Reunion 2004
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Outstanding Trailblazer Awards

The 2004 Reunion is now history. By the far the most important event was the passing of Prop 3, which gave Associate Members the right to vote. All photos by Dave Mackie unless otherwise indicated. Photos at bottom of article. Article by Ed Lane and appeared in the Winter 2005 issue of the Trailblazer.

Day by day
Wednesday, September 1, 2004 Scouts out!

By plane and car they came. Old soldiers reuniting to tell tales most today can only read about in history books, yet these men lived to tell the stories.

Arlington Heights, Illinois in suburban Chicago offered great access by road net or airline travel. Reservation difficulties (discussed elsewhere) were soon forgotten as comrades in arms who had risked death and borne discomfort with each other 60 years ago came together one more time to remember times the uninitiated would consider best forgotten. But then again, who but a member of a "band of brothers" (to quote Shakespeare) knows the value of true comradeship.

The scouting party arrived on Wednesday. With nothing more available than early registration in the west lobby of the Sheraton Chicago Northwest Hotel, it was a great time for friends to get reacquainted and spend quality time together prior to the start of the inevitable reunion hubbub. The day was bittersweet as many held their private reunions and experienced emotional moments as they took note of empty chairs.

Thursday, September 2, 2004
Forming up . . .

Registration in the west lobby started again bright and early at 0800 (that's 8 a.m. to those of you sans military service) on this first full day of Reunion 2004. Secretary Lou Hoger, G/275 ably assisted by various Trailblazer families took it all in stride and made the process flow, not only on this opening day but also throughout the reunion. Hats off to Lou and crew!

The "Fast Lane Breakfast" so popular at previous reunions broke down completely this first morning. Quick action by various Association officers in cooperation with hotel management solved the problem to almost everyone's satisfaction. Those who had paid the extra amount were thereafter served daily in the hotel's main restaurant. The food was plentiful and everyone seemed satisfied. What the heck; it beat standing in the rain, going through a chow line and being served in a mess kit - right guys?

The traditional hospitality room under the able stewardship of Richard Brown, D/275 and sons continued at this reunion. Once again the hospitality room was the hub of activity at a Trailblazer reunion. Suddenly, there erupted havoc in the main lobby!! Nothing to worry about though. Investigation revealed it was merely the golfers gathering in preparation for their biennial outing. It seems as if the quiet of the hotel was disturbed somewhat by the tall tales being told by the contestants (nothing to compare to the tall tales told AFTER the outing though). We never could find out who really won but all eight contestants assured one and all they had a great time participating in this event organized by Andy McMahon, E/276. Congratulations Andy for the great event.

First timers are welcomed

This year the first timers met on the first full day of reunion. Ably organized and MCd once again by Dale Bowlin, C/883 FA the first timers gathering is always a high light of any reunion. Dale seems to have a way of finding out interesting tid-bits about those participating and better yet at getting the first timers to spill the beans! This time around was no different.

Al Trameri, D/370 Med; Harry Williams, L/275; Oliver Hill, C/883 FA; and Bob Tayek, HQ/274 all underwent the thorough but always good-natured "grilling" and recalled many days (good and bad) spent in common service to country. Many feel Dale missed his calling and should have been a detective or a news reporter.

The ladies interact

"Buzz Sessions" filled the ladies' afternoon schedule on Thursday and Saturday. Topics ranged from getting acquainted (with hostess Dorothy Lambert), Volunteerism (Peg Sumner), an antiques session entitled "What Is It?" (Betty Fridley) and a Greek Cooking class (Pam Cox).

POWs meet

Don George, K/275; Harold Brick, B/275; Ed Fridley, 1/275; Stan Lambert; Bob Crothers, B/275; Bill Birnie, HQ 1st Bn/276; and Dale Bowlin met early in the afternoon of this first day. This group is truly unique, for in addition to serving in a combat zone, they are bonded forever by the shared experience of captivity at the hands of a capricious and often cruel enemy. It can be said that this group received a graduate course in the value of freedom.

Far from melancholy though the meeting was genial. Old friends talking over old times and delivering the latest news of friends and family.

Officers and state coordinators A meeting of officers and state coordinators took place in the afternoon of this first day. Plans for state and regional reunions were discussed. This meeting gave all concerned a chance to get acquainted and share valuable information with each other concerning Association gatherings and business for the coming two years.

Officer and financial task force This important meeting was a follow up to the vital work that the Financial Task Force had completed under the mandate delivered by President Stan Lambert and the Executive Committee.

The report of task force findings was firmed up. That report would be reported to the floor at the business meeting on Saturday. All present expressed appreciation for the quality of work that had been accomplished to ensure that our Association remains on a sound financial footing for the upcoming biennium.

Fun time!

A full day of business having been completed on this first day of reunion, it was now time for fun with the traditional Wine & Cheese Reception and European Dinner.

The wine and cheese get together ran smoothly this time. Light refreshments and chatter amongst old friends was the order of the early evening before groups broke off for dinner on their own.

For those wishing to enjoy an evening without the hustle and bustle of life in this county, a European Dinner was offered once again at this reunion. For those who had traveled to Europe (since the war) whether on their own or with our resident travel agent Floyd Freeman, 1/275; this dinner gives a chance for old friends to reunite and share memories. Once again planners of this event came through in fine form with a pleasant meal followed by entertainment that would make one believe they were in Europe.

The "Society of the Danube Swabians Youth Group" of Des Plaines, Illinois entertained the assemblage in grand style. This group of 18 dancers, led by Ms Anneliese Mayer of Prospect Heights; performs polkas and other dances traditional to the Swabians who populated the Danube River in Germany many years ago. One of the dances performed actually is the forerunner of our modern square dance in the Untied States, complete down to the dosado.

Friday, September 3, 2004
Tour time

Tours were the order of the day for this second full day of activities.

Starting at 9:00 a.m. buses loaded for the Architectural Cruise. This tour is a 90 minute river cruise of the south and west channels of the Chicago River with its huge marinas. The cruise gives the participant a river level view of more than 100 skyscrapers, each designed or inspired by the "Modernists" of the past hundred years. This is really a tour of the birthplace of modern architecture with knowledgeable guides to explain the work of those who revolutionized the building arts, and how the buildings are linked structurally and architecturally. And no, the river isn't green - that occurs only on St. Patrick's Day.

Close on the heels of the buses pulling out for the Architectural Cruise came mount-out time for the City Tour. Such "Windy City" landmarks as the Sears Tower, Merchandise Mart, Marshall Fields Department Store, the Wrigley Building, (John G.) Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Lake Shore Drive and Union Station were all on the schedule.

Fun Night

After a full day of fun touring Chicago or just relaxing around the hotel talking with old friends it was time for the traditional Fun Night featuring light entertainment and good food shared with old friends. President Stan Lambert opened the night with a few appropriate remarks followed by the invocation rendered by Assistant Chaplain Jim Lowther.

M. Maurice BAIER, a veteran of the 2nd Free French Armored Division, was introduced by Don Docken, C/275. Maurice saw heavy combat helping to liberate his country during WWII. He delivered his heart-felt thanks to the Americans he credits with saving his life. (The full text of Maurice's speech will appear in the next edition.)

Our main entertainment of the evening was a magnificent barbershop quartet known at "The Chordmasters." The quartet is part of the larger "The Arlingtones" Men's Barbershop Chorus from Prospect Heights, Illinois.

Renditions of old favorites (rendered a cappella) such as "Down by the Riverside," "Wait 'til the Sun Shines Nelly," "My Wild Irish Rose," "Over There" and so many others delighted the assemblage. At the end of the performance Bernie Bats, Elmer Sweet, Jim Gieseler, and Dave King got a thundering ovation.

Saturday September 4, 2004 Time for business

Saturday morning and time for the main business meeting of the Association.

The meeting opened with Colonel Karl Landstrom, HQ 3rd Bn/274 being acknowledged as the oldest member present, having recently observed number 95. Joe Dutra, L/276 then introduced his grandson Dan Carey as the youngest present at age 16.

As is tradition, each member then stood and introduced himself by name, unit and state of residence.

The meeting was then officially called to order. Secretary Lou Hoger, reported that there were 137 Members registered for the reunion, 31 Associate Members, 192 guest and 8 Auxiliary Members for a total of 368. Lou noted that C/275 has the largest unit membership in the Association while California has the largest number of members by state. Treasurer Don Lindgren, L/274 rendered his report saying that finances now are "looking pretty good." The appeal for funds (which was part of the financial task force's recommendations) resulted in a good cash in-flow with Life Members making substantial contributions. It was noted that part of the money savings now in effect includes limiting "Trailblazer" to 32 pages for each edition.

It was moved and seconded that annual dues be raised to $20 as part of a continuing attempt to keep the Association on a firm financial footing. The motion passed by an overwhelming yes vote by a show of hands.

Floyd Freeman reported on time and place for the 2006 biennial reunion. That reunion will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. The dates for the reunion are set at September 6-10, 2006. Floyd has done his usual masterful job of making arrangements for early arrivals and late departures (two days either side) to take advantage of the $79 per night rate (it is usually $139 per night). The Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel will offer complimentary parking and free shuttle service from and to the airport. There is also easy access to the METRO, which links the hotel to downtown.

Officers elected

Dale Bowlin rendered the Nominating Committee's report.

Officer nominations for 2004-2006 were: President Paul Sumner, E/276 Vice President Elect Andy McMahon, E/276, Vice President-North Clarence Fosbender, F/276, Vice President-South John Skeen, 1/275, Vice President-West Dick Haycock, HQ 3rd Bn/274, Vice President-Central Bill Trotter, B/275, Secretary Lou Hoger, G/275 Treasurer Don Lindgren, L/274 A call for nominations from the floor by President Stan Lambert brought forth no other names. Nominations were closed. On a motion by Dale Bowlin the meeting cast a unanimous ballot for the nominees.

Propositions

The Propositions for voting as previously published in "Trailblazer" were introduced on behalf of the Resolutions Committee by Jim Hanson, L/274. As noted in the Fall 2004 edition the propositions were given different numbers when presented at the business meeting.

Proposition 1, which addressed the need for an assistant for both the Secretary and the Treasurer, was withdrawn before the business meeting. (Then) President Stan Lambert, 1/275 withdrew the proposition, which he had proposed.

Proposition 2 addressed membership and was introduced as follows: "Be it resolved, that Article II of the constitution be amended as follows:

"I. Under Associate members, after the words '70th Infantry Division (Training) USAR,' insert the words `the 70th Regional Support command USAR, and the 70th Regional Readiness Command USAR."'

[The following language immediately followed the aforementioned quote when it originally appeared in "Trailblazer." This wording was stricken from the proposition before the measure was voted upon. It was felt that the words were superfluous: "and their families, and persons in foreign counties who are interested in further the aims of the Association, Such members may be admitted upon application approved by a member of the Executive Committee and payment of annual dues".]

"2. Under Associate Members, strike the words 'approved by the Executive Committee' and insert the words, `approved by a member of the Executive Committee.'

"3. Under Inactive Members, strike the words `are former active members' and insert the words `are former active and associate members."'

This proposition passed on a unanimous voice vote.

Proposition 3 which opened full membership to Associate Members passed on a unanimous voice vote.

Proposition 4, which addressed the dissolution of the Association in accordance with our current bylaws, was withdrawn by the man who proposed it: Ed Arnold, HQ/70.

The chair then recognized "Trailblazer Editor" Ed Lane, AM who noted that he was handing a check for next year's dues ($20) to Treasurer Don Lindgren. Ed stated that he had been an Associate Member for 25 years and was proud of his new membership. There immediately followed a good-natured exchange during which it was acknowledged that, while Ed was a veteran of the 70th Division (Training) US Army Reserve and had paid his dues by check, Brian Ellis, AM had also paid his dues. Brian had paid in cash and was the first of the follow-on generation of descendants to pay. It was noted that with the new membership rules it was hoped that the friendly rivalry between Ed and Brian would continue for many more years.

Pam Garrison, AM representing the 70th RRC delivered appropriate remarks updating the membership on the mission and recent history of the unit. The 70th RRC is the modern day descendant of the division bearing its colors and battle honors. (Pam's remarks gave a good overview of the role the modern day 70th is playing in national defense and deserve to be presented in full. Unfortunately there is not room in this edition. Those remarks will appear in the Spring 2005 edition.)

Men's luncheon

The men's luncheon was opened by the presentation of colors by the Wheeling (Illinois) High School Naval Junior ROTC detachment.

After a fine lunch the men heard from John Nothnagle, 570 Signal in place of the previously scheduled speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Callihan who was unable to attend the reunion. As many know, Glenn is active Army and duty commitments kept him from attending. John's timely remarks put WWII into the perspective of history. (Those remarks appear elsewhere in this edition.)

A ladies luncheon also took place during the same time frame as the men's luncheon. By all reports the ladies were treated to fine food and great entertainment.

The afternoon of Saturday was taken up with the close of the silent auction (a great success which adds money to the treasury) and the retrieval of items successfully bid upon. Regimental and special unit meetings also took place in the afternoon. Banquet

The traditional banquet was started with Todd Schlegelmilch (Stan Lambert's great nephew) singing "The Star Spangled Banner" while accompanied by his father Scott playing the Cornet. The colors were presented by the 70th Division Association Color Guard of Bill Bergren, B/276; Robert Crothers, B/ 275; Frank Lowry, A/276; and Don George, K/275.

Walter Clay Cox (son of Walter Cox, E/274) sang "My Old Kentucky Home."

Stan Lambert recognized those charter members who were present. They were Edward J. Fisher, K/ 275; Eugene Petersen, SV/275 and James C. Kyle, SV/275.

Steven Dixon was presented a special award plaque in recognition of his work in creating and maintaining the 70th Infantry Division Association Web Site. That web site has won much recognition on a worldwide basis.

Karl Landstrom was presented a special plaque in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to the Association during which he has donated countless hours of his legal expertise.

Andy McMahon and John Nothnagle were each presented handsome statutes depicting soldiers in recognition of their services to the Association.

The unit trophy went to 1/275 for having the largest number of members present (11) at the reunion.

Outstanding Trailblazer Awards were presented to Army Leggett, G/274; Ira Coffee, AT/275; William Trotter, B/275; Paul Summer, E/276; Ray Yadon, D/ 274; and Neil Gibbs, L274 (Posthumous Award). The Committee of Chariman Con Cremer, F/275; Henry Clarke, AT/274; Robert Crothers, B/275 and Frank Lowry, A/276 received an ovation for their splendid work in selecting the latest recipients.

Les Edwards, B/274 performed "God Bless America." (It was a stellar moment for many us and there was a bit of moisture in more eyes than just the ones belonging to this Editor.) Les has been in ill heath and not performing of late but as a special favor to the Trailblazers he performed on this occasion. None of us who heard it will ever forget it.

Walter Cox then swore in the officers for the 2004-2006 term.

Dale Bowlin presented Steve Dixon with a Special Outstanding Trailblazer Award.

Paul Sumner presented Stan Lambert with a statue in tribute to his two years as President.

Our banquet speaker/ entertainment was Todd Hunt who lived up to his billing. In advertising for 20 years he now makes a living telling funny stories that make a point. A good time was enjoyed by all when Todd spoke.

Sunday, September 5, 2004
Solemnity, remembrance

The solemn order of business on Sunday morning at a Trailblazer reunion is the Memorial Service and 2004 was no exception.

Association Chaplain The Reverend Doctor Eugene Petersen offered the opening prayer. The Wheeling High School Navel Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the colors immediately after which those present recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

The "Start Spangled Banner" sung by Linda Lambert followed.

The "Book of Honor," dedicated in August 1984 at Philadelphia and inscribed in the excellent calligraphy of Ed Arnold, HQ/70; was solemnly placed in a prominent position by Bill Bergren, Bob Crothers, Don George, and Frank Lowry. The "Book of Honor" contains the names of the battle dead of the 70th Infantry Division. Each name is branded in gold script.

Past President Stan Lambert delivered the homily, which appears elsewhere in this edition.

The traditional memorial wreath was laid at the altar. (That wreath is now a permanent, artificial arrangement. For many years the wreath was constructed of live flowers. Those flowers were an additional expense with the live wreath being left out in the elements at a veteran's cemetery after just one use. The wreath is now the permanent property of the Association and is striking.)

Our honored speaker at Arlington Heights was Assistant Chaplain The Reverend Doctor Jim Lowther, AM who spoke for approximately 25 minutes.

At the end of Jim's presentation soloist Linda Lambert sang "God Bless America."

The main business of our memorial service is to honor the dead. That tradition was observed with the reading of the roll of the dead. This reading included the names of 245 Trailblazers known to have died since the 2002 Spokane Reunion. Paul Sumner, Bob Hays and Eugene Petersen called the spiritual muster.

"Taps" was sounded, Jim Lowther offered the benediction, and the "Book of Honor" was retired followed by our national colors. With the mention that the meeting was adjourned, another memorable reunion came to a close.

(Editor's note: A special thanks goes to C/275's Don Docken and Ray Gieselman who ushered the service and also to Betty Fridley; wife of J. Erwin F ridley, I/275; who was our piano player.)

Bill Trotter, B/275, Pam Edwards and Edie Trotter.

Carla Mathes and her Dad Carl, Hqs. 1st Bn/275.

Jim and Bev Hanson.

First timer Gerald Kirkland and his wife Beverly.

First Timer Dan Carey, age 16, grandson of Joe Dutra, L/276.

First timer Dianne Valendy Gushleff and husband Ron. Dianne's dad served with Hqs/274.

First timer Pam Edwards and husband Gary.

Kris Meidal, daughter of Ken Meidal, B/274.

Oliver Hill C/883 and his daughter Marty Richardson.

Bill Pierce, C/275, and Tim Desiderio, author of the soon to be published 275 regimental history. Photo Dixon.

Don (Medics/1st BN/274) and Lew Tousignant. Photo: Dixon.

Mauirce Baier and John Nothnagle. Maurice is a French WW2 veteran whos served with the 2nd French Armored Division of LeClerc's Free French Army. Photo: Dixon.

Business meeting. Photo: Dixon.

Stan Lambert and Niece Kendra O'Hayre.

Ray Gieselman, C/275, and wife Arlene.

Special Troops: Front row, l to r: Floyd Freeman, Will Hamm, Dale Bowlin, Oliver Hill, Cecil Austin. Back row, l to r: Grover Perkins, John Denger, Jack Nothnagle, Frank Scanlin, Steve Dixon. Photo: Dale Bowlin

Jim and Al Trameri, D/370.