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Summer 2004

Inside the Dozer...

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A Soldier Died Today
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Anne Brogan writes, "It is with deep sorrow that I am writing to tell you that Tom died February 10th. He went into the hospital on September 18th with pneumonia, developed complications, and was on a respirator until his death. Since we hadn't sent any Christmas cards, I wanted to let you know."


Robert Sutherland "Sud" Cook now lives in an assisted living residence in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sud is okay but no longer is able to drive all around the country as before. He has put his time to good use by recording an oral/visual history of his life in the military. The tape will be available in the Army Engineer Memorabilia Division of The Scott Saewert War Museum and a copy for the archives of the Library of Congress.


“When we were shipped out from Camp Grant to Camp White, I was a draftee and a private; however, when we arrived at Camp White I was promoted to T/5. I remained a corporal for three years until we moved up to Japan where I was to depart for home. At that time I was promoted to sergeant. I was proud to have served my country during those war years, but I was never what you call a “soldier”. I hated every minute I was in the service, but grateful that I arrived in a non-combat outfit. That part I didn’t hate.

“I worked in the office of H&S Company under Captain Allen L. Terry who was a real nice guy. I could have been a sergeant sooner if I had stayed in the main camp office, but after just a few days of sweating in shirt and tie and sleeves rolled down, as Colonel Trower liked to see his men perspire in that hot tent, I told Captain Terry that I would prefer to stay as his clerk in the H&S Company. He let me back, but was disappointed that I turned down that pay raise that I could have had. Me too, but what the heck.”


At one o’clock in the morning of December 5th Rose Marie Cullen had Walter rushed to the hospital. He had suffered a mild heart attack. Eleven days later and with stent in place of the blockage he was back home feeling okay but a little weak.

CARL E. DAHLROOS (1305R/1393B F/A)

Daughter, Betty, writes “My father, Carl, had a stroke between May 29 and May 30, 2003 in Carney Hospital, Dorchester. He went there earlier in the day for a doctor’s appointment and was admitted because he was having a TIA (transient ischemic attack). The doctor called and told me that the stroke affected his right side and speech. She wasn’t certain to what degree he would regain any of these physical abilities. Thankfully, he’s been recuperating nicely. On April 14th, Dad was admitted to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton with congestive heart failure brought on by an infection. After a three day stay at the hospital and a week and a half at the Copley of Stoughton (a Skilled Nursing Care Facility and Rehabilitation Center [fancy name for a nursing home]), he was discharged. He’s doing better, but each time he goes into the hospital for medical reasons he seems to get a little slower. Thank God he has a good sense of humor and a great will to live! My uncle (Dad’s brother-in-law) lives with us and has been a terrific help to me, although he isn’t in the best of health either. My brother, son and sister (she came up from Texas to help) have been wonderful,”


Arthur’s son writes, “On April 6, 2004 my father, Arthur Leroy Diddle, passed away at his home. He served with Company A of the 353rd Engineer Construction Battalion. He is survived by his wife, Betty Diddle, daughter, Darlene Diddle, and son, Joseph Diddle. [Joseph enclosed the eulogy he prepared and delivered at the funeral service.] A military service was also provided at the grave site.”

PAUL J. DIETER (353R/353B A/A)

“We will be in AZ for 3 months 1-1-04 to 4-1-04. Looking for sunshine and dry weather for Rosemary.”


Velda, his wife, writes, “Ed had to have his left leg amputated the 22nd of October due to sores that wouldn’t heal and became infected. He is diabetic and also has poor circulation. He was in the hospital 5 weeks and then in the nursing home for 3 weeks for more therapy and rehabilitation. He now walks with two prosthesis as he had his right leg amputated 2 years ago January. He does quite well with the prosthesis!”


Charlene writes “[2003] has been quite a year for us. In May, Ted had angioplasty and had two arteries opened and had a defibrillator/pacemaker inserted in his chest. Then in August he had a hernia operation. He was very ill, but the Good Lord was very kind to us, and Ted is doing fine and back to his old sweet self again. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in July.”


Delcie Kibiloski writes “Clyde passed away Nov 22nd so holidays at our house are not so joyous. He was 81 years old and died of heart failure and sugar diabetes.”


Eleanor Klear writes “Note my new address. I miss my home: it was such a nice place. Harold had built it and it was so nice when the children were home. But the cat and I really did not need such a big place. I sold it to my grandson. I am now in a very nice condo but it’s different than a house. Of course all my neighbors come to see me and the grandkids come over with my daughter and her husband,”


Daughter, Mary, writes "Latest update on Dad … He had a chest x-ray in March … no change in size from the original tumor diagnosis in December. He had another x-ray last week and when we met with the oncologist on Friday the 28th [May] we found that his tumor had approximately doubled in size. We don't know what is going on with the spot in the liver (whether it has grown or stayed the same) that requires a special scan and I don't know if having this additional information would be helpful or stressful.

"Dad's spirits are good. He has been doing some driving and has finally gotten up to the VFW a few times (that was his daily stop). I don't think he has gotten comfortable yet with people seeing him on oxygen so when he goes there he does not wear it and so he doesn't stay too long.

"Mom [LaVersa] is about the same … keeps losing weight (she's less than 100 lbs) and the pain of getting around is very hard most of the time. Her and Dad can still have a "war of the words" so I think that keeps them going. I am so afraid that when the time comes I will lose them both in a very short period of time!

"Thank you for the sacrifice that all of you made so long ago … that has not been forgotten!! I am eternally grateful.

"Keep us in your prayers!"


“Sorry I am late with this check. This has been a hectic year for me. Everything from births to deaths and everything in between. The thing I like most was the family get-togethers. What a good time for all. I like the Dozer and look forward to seeing it. I am feeling in good shape. Told my grandson I was going to live to be 97.”

ROBERT S. MAACK (353R/1177GP Hq/Hq)

In response to a request for a recounting of his life in the military and help in funding our website.

“Here is your check that I promised some time ago and am finally getting to you. Your letter of Dec 5th certainly laid out all of your goals and trials & tribulations to reach them. I hope this donation fills a crack or crevice in the final dash to the finish line.”

“Perhaps some day I will get up the energy to write out my trail from Draftee to Major in the Corps of Engineers. I still feel it was not worthy of much interest to others. I merely worked at it, kept my nose to the grindstone, controlled my temper, used my eyes, ears & what brain power the good Lord awarded me along with being in the right place at the right time.

“God be with you.”


writes “I will never forget George [Saewert] and his tent with all those salamis hanging from the ceiling by a rope. I am doing fine. I am in remission. I had cancer and I am a survivor. I go to the Cancer Clinic every three months for a check up. I have been blessed. I am 81. My wife [Jan] is not so lucky. She has had a hip replacement, a shoulder replacement and needs a knee replacement.”

DUANE A. MC KEE (353R/353B C/C)

“Just a line to let you know we are doing fine. Have had some problems. Broke a bone here and there: nothing to keep me down for long. We both are enjoying life every day.”

STEVE MISAK (353R/1393B B/B)

is doing better after having a pacemaker put in last July.


sent a follow up report on his aches and pains: “Strangely enough my back pain has recently lessened and I’m now back on the tennis and hand-ball courts”.


writes “I came into the Army at the Reception Center Presidio of Monterey in March 1942. I was a professional musician – drummer. I asked about getting into a band. I was sent to the Presidio’s Band to Warrant Officer, Mr. Perkins, for an audition. The band was a National Guard Regimental Unit from the 49th Division (28 men with a Band Director Warrant Officer). I had the try out and passed O.K. Then the Warrant Officer asked if I would like to be in his band as they need a drummer. I was delighted and said, “Great”! So here I was given a .45 with holster, gas mask, World War One helmet and a PFC stripe, after three days in the Army and National Guard Band.”

“Naturally, after four days in the band, we had a Retreat Parade. Of course I could march. I played parade marching drum. We were lined up to start. The trumpet section played Retreat (with all the local dogs in camp howling with the trumpets). Very funny to me! The Drum Major sounded “Sound off”. We played and started to march (troop the line). The Drum Major had a tassel on his baton and the dogs thought that it was a great thing to jump up and grab. The Drum Major kicked at the dogs and tried to march. Very funny! As we marched and played, the permanent party was on our right, all the high brass, nurses etc.; on our left were all the new men in civvies, just off the train and buses, stiff as boards standing at attention. They didn’t know what “Parade Rest” was. I barely knew myself.”

“In the band we didn’t wear our helmets that day. We wore our service caps. I was marching next to the bass drummer, playing a march. The bass drummer went to hit his cymbal on top of the drum, missed, and knocked off his cap. The piccolo player was marching behind him, picked the cap up with his piccolo and put it back on the bass drummer’s head. That really “knocked me out”. I was through for the day laughing.”

“The drummer whose place I took, went into the Air Force, became a bomber pilot, was shot down over Germany and became a prisoner of war. He later said, “Harry, I wish that I would have stayed in the G__ D___ Band!”


writes “Getting along OK for the shape we’re in. I’m on oxygen most of the time.”

ANDREW L. TRUOG (-/1393B -/C)

writes “I just had a bone scan today [December 10th] after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. The doctor put a medicine implant in my arm December 5th. I will know on Monday if the cancer got to my bones.”


Laula Walker writes “I am living alone but all my children live here on the farm. Frear died 8 years ago tomorrow (Jan 7th).

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North Platte, Nebraska

North Platte, Nebraska honored the veterans of World War II by inviting representatives of the various services to participate in The Canteen Spirit. The Canteen Spirit was a reunion of the Nebraska Canteen workers with the Servicemen and Women they served during World War II at the North Platte train depot canteen.

Invited to participate and be interviewed for the PBS documentary by NETV was our own Mansel Johns (353R/353B D/A). Dottie Johns accompanied Mansel on this all expense paid trip. Mansel represented the Army Corps of Engineers along with representatives from the Air Corps, the Marines and, the Coast Guard.

Sav Francisco, California (1944)

NEWS FLASH – HOT OFF THE PRESSES – From SOPAC Daily News – July 10, 1944 (Sent in by the late Arthur Diddle (353R/353B D/A)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The War Shipping Administration announced today the loss of the round-the-world liner “President Grant” in the Pacific. No enemy action was involved and no lives were lost. Salvage work is proceeding to reclaim supplies and valuable equipment from the 13,000-ton vessel. The ship lies broken on a submerged reef barely 10 miles from its undisclosed destination. The Merchant Marine crew members arrived here today and stepped on solid ground for the first time in five months. The crew fought a tropical storm in an effort to salvage the ship, laboring for 100 days to get the “Grant” off the reef. When they were on the verge of succeeding a swell lashed the ship a death blow.

[The 353rd Engineer General Service Regiment was loaded on the U.S.A.T. President Grant, Pier 45B, San Francisco, CA 2230 21 May 1944. On the 22nd the President Grant passed through the Golden Gate, San Francisco Bay bound for Noumea, New Caledonia. On the 23rd through the 27th it was escorted south down the coast by a Navy blimp. The blimp escort left south of the Panama Canal and the Grant turned west-southwest toward New Caledonia. On 7 June 1944 the USS Stanley Call, a destroyer escort, joined the Grant just northwest of the Society Islands. On 12 June 1944 the Grant docked at Noumea, Caledonia’s quay.]

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An interesting clipping (authors unknown) sent to us by ROBERT A. STONE (1305R/1393B F/HS)

“The bugle music played at the end of each day at every military installation throughout the world and at every military funeral is TAPS. We have all heard the haunting song. It’s the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually creates tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song? If not, I think you will be pleased to find out about its humble beginnings.

“Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land. During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, Captain Ellicombe decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.

“Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

“The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted. Captain Ellicombe had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform. This wish was granted. The haunting melody, we now know as Taps used at military funerals and at the end of each day on U.S. military bases was born:


Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky
All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh.

Fading light
Dims the sight
And a star
Gems the sky,
Gleaming bright
From afar.
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the Sun,
Neath the stars,
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.


“I too, have felt the chills while listening to Taps but I have never seen all the words until now. I didn’t even know there was more than one verse. I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn’t know if you had either so I thought I’d pass it along.”

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A Soldier Died Today

This Dozer was being prepared on Memorial Day and it seemed fitting to preface THE PASSING PARADE with an poem contributed by Rev. H. Scot Thompson, Chaplain, Mt. Vernon Post 9233 and published in the VFW newsletter.

A Soldier Died Today
(Author Anonymous)


He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast.
And he sat around the VFW telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds he had done.
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, everyone.
And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke.
All his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But, we’ll hear his tales no longer, for old Bob has passed away.
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

No, he won’t be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way,
And the world won’t note his passing; ‘tho a soldier died today.
When politicians leave the earth, their bodies lay in state.
While thousands note their passing and proclaim they were great,
Papers tell of their life stories from the time they were young.
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
Some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife
Goes off to serve his country and offers up his life?
The politicians stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service he gives,
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal, and perhaps a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them, for it was so long ago
That our Bobs, Jims and Johnnys went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with the compromise and ploys
Who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger with your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out with his ever waffling stand?
Or would you want a soldier who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin, and his country, and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin
But his presence should remind us, we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear – the praises,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say,
“Our Country is in Mourning, For a Soldier Died Today.”

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Fallen Comrades

Thomas J. Brogan
(353R/1393B A/B)
February 10, 2004
Claude W. Craig
(369R/1394B -/C)
August 10, 1913 – July 12, 2002
Arthur L. Diddle
(353R/353B D/A)
August 17, 1918 – April 6, 2004
Roy H. “Pat” Fassbender
(1395R Company C)
August 24, 1925 – December 4, 2003
Clyde L. Kibiloski
(353R/1177GP MD/MD)
November 22, 2003
Hershel Shell
(353R/1393B B/B)
February 18, 1922 – November 7, 2003
John T. Smarrito
(1393B H&S Company)
November 23, 1914 – January 28, 2004
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Roman F. Klick, Publisher
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