end of Philippsbourg (toward Neiderbronn) and moved from there up into the high
mountains to the Angelsberg area.
It was bitterly cold, with icy winds and
deep snow, and we had only the clothes on
our backs. I had my BAR, a full belt of
magazines for it, my entrenching tool and a
large hunting knife, much like a Bowie knife,
which my father had had made forme. (I still
have it.)
I believe we had a few 10-in-1 rations but
no water. I melted snow in Joe Sueltenfuss'
canteen cup (mine had a hole in it from either
a bullet or shrapnel).
We had no contact with the enemy since
leaving Philippsbourg and after reaching the
high ground in Angels berg we dug in, setting
up defensive positions with two-man foxholes. My squad was lucky! We just moved
into some very good oversize foxholes which
the departed Germans had dug earlier.
OE AND I shared one and had the
BAR set up and well camouflaged with
underbrush and branches. Once we finished
this hard manual labor and became inactive,
the bitter cold got to us and it was pure
misery-nothing to do but let your teeth
Patrol on Angelsberg
gets some P'bourg revenge
that we sighted some Germans below us on
chatter, shiver and shake.
the same slope some 70 to 80 yards away.
We had only a general idea of where the
They were just coming out of the woods into
enemy was so it was necessary to send out
a clearing and following around the contour
a lot of patrols to try to determine their
of the hill. There were eight men, in single
movements and locate their positions. Sig
file, moving slowly through the snow with
Rusley led a number of these patrols and had
about 4 to 5 feet between them. They wore
little trouble getting volunteers as it was a
the long overcoats and those duck-billed
way to get warmed up somewhat, rather than
field caps and carried those cylindrical canfreezing in your hole. On one occasion he
nisters slung as though they were on a march
approached Sueltenfuss and me as he wanted
rather than a patrol. They were just black
a BAR to go along for some firepower. I
silhouettes against the snow.
We had dropped down into the snow when
Since we were spread out so thin, (it is the
we first sighted them and now Rusley was
estimate by Maj. Donald "Charlie" Pence,
passing the word down the line that we
275th historian, that the 1st Battalion, 275
should open fire when he fired and work
had no more than 80 to 90 riflemen left in
from the ends to the middle of the column.
action at that time!) it was the policy to have
We all took up kneeling positions. When
one man in each foxhole at all times. So Joe
Rusley's carbine cracked we all opened up
was left behind over his objections.
with rapid fire. I was firing the BAR in bursts
Odd how you remember little things of no
of three and four til the magazine was empty.
significance. I recall taking the bi-pod off the
It was over in a matter of seconds and we
BAR and handing it to Joe as I was leaving.
moved out on the double and kept going,
He was a bow-legged little Texan who never
said anything thatdidn'tstart with "you-all". , expecting possible fire from the woods below us but all was quiet.
So he said, "You-all come back now! You
We returned to our positions and reported
hear?'' It was a six-man patrol with T/Sgt.
Rusley in the lead, armed with a carbine. (Sig
to the Company CP. Rusley was elated, but
I had mixed emotions, even though we had
was one of the few men I ever knew who was
actually very, very accurate with a carbine.)
evened some scores for those we had left
Then came four men armed with Mls and
behind in Philippsbourg.
fmally me with the BAR. We travelled quite
some distance through mostly wooded terrain, taking advantage of all the cover we
could find and staying just below the crest of
the hills.
"\"1 JE SAW and heard nothing-no
VV sign of the enemy-and subsequently
infiltrated our lines. We were cut off from
the rest of the company.
It wasn't long until a runner got through
with a telephone line and we made contact
with Headquarters. My platoon leader was
on the other end of the phone. He had been
hunting us all afternoon, having heard reports that my entire squad had been killed.
He told us to hold tight until he got there. By
slipping along a ditch undetected, he and
several more Medics arrived on the scene.
We took our wounded friend and the other
two casualties and worked our way almost
a mile back down the same ditch without
being seen. We arrived at Battalion Headquarters just before midnight. My wounded
squadman was evacuated to a hospital and
lived for 10 days.
Summer, 1991
turned back, having traversed a large loop in
our search. It was shortly after turning back
Brothers Meet
It was rare for brothers to be in the same
division in the later years of World War II.
But Rune Hanson, HQ/270 Engineers, over
in France, found that his brother had joined
the 70th as a replacement.
Also unusual is his recollection of "my
most memorable military experience". He
says it's "Getting married". Well, maybe
there isn't must difference between a martial
experience and a marital one.
That marriage, to Dolores in Corvallis,
produced five children and 10 grandchildren.
The first Trail blazer to return his
Archives form was Eugene Volz:,
E/276. It was received April4. Next
day that of H.C. Hicks, A/275,
Although it's a good start, the
response to the Axe-Head Archives
questionnaire has been a wee bit less
than a landslide. As of June 1, replies
have reached only XX% of the membership.
One disappointment has been the
men who did not tell their favorite- or
any! - war story. One of the objects of
the Archives is to get raw material for
this magazine and an opportunity for
every member to share some experiences. So it is disheartening when the
form comes back totally blank. But
perhaps even worse is when one man
says: :"
70th was well trained
says training non-com
and action past P-bourg'
belies SLAM Marshall
"We've been invited to make comments on Gen. Marshall's
allegations. With all respect to rank, he apparently didn't have the
facts!" So opines Anthony Van De Wege, D/275.
"I spent over two years as an instructor in Infantry Training
Centers before joining the Trailblazers. I believe 70th Division men
were properly trained. Many were young, but they were levelheaded and had guts! As a non-com, and after I received my
battlefield commission, I never had a man who didn't perform as
a good soldier.
"In a previous article, it was mentioned that little was known of
the part of Company D, 275th that was up front with the rifle
company past P'bourg. That was my section of heavy machine
guns. We moved up with the riflemen and dug in for the night. Early
next morning the riflemen pulled away and moved to our left. We
were told that many of them were surrendering.
"We had a discussion, and every one of my men agreed they'd
rather take their chances and fight our way back. We moved back
down the hill to our right and headed back toward the American
line-as we were well ahead of P'bourg.
The Germans weren't aware of our moving until they spotted
us after we'd gone back about a quarter of a mile. Their infantry
didn't pursue us; but whenever we'd move, they'd zero in on us
with artillery fire. We were very tired of hitting the dirt with the
machine guns, ammunition, etc., but kept moving back. They gave
up after dark, and then we had to take our chances getting back
through the American line. We succeeded, with God's help!
"Then, on February 22-23, the Germans were driven down over
the hill towards Saarbrucken. We anticipated a counterattack so we
spread out our machine guns and selected the best possible fields
of fire in the woods. It was getting dark, but we had time to dig
in and make good gun emplacements, complete with log and dirt
coverings. We covered them, as we expected artillery fire, with
resulting shrapnel coming down from the trees above.
"We non-coms, gunners and men, agreed to not fue our machine
guns at random targets, and give away our positions. We'd use our
rifles to stop single individual targets, but open up the HMG's if
"After carrying the guns and equipment all day and then spending a lot of time digging in, we were all very tired. It was suggested,
and all agreed, that we didn't want to retreat that night under any
circumstances (unless we received an order to do so). They said
the Germans might get us before morning, but we'd get a lot of
them during the process!
"The Germans counterattacked, as everyone knows, but we
managed to kill every individual that walked or crawled up that
night, with our rifles. During this period, Lee Miller was wounded
by shrapnel fire coming down from the tree tops. He was one of
my men and stated later that the company C.O. had told him to
withhold fue. I didn't know anything about such an order, so we
shot every enemy we saw. (I told Miller that after he wrote that
article in the Trailblazer, I suppose many thought I'd had him
withhold fire, but my men knew I didn ' t!)
"Since we killed their scouts, the Germans apparently decided
to dig in for the night, about 100 yards in front of us- then it was
quiet for the remainder of the night.
"Luckily the Germans didn't know that we machine gunners
were the only ones between them and our Battalion HQ, as the
riflemen, anti-tank and other units had all moved back.
"I went back to Battalion HQ and informed them that we were
the only ones between them and the Germans. Maj. Cahoon was
surprised. He sent officers out to check and they verified that the
others had withdrawn.
"The major thanked me, and told me he'd go back, regroup, and
come back with everyone in the morning. He told me to have our
men stay down, as friend! y troops and the Germans would undoubtedly be fuing over our heads until they got back to our line of
"Unfortunately, I saw the major get killed instantly about 100
yards from us, as he was personally leading the assault.
"So you can see why I was very proud of my men and don't
agree with Gen. Marshall! Lou Klettlinger , Sam Brown and John
Ferrera came to the Reunion. They were some of the brave men
who were in the above skirmishes."
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
'Saw Cold War approach'
So Hanson stayed in uniform
I joined the 70th Division at Fort Leonard
Wood just before we went to the ETO. As
a low pointer, I was transferred to the 3rd
Division in September, 1945, and rotated
back to the States in May ' 46. Prior to starting
back to college that Fall, I saw the cold war
developing and decided to take ROTC. As
a vet, I was commissioned in the Army
Reserve after two years.
One of the short tours of active duty I took
between semesters was at Fort Ord, California. I was delighted to find Lt. William 0.
Smith there. He had been Exec Officer in
L/274 when Capt. Murphy was the CO.
I graduated from the University of Denver
in December, 1949, and was commissioned
in the Infantry of the Regular Army. I served
with the 6th Infantry in Berlin for six months
and then was transferred to the zone where
I joined the 1st Division.
On reporting to Division HQ at Darmstadt,
I found the Deputy CG was "Shooting Sam"
Conley, the regimental commander of the
From 'other side'
record is corrected
Dear Ed,
This is to express my gratitude twice: (l)
for printing my story in part in your Fall,
1990 edition. I received a photostat of the
pages recently by courtesy of Melvin
Holtorf, I/275.
Inadvertently, there are two mistakes "The
action begins during the night of January 56 (not 6-7 as stated in the last sentence of
your preface).
"If we cannot fend off the enemy now, he
(namely the enemy; not we) will succeed.
. . ."(page 14, col. 2, 12th line)
(2) For meeting you personal! y during the
grand Reunion in Las Vegas. Both Ruth and
I enjoyed the events immensely, especially
meeting again our American friends after all
those years since Lexington in 1980. The
welcome we received was so cordial as if we
had parted only yesterday! I also enjoyed
quite a number of discussions with war history buffs of all three infantry regiments.
Wolfe Zoepf-Murphy
D-2080 Pinneberg, Germany
PS: Fred Cassidy and friends named me
"Murphy" in September, 1977, as they had
difficulties in pronouncing my name; the
naming certificate decorates the wall in front
of my desk.
Summer, 1991
274th when I was with it. It was fun to see
him again and we did some fme reminiscing.
I had a chance to thank him again for the time
that he stopped his sedan in Wiesbaden to
give about four of us enlisted troopers a lift
back to Biebrich.
With the 1st Division. I was assigned to
the 18th Infantry in Aschaffenburg. First I
was with Easy Co. and then was Assistant
Regimental S-3. While in A-burg, I revisited
most of our WWII areas, both in Germany
and France. I was promoted to Captain while
with the 18th.
This was followed by the Infantry Advanced Course at Fort Benning and a very
interesting 2-year ROTC tour at North
Dakota State University. Next came an assignment with the 1st Cavalry Division in
Korea where I commanded Co C, 12th Cav
and then was the S-3 of Division Support
Mter the Korean tour, I was transferred to
the 82d Airboume at Fort Bragg, North
Carolina. My assignments included being
CO of Company C and S-3 of 2/503 Battle
Group. From there I went to the Command
and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where I was promoted to
Major. Then to the Army Language School
where I learned Spanish. This was followed
by a tour in Panama where I taught Counterinsurgency Operations to Latin American
Officers, then was Chief of the G-3 Plans
Division of U.S. Army Southern Command
where I was promoted to Lt. Col.
From there I went to the Pentagon to the
Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for
Military Operations. Former 70th soldier,
Gen. Ted Mataxis was there at that time, too .
My next tour was in Vietnam as CO, 1st
Bn 26th Infantry and I had another chance to
see how great American soldiers are in combat. Mter a year's tour in 'Nam, I was assigned to the Pentagon again, this time to the
Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the
G-3 shop) where I was promoted to Colonel.
I then graduated from the Army War College
at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. After
another tour on the Army staff, I finished my
military career with the Defense Intelligence
Agency in the Pentagon.
I retired from the Army with 30 + years,
took a civilian job as a defense consultant to
the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and
after 12 years there I retired a second (and
final) time to a quieter life down here in
Southern Virginia.
I am still married to the great lady I married back in 1948 and who was with me on
most of my assignments. We have three
children-two sons (the oldest is in the Army
Reserve) and a daughter who is on active
duty as an Army nurse. We also have four
grandchildren, a good-sized house and
would be delighted to see old 70th Division
friends who may come here to Virginia
Beach, Virginia.
James M. Hanson,
Land HQ/274
Young son•s funeral
biller blow lo Hughes
The hardships of war were worsened for
Earl Hughes, C/276, "when I heard of the
death of my 8-year-old son ... after he was
already buried."
He joined the 70th at Adair in the fall of
'43 and was discharged in March of 1946
after service with the !48th Field Artillery.
His cruise to France was on the USS America
and they ran into a bad winter-Atlantic storm
en route.
He has served as mayor of the city of
White Bird, Idaho, and has been commander
of the local Legion post. His wife Marian,
("Frankie") and he have two sons and four
grandchildren. He credits Carl Settle, also of
C/276, with getting him and the Association
Calling all hams!
If it hadn't been for Bill Verberg and the
notice he put in the "VFW Magazine" I
would never have known that the 70th Association existed. I joined the 70th at Wood
in August of' 44 after basic training at Camp
Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas. I stayed
with the Trailblazers till July '45 when I was
sent to the 3rd Division at Kassel and became
a radio operator.
I have two sons. One is a ski instructor at
Vail, Colorado, the other is a ceramic tile
layer in Ventura, California. We have four
grandchildren. My hobby is amateur radio.
So, if there are any 70th hams out there, let's
get together.
Jim Christie
and Changes for the Roster
1729 Media Ave. NE
Jensen Beach, FL34957
DELANEY, Robert E.
6041-53rdAvenue, N .E.
Seattle, WA98115
HQ/1 Bn/276 Slice
LEUTZ, Glen L.
47 41 E. 25th St.
Tucson , AZ85711
1243S. MainSt.
Scranton, PA 18504
MARTIN , Ferrall V.
81 6 Bradshaw Ave.
East Liverpool, OH 43920
GOLDEN, Billy A.
1525 S. Crosby Ave.
Janesville, W153545
GORMAN, Joseph D.
Rt. 1, Box6A
East Nassau , NY 12062
8431stSt. NW
Mason City, IA50401
12800rlin Dr.
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
289Winfield Rd .
Rochester, NY 14618
Grimstagatan 25
Tampa , FL33626
RIECK, Heinz
Green Valley 2
Jackson , Wl53037
KIDWELL, William A.
9129 Santa Rita Rd .
Baltimore, MD 21236
ROBINSON , William H.
107TobeyHill Drive
West Seneca, NY 14224
KIPP, Irving W .
StarR!. , Box 165AA
Payson, AZ 85541
ROGERS, Harold L.
4503 Queen Elizabeth #162
Alexandria, LA71303
391 2 S. 1OOth E. Ave.
Tulsa, OK74146
STONE, Allen B.
14036 Corn uta Avenue
Bellflower, CA 90706
Uncle of John Lackey,
SUDAC, William F.
17 437 8th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85023
10201 W . Ford Ave.
Beach Park, IL60099
{Honorary: daughter to
Harold Kline)
TRAMEL, William M .
1060 Brierfield Rd.
Jackson, MS 39211
1/276 Pauline
BROWN, Richard
12215 SE Highway 42
Weirsdale, FL65340
VANOVER, Robert R.
8802 Cather Ave .
Manassas, VA 2211 0
VORCE, Donald M.
4000 Clay St.
Eau Claire, W154701
WICKS, Melvin
7 614 Sheridan Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55423
1455 Briar Cove
Wheaton , IL60187
HOWARD, Thurman
2401 N. Wood Avenue
Florence, AL 35630
Hon . memberl/276
CASTLE, Robert
Rt. 2, Box 96B
Marshall, MO 65340
COLEMAN, William
Rt. 2, Box200
New Florence, MO 63363
COLLINS, Charles
2429W. 137thSt.
Leawood, KS 66224
COPE, Marilyn
107 Mesquite Street
Lake Jackson, TX77566
7229 Snow Goose Circle
Gaylord, Ml49735
COX, Walter
389 S. Upper Street
Lexington, KY 40508
The Treasurer's
Calvin Jones
Assistant Secretary Treasurer
First Quarter, 1991
BALANCE 12/31/90:
MissionBank,MissionKs.-Checking . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 716
Mission Bank-MoneyMarketAccount . ...... .. ... 22,605
Mission Bank-CertificatesofDeposit . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42,201
CitizensS. &L. , Eureka, III.-Cert. ofDep . . .. . ... ... . 3,564
Total Bank Balance . . . . . . . . . ...... . .. . ... 69,086
Regular Dues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Life Member Dues . . . . . . . • . . . . . . 1,168
Associate Member Dues ..... . .... . . 24 $ 1,928
HistoryBookSales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Souvenir Sales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Interest on Deposits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TotaiReceipts .... .. . ... .. . . . . .. . ....... 3,774
Postage, Shipping &Mail Permits . . . . . . . .
TrailblazerPrinting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Stationery Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
OfficeSupplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Reunion Site Search ( 1992) . . . . . . . . . . . .
Advance Pmtto Belle of Louisville on 1992 Reunion 200
Total Disbursements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... ... 4,624
BALANCE3/31/91 :
MissionBank-CheckingAccount .... .. . .. $ 533
Mission Bank-MoneyMarketAccount . . . . . . 21 ,084
MissionBankCert.ofDep.8.2%Mat.1/6/92 .. 11,618
MissionBankCert. ofDep.7.1%Mat. 2/12/92 . 10,824
Mission BankCert. ofDep. 8.25%Mat. 1/16/92 . 10,416
MissionBankCert. ofDep. 8.0%Mat. 5/5/93 .. 10,199
CitizensS. &L.C/D7.2%Mat.1/6/92 .. .... . 3,562
Total Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . .. . $68,236
70th Division Assn. TRAILBLAZER
ELLIS, Orville
127W. Pitcher
Nevada, MO 64772
l YKE, Richard
2909 Spring View lane
Mounds View, MN 55112
715 Mockingbird Circle
Escondido, CA 92025
VAN OS DEL, Mrs. Robert
965 East Del Mar, # 1
Pasadena, CA 91106
GEHRKE, Richard
241 Knapp Road
Three lakes, Wl54562
6894 Park Blvd .
Joshua Tree, CA 92252
3515 N. Washington Blvd ., #1 09
Arlington, VA22201
WARD, Thomas
c/o West Bay Manor
27601 WestChester Pkwy.
Westlake, OH 44145
GOODE, Mrs. George
4889White Rock Circle
Boulder, CO 80301
MOXLEY, George
41541ola Drive
Sarasota, Fl34231
NEATBY, Mrs. James
Werner Grounds
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
8360DelmarBidv., #1 S
St. louis,M063124
OLIVER, Mrs. Ray
c/o Donald Oliver
6735 83rd Ave. SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
STALEY, Vernon
233 Vern Avenue
Stayton, OR 97383
Chile 2200, Don Torcuato ( 1611 )
3 Motor Terrace
Milton, MA 02186
HUGGINS, Raymond S.
1477 Country Club Rd.
Burlington, WA 98233
OLSON, Charles
28025 E. 127th St. So.
Coweta, OK 7 4429
WORTH, Elmer
238 Street Road, #G213
Southampton, PA 18966
5298W. Elmer Street
Boise, ID 83703
Rt. 2, Box 15
Okemah, OK 7 4859-9802
DALEY, Walter E.
7 407WillowGrove Rd.
longview, WA 98632
Died December 27, 1989
JOHNSON, Donald C.
627 San lorenzo Street
Santa Monica, CA 90402
B/884 FA
DiedJuly7, 1990
EYLER, Trumen
366 N. Fourth Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325
DiedApril20, 1991
Rt. 2, Box42
West Newton, PA 15089
Died April4, 1991
6900WellsRd .
The Dalles, OR 97058
Died March 1, 1990
(Sioux Falls, SD)
6735 83rd Ave. SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
570th Signal
Died September 17, 1990
A YO, PaulO.
1725 Oakley Street
Thibodaux, LA 70301
DiedApril5, 1991
GIBSON, James S.
Pasadena, CA
Died July 11 , 1990
BROWN , EdwinJ .
21 Salt landing
Tiburon , CA 94920
Died December 28 , 1990
HElll, Michael G.
1238W. 26th
lorain , OH 44052
Died February 20, 1991
Dues arrears
means deficit
of $7,000
While the annual statement of Assistant
Treasurer Calvin Jones elsewhere in this
magazine shows a healthy financial situation, there is a disturbing fact not indicated
Summer, 1991
111 S. 16thSt. #513
longport, NJ 08403
THAW, Gerald
4513 Brost Court
Raleigh NC 27 604
5541 Park Villa, #309E
Mt. lron,MN55768
WENDT, Charles
Rt. 1, Box 54
Houstonia, MO 65333
PASKVAN, Charles
2524 Poplar Street
Waukegan, ll60087
DiedMarch7, 1991
by that report.
"Nearly 700 members were more than
six months in arrears on their dues as of
Feb.1, 1991. Thatrepresentssome$7,000.
Worse, more than a hundred of them were
more than 18 months behind," says Cal.
"I feel that one of the biggest problems is
that many members do not know just where
they stand. If any member wants to know
his own status, he can phone me. My number is on page 2.
The Association 's fiscal year begins July
I and dues are payable then. Past dues, up
ROSS, Marion D.
1080 Patterson St. #806
Euguene, OR 97401
SCHEFF, Chester John
717 E. 6th
Fairmont, MN 56031
Medic/3rd Bn/276
Died February 16, 1991
SMITH , Neil A.
31 0-5thAve. S.E.
Milaca, MN 56353
Died March 23, 1991
5192 Carlsbad Blvd.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
DiedJanuary30, 1991
WILLIAMS, Richard Arky
450 Shannon lee Drive
San Antonio, TX78216
Died December 5, 1990
to June 31, 1991 , are $10. Dues payable
July I are $12. The $2 increase, voted in at
the Las Vegas Reunion will barely cover
increased postage for the "Trailblazer" and
the voluminous correspondence of the secretary-treasurer and the editor. While first
class postage rose 16 percent, mailing cost
for the magazine increased 50 percent.
It has been suggested that we begin our
dues year on January 1. That would probably beeasiertoremember. Members' comments are invited; write to any officer or to
the editor.
THECOVER"The Avenue of Flags" makes a spectacular entrance
to the new national cemetery at Fort Custer, Michigan.
Trailblazers are reminded that they and their spouses
are eligible to be buried in such a cemetery. This one,
near Battle Creek, Michigan, is near Custer, an induction center through which hundreds of thousands of
in9-uctees, including many 70th men, were ushered
into the Army.
Edmund C. Arnold
3208 Hawthorne Ave .
Richmond . Virginia 23222
DOWN AND DIRTYA vicious weapon was the German "schu mine" that
ripped off the legs of soldiers crossing the mine fields.
Hundreds of casualties, such as this one, were
wreaked by these explosives. Many were among
Medics going out to rescue combat wounded. Here an
M-1 rifle, held in the ground by its bayonet, holds a
transfusion bottle. (Signal Corps photo)
PERMIT -1 310
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