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
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
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
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.
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
Tours were the order of the day for this second full day of
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
Walter Clay Cox (son of Walter Cox, E/274) sang "My Old Kentucky
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
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
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
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
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
At the end of Jim's presentation soloist Linda Lambert sang "God
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.)