WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- Lieut. Henry Gettman has often made his Troop mates wonder at his longing to be with the doughboys. Although a Cavalryman, he is as much at home behind an M1 has with an armored vehicle or even on a horse. The secret to his style of combat is that he won the Army National Rifle Championship in 1935. He also holds a battlefield commission. Having fought through the Bulge and up to the Rhine as an enlisted man, he then took over the reins as an officer for the battles of the Ruhr pocket and the Danube River Valley Drive. He has been in the Army three years. He makes his home at 239 Malcolm Street, Walla Walla, Washington.
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- Ever since he can remember Pfc. John A. Walter III of Route 1, Montgomery, Alabama, has wanted to go to West Point, but he finally made it, and the hard way, too.
Walter, a machine gunner with the 99th Reconnaissance Troop has been trying for an appointment now for six years, (he's only 19 now), and after helping stem the Nazi break through into Belgium and starting off the New Year by standing guard under a Jerry artillery barrage at midnight, he wearily started to bed.
Halfway to dreamland, he was awakened by a call over the field phone, his long-awaited appointment finally came through, and he was hauled out of the lines in Germany and is now on his way to West Point, and with a damned fine background to help him.
He is the son of Col. and Mrs. John A. Walter II of Route 1, Montgomery, 6, Alabama.
WITH THE 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- Acting as mess sergeant, S/Sgt. Charles W. Lawrence of 319 Strousburg, Parkesburg, West Virginia, many times personally took rations to the platoons on the front lines.
When the regular mess sergeant was wounded, S/Sgt. Lawrence took over the started to do both the job of mess sergeant and first cook. Under the poorest conditions, he has always set up the best possible meals and sanitation was first in his mind at all times.
When the 99th Reconnaissance Troop couldn't get to mess, Sgt. Lawrence personally delivered chow to the platoons and made sure each man was fed. He has been awarded the Bronze Star for his continuous first-class job as acting mess sergeant.
WITH THE 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- American civilian captures 14 German soldiers in Germany!
This is the story told by men of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop. S/Sgt. Henry Gettman, of 239 Malcolm Street, Walla Walla, Washington, was to receive a battlefield appointment as 2nd Lieut. During the interim between his discharge from the enlisted ranks and his being commissioned, and while technically a civilian, Gettman rounded up 14 Jerries in the town of Norf, Germany.
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- The "Battle Babies" in the 99th Division added another name to its fast-growing list of heroes in the person of Tec 4 Nick L. Yankovic, 315 Orchard Street, Kansas City, Kansas.
Yankovic, and aid man with the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, risked his life on four different occasions "just doing his duty". His first act of heroism occurred when he left his position of safety to crawl out under heavy fire and administer first-aid to one of his buddies.
This mission was followed by another sneaking trip into Jerryland, from which Yankovic dragged another seriously wounded Recon through the enemy fire back to his lines and administered blood plasma, which all but saved the man's life.
During the same action, this medic's platoon was cut off from the rest of their unit and it was necessary for them to sift through enemy lines in order to rejoin their own outfit. But they had two wounded men with them. So Yankovic volunteered to stay behind the enemy lines with the casualties until darkness fell -- and then although also wounded, he personally saw them through to safety himself.
The next day an attack was made by an adjacent infantry outfit, with the 99th Reconnaissance Troop assisting. Upon reaching their objective, the attacking forces were pinned down by heavy artillery and mortar fire. The barrage caused the attackers to withdraw and they were forced to leave a wounded man behind in the midst of the barrage. It was another job for the medics, and Yankovic again moved out straight into the heat of the barrage. Upon reaching the injured doughboy, he gave him the necessary first-aid treatment -- and then he got him back, hospital bound aboard a tank!
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- Tec 5 Wilbur J. Osterkamp, of 1989 Queen City Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, holds this up as a record of brevity in front-line conversation.
A member of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, Osterkamp was making his way along the front lines and stopped at one of the doughboys billets.
"Hello", he greeted the doughboy standing inside.
"Hello yourself", came the answer.
"How many Jerries in front of you?" queried the Recon.
"About three division."
A short silence interrupted only by the resounding spat of tobacco juice.
Then -- "One of 'em is dead."
WITH THE 99TH INFANTRY DIVISION IN GERMANY -- Tec 4 James A. Sublett of Coburg, Kentucky, kept the communications of his outfit humming through the heat of the big German thrust into Belgium and Germany and was awarded the Bronze Star for his great work.
Sublett, a member of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, carried his wire through the intense barrage of enemy artillery and on one occasion, when the wire had been broken, he crawled out through the enemy artillery fire and made the repair which kept the vital communication flowing.
Sublett is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Chester Sublett of Coburg, Kentucky, was graduated from the Coburg County School, and at the time of his induction 2 1/2 years ago was engaged in farming.
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- "Just like when I used to go duck hunting", remarked Tec 5 Jack P. Wendel, of Tice Court, Cincinnati, Ohio. Standing a cold vigil in Germany, alone with his snow coated 30 caliber machine gun in an icy foxhole, Wendel was suddenly amazed to see a force of Jerries breaking out of the woods ahead of him and marching in a column of twos. It was hard to wait, but Wendel held as fire until the 25th and last German had appeared, and then beginning at the rear of the column, he swept his machine gun to the front, mowing 'em down "just like ducks". Only one Jerry managed to escape his fire and flee back into the woods.
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- Tec 4 Ralph G. Rockhill was astounded to be in a Task Force just before V-E Day with a man for whom he had driven in desert maneuvers. This man was none other than Lieut. Col. William Cummings, commander of Task Force Cummings, which was then making a stab toward the Czech frontier. Sgt. Rockhill was a member of the Task Force as a radio operator in the Executive Officer's, Lieut. William K. Worley's armored car of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop. "Great to be with you again sir", he told the West Point Colonel who had recognized him. But the army had taught Sgt. Rockhill a new trade and a radio operator could no longer be a chauffeur, even for a Colonel. Sgt. Rockhill had worked with A.T.&T. Company in West Unity, Ohio, before entering the army. He makes his home with his parents at 506 East Sycamore Street, Columbus Grove, Ohio.
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- A little thing like two Heinie machine gun nests in his way didn't stop Lieut. William K. Worley Jr., of 413 East Eighth Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, from carrying out his mission. Now he wears the Silver Star.
The 99th Reconnaissance Troop had been attacked by a large force of enemy during the big German breakthrough, and then to make matters worse, six Jerry prisoners were brought in. It was decided to get the PW's back to the Troop CP at once -- but the route led through enemy infiltrated territory.
Here, Lieut. Worley volunteered for the hazardous job with four of his men. Cautiously they were making their way through the woods, then suddenly they sighted several Germans between them and the return route to the Troop CP.
Placing his shaking prisoners under the guard of two of his men, the officer and his other men crawled out to clean up the mess -- and this they did completely and with dispatch. They killed the entire crew of one machine gun and killed two and captured the third member of the second machine gun.
WITH THE 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- PFC. George W. Akins of Mobile, Alabama, is glad that some of the cogs of Hitler's war machine are now being made of wood.
Akins, a member of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, was bending over when a Kraut armed with a machine pistol burped a wooden slug into the seat of his pants.
When he recovered from the blow at his posterior, he was relieved to find his pants only full of splinters. The medics treated him for burns.
WITH THE 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- Lieut. Richard E. Staley, of 302 South Third Street, Miamisburg, Ohio, has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action against the enemy.
In the heat of an offensive, the Germans succeeded in isolating Lieut. Staley's platoon from the main body of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, but through the leadership of the Lieut., these men held off the enemy for six hours.
When the action had subsided, the officer successfully led his platoon of fighting Recons from its precarious position.
WITH THE 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- Cpl. Russell H. Santy, 99th Reconnaissance Troop used to ride "point jeep" in the States on maneuvers. When you get into the thick of the "Battle of the Bulge" he found himself still in a jeep but riding in second place. Since V-E Day he has been placed so far back that now he has lost heart. "Pshaw", he says, "in the breakthrough at Ardennes I was up there alone but it was dark and no one else knew it. Now since V-E Day all the girls wave at the point jeeps and never at me. I might as well be in the dark again."
He came overseas with the Checkerboard Division last fall and fought with Gen. Courtney Hodges forces out of Belgium, through the Ruhr pocket, after which he continued his combat work with Gen. Patton's Third Army men. He was made a Cpl. on the battlefield during the Bulge. He used to do construction work before he came in the Army, and makes his home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Santy of Fairmont, West Virginia.
WITH THE 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- Sgt. Robert A. Penich, 99th Reconnaissance Troop, although pitcher on the 99th Division Championship team is now playing second sacker on his troop's softball team in Germany. "It's better back there as I can watch the other pitchers and pick up some pointers for when I go back to the States. I'll show them back there that the Army has taught me a thing or two. I am not throwing my arm away this year", he told reporters here.
An ex-semipro ballplayer at Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, with the Derry Petraccas he looks forward to "bigger and better seasons to come". He went through maneuvers with the 99th in the States and saw action in Belgium and Germany. He was on the drive to the Rhine, on the plains by Cologne, in the Ruhr pocket and in the Danube River Valley Drive. He makes his home with his parents Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Penich at Box 22, New Derry, Pennsylvania.
CROWNED HOME RUN KING
Cpl. Robert G. Schloerb of Chicago, Illinois, now a member of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, 99th Infantry Division, has just been temporarily crowned home run king of the Artillery Gerolzhofen Softball League. An ex-student at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, he never played baseball there but starred in basketball. He also participated in the Army ASTP program. He fought with his cavalry unit through all its battles and wears the Purple Heart.
He lives with his family, Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Schloerb at 5543 Kennwood Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
FIGHTER PLAYS BALL WITH ARMY
Pfc Tony Ancona, 99th Reconnaissance Troop, 99th Infantry Division, winner of two National Boxing Championships ('39 featherweight and '40 lightweight Golden Gloves), is now playing third base on his platoon's softball team in the Gerolzhofen, Germany league, reports here show. Having fought such greats as Sugar Ray Robinson and others, he finds war no new game. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine, the Ruhr, and Danube River Valley Drive. "I am as proud of these as any title I ever won", he says. Incidentally he is the holder of 11 different boxing titles having started in to fight at the ripe age of 16. He lives with his wife Mrs. Della Ancona, 13841 Arlington Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, and their one child. He joined the 99th Infantry Division just before they crossed the "big bond" last fall.
INTRODUCES HIMSELF TO HIS OWN BROTHER
Cpl. Dempsey H. Hollars of Courtney, Oklahoma, truly enough knew his brother, but his brother did not recognize him as he jumped aboard his brother's ambulance in Schwand, Germany. Cpl. Hollars had to introduce himself "as your brother, kid", to Pfc Lawrence C. Gwynn, medic with the 45th Division, which maybe all goes to prove that rank has its own privileges. Although only half-brothers, they have lived together most of their life at the home of their parents in Courtney.
Cpl. Hollars worked for a construction company before he came in the Army two and a half years ago. He went through the battle of the Ardennes, the Ruhr pocket, the battle of the Rhine and the Danube River Valley Drive. But this is where his brother has beaten him, having been in the Army five years and seeing action in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. Cpl. Hollars is a member of the 99th Recon Troop of the famous Checkerboard Division.
INSURANCE WITH ENDURANCE
Pfc Joseph A. Howcroft of 1070 Sarah Street, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, formerly with the motor maintenance section of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, had a strange experience during a dangerous river crossing in Germany. The first man he met on the other side was his insurance broker, Eugene Poluso, now a Pfc in the 324th Engineers. Which of the two was more uneasy about the $2000 policy they had negotiated back in civilian life is hard to say. Here is possibly another example of the old saying "There is no one with endurance like the man who sells insurance". Pfc Howcroft used to be a crane man with the Superior Steel Co. at Carnegie, Illinois, where he purchased his policy.
John Sigman of the 99th Recon Troop is the one member of the little cavalry unit who needs more than one replacement. Reconnaissance troops are the handyman of battle outfits. They feel out the enemy and fit in anywhere they are needed, front or rear along the line. John Sigman of 694 Morrill Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, uses all is varied civilian occupations to become the handyman's handyman. He is the Troop barber with his own office. He is the Troop painter with his own paint shop. He is in charge of transporting rations during the worst of combat conditions and had his own 2 1/2 ton truck for the purpose. He took part in action during the Bulge as a foot soldier. When things go wrong along the line from small fires to broken locks, it's Cpl. Sigman who will fix them. He has seen action in the drive to the Rhine, the Ruhr and the Danube River Valley. He has been with the classy Checkerboard Division for over two years. He is also Troop carpenter.
A COKE COOK
Sgt. Henry H. Brown, 1224 13th Street NW, Washington, D.C., works in the Recon Troop kitchen. Although in civilian life he worked as the soda manager with Whelan's Drug Company in the capital city, he says, "I feel just like the good old dog days back in the States because since the boys can't get any sodas or cones over here they go for our chow like a thirsty man for a Coca-Cola. We try to give them the best and sometimes it has been real hard; as back there during the "Bulge", I had to be in the CP, and you can't get too many stoves into a CP. Besides you never knew whether you were making up chow for one of those Jerry shells or for your own men. Since V-E Day we have been able to give them the best and it's been better for us, too. From now on I'd rather get shell shocked making peanut butter than making another combat chow with Jerries pot shooting all-around."
Sgt. Brown came over with the Checkerboard Division from Camp Maxey, Texas, and saw action in the Siegfried line, the plains of Cologne, the Rhineland, the Ruhr and the Danube River Valley Drive. He has been wounded once, the price of his grand tour to the Rhine.
On V-E Day a quintet of cattle-rustlin' battle hustlin' cavalrymen of the 99th Division celebrated in their own way. Being billeted in a German farm they decided to stage a rodeo. Big Dempsey H. Hollars of Courtney, Oklahoma started it off by riding the bull. Pfc George W. Akins of 1657 Warbler Drive, Mobile, Alabama, did him one better by throwing the bull as well as any steer was ever hog tied. Pfc Robert "Tex" Casteel of Columbus, North Dakota, and driver of the M8 armored car "Alice Kaput" then riled the bull up a bit. Then Pfc Vance P. "Tenderfoot" Murphy of Swansboro, North Carolina and the sunny south, mounted up. And up and up he went in as pretty a buck as the woolly west ever hoped to see. Meanwhile Cpl. Charles K. Stewart of Sydney, Nebraska, who had been changing his mounts from horses to oxen to cows, prove that no bull could throw him no matter how much he might throw the bull as the master of ceremonies. The end was a great time for all the fighting 99th Recon troopers in the audience, who had just seen action with their Troop in the Siegfried line, the Cologne plains, the Ruhr, the Rhineland and the Danube River Valley. It also proved a liberal education to the Germans concerning those "decadent" Americans.
LIBERATION BY DELIBERATION or
"Enter Rin Tin Tin -- Exit Werewolves"
There are many Troop mascots overseas. There are a few liberated mascots. The 99th Reconnaissance Troop, 99th Infantry Division, believes it has the only liberated and reoriented mascot, "Nero", a coal black ex-SS police dog, was captured by the Troop in the Ruhr pocket. Outside of the skull and crossbones on his collar, he has been completely reoriented and Americanized by dint of the training of his newfound master, Sgt. Gerald D. Eickmeier of 2834 F. Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.
By means of democratic rations and other domestic methods the dog realizes he no longer must must and shake hands in a completely Anglo-Saxon way and seldom barks as a fraternal greeting. Fittingly enough the rides in the liaison jeep driven by Tec 5 Everett L. Whitney of 1018 Elm Street, Lima, Ohio, and clears his seat coming in or out in one jump which evokes cheers of "high Rin Tin Tin" from rabid doughs who welcome this break in the monotony of captured German towns. His only drawback occurred the other day when a vociferous Heinie frau who was convinced that she had the only coal black hundig in Grosse Deutchland took him into protective custody. Two task forces were quickly formed! One showed the fräu her far inferior but also coal black dog, while the other liberated their fellow Troop member. Since then he has developed a few gray hairs about the muzzle, but an even more singular attachment to the cavorting cavalrymen of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop.
SHARP SHRAPNEL -- OR -- SURRENDERED BY TIME FIRE
WITH 99TH DIVISION IN GERMANY -- V-E Day was celebrated many human ways, ticker tape in New York; tipsiness in Canada; terror stricken SS PW's in Czechoslovakia; the thunder of cannons in Moscow; but S/Sgt. Albert F. Brown of East 6th Street, Lexington, Nebraska, found a timeliness all of his own. Wounded during an air raid early in March right after the Rhine crossing at Linz, he had nursed a small piece of shrapnel in his hand for nearly two months. Whether a last-minute broadcast or S/Sgt. Brown's keen anticipation of victory as he worked on the vehicles of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, 99th Infantry Division, before their last mission or whether he had been hit by a new kind of shrapnel reluctant and yet well-trained in the party system, or whatever the motivation was, exactly at noon on May 9th, V-E Day, the shrapnel worked its way out of his flesh and gave itself up so to speak, right in the palm of his hand. Right now, Mrs. Gladys Brown of East 6th Street, Lexington, Nebraska, should be busy window shopping for an appropriate glass case for a much famed piece of shrapnel is on its way to the USA and -- those were the Sgt.'s last orders.
ST. CHRISTOPHER DOUBLE CROSSES CROSS CURRENT
Many strange things happen in the heat of war and another chapter was added on April 14th in the Ruhr pocket to the age-old 'truth is stranger than fiction' series. Hurtling along some two or three kilometers behind the front, near the little town of Deutmecke, came No. 2 M8 armored vehicle of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, 99th Infantry Division ( CO Captain Roy C. Lueders, 44 Central Terrace, Wyoming, Ohio) driven by Pvt. Jackie P. Wendell of 2432 Bremont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, and bearing the Executive Officer "Wild Bill" Worley of 315 East 8th Street, Johnson City, Tennessee, as part of the advance element. On a hairpin turn suddenly the entire side of the bank gave way and the eight ton vehicle careened down a 50 foot drop, landing on its turret completely turned turtle, its four wheels spinning idly in the air. Rescuers from the quickly halted convoy were astonished to hear from beneath the upside down vehicle the voice of Tennessee's Wild Bill Worley already shouting staccato commands "Salvage all rations and equipment, men. Get these weapons out. Sergeant find our coordinates. Radio our situation on to the Troop. I am going on. Get me another vehicle." As liaison NCO's, Sgt. Gerald D. Eickmeier of 2834 F. Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, and Tec 5 Everett L. Whitney of 1018 Elm Street, Lima, Ohio, cleared their jeep, it was noticed that one 506 radio was still viciously dit--dah--ditting in the front cockpit. Along with Lieut. Wm. K. Worley the tour operator, Tec 4 Ralph G. Rockhill of Youngstown, Ohio, was quickly extricated unharmed. After chopping through the branches of a demolished tree, the driver Pvt. Jack Wendel and forward radio operator Sgt. William N. Fulton of 316 Rebecca Street, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, were finally reached were the crouched precariously close to a fast rushing mountain stream that sped by about a foot above their heads and under the vehicle. All that held the eight tons of armor and steel plate from burying itself in the quick current and streambed below was one rear fender well embedded in the collapsed bank and the remains of a demolished tree. Yet when all four of the crew were safely extricated not one of them was even scratched. Sgt. William N. Fulton nervously fingered a piece of a broken St. Christopher medal hanging around his neck and given to him by his wife and said "Gee, this must be the better half". A few hours later Pvt. Jack P. Wendel merely looked knowingly at the St. Christopher medal around his neck and smiled as a wrecking crew brought to vehicle back up right side up and in perfect running order except for a few scratches and a much dented fender-well to show for all its troubles.
Anyone can recognize the intrepid M8 No. 2 reconnaissance vehicle if they see it, for emblazoned on one side is the name "Poor Christopher" in well due honor to the patron who was hard put to it that April afternoon. On the other side in big script is written a strange girls' name "Alice Kaput", but in honor of Mrs. Alice L. Wendel of 2432 Bremont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio, the lucky drivers' wife.
If the vehicle is parked, there will probably be a radio operator, the only bachelor in the crew of four, Ralph Rockhill, just standing on the side, reading that name over and over again, slowly shaking his head from side to side, and murmuring "nix Alice nix, no can put me down as vexed yet."
WITH THE 99TH (CHECKERBOARD) DIVISION -- Cpl. Ralph Tournay, 99th Recon Troop, 99th Infantry Division, has driven the Troop Commander as he led it into combat, and driven the liaison officer Lieut. Lamkin, on some of his most vital missions. In fact, the message that announced V-E Day was driven to the Troop from Division Headquarters by Cpl. Ralph Tournay. Says Cpl. Turney, "as long as I know I am working on something worthwhile I am happy". He drove the Troop Commander, Captain Roy C. Lueders, during the Ardennes breakthrough and has seen action in the Rhine River Drive, the Ruhr pocket and the Danube River Valley Drive. He has been with the Checkerboard Division since its activation. He fought under Gen. Hodges and General Patton, arriving at the front last November. He makes his home with his wife Mrs. Tournay.