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Winter 2003

Inside the Dozer...

The Life and Times of Paul J. Dieter
Lives Remembered
Robert D. Le'Fever's Army Experience
Help Us Find...
Keeping Our Memories Alive
Health Report
Newsletter Home Page
Museum Home Page

Due to the length of this issue of The Dozer, the articles by Paul Dieter and Robert Le'Fever have been given their own web pages. When you click on the links listed above for those articles, a new browser window will be opened.


Editor’s Note: Thank you. The response to this summer’s request for news items so The Dozer could be published exceeded expectations. Please continue to send in letters with your memories and updates for our future editions.

ROLLO L. FULLMER (353R/398BD BD/BD) has recorded for us the history of the Band. “The Band began as a Utah National Guard Unit of the 115th Combat Engineers of the 40th Infantry Division. It was inducted into the Regular Army in early 1941 and sent to Camp San Luis Obispo, California. Soon after Pearl Harbor, the Band was transferred to be the Post Band at the Presidio of Monterey, California. This was the only place the Band was nearly all music. After several months the Band was again transferred to the 353rd Engineers at Camp White, Oregon. From Camp White the Regiment was sent overseas to New Caledonia. Then, with a change of name to the 398th ASF Band, to Guadalcanal and finally the Philippines at the war’s end. The total number of men that have been in the Band is much greater than the Table of Organization for a regiment, which is 32, because through the years of its existence there were considerable ins and outs.”

GIDEON C. HOLMES III (353R/1393B A/B) “This has been one tough year,on me. Had the cataract operation on my right eye, disappointed because my left eye turned out great this one not too good.

“End of February my right knee was swollen, no pain just swollen. Went to my primary care doctor who took one look and told me to get to the hospital. Arrived in the emergency room at 1600 hours. Several doctors came in, looked, asked questions and left. Next thing I am in the operating room with an epidermal. They made a 5-inch vertical cut in my knee and flushed out all the bad stuff. It seems that I had a septic knee. Spent the next 12 days in the hospital with a “pic” in my arm to facilitate the administration of very strong antibiotics and other medicines. In the process of taking MRI’s, X-rays etc. they determined that I had an aneurysm of my abdominal aorta. Funny two different doctors came to my bed and cited the seriousness of ‘AAA’ but never left a card or signed my chart,

“When I came home my daughter had looked up the ‘AAA’ on the net and found some doctors in Florida who were inserting stents as opposed to slitting your belly open, temporarily removing your organs, making the repairs, then putting everything back and closing you up, a five hour operation. Her second son was dating a girl whose father is the Chief Cardiac Surgeon at Hahneman Hospital. She asked him if he would look at me. At first he resisted, then he agreed to do the tests. After three days in the hospital and $52,000.00 worth of tests Dr. McCormick told me he was not certified to install stents that large but he knew a doctor at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Out to HUOP with all my information, no good!! He had to have some of the tests redone in his hospital. Finally, at the end of September I had a bifurcated stent installed, out of the hospital in two days with a six-inch incision in my right and left groin. Went back 10 days later to have the staples removed, no pains or aches only a little itching on the cuts.

“This Thanksgiving I had a lot to be thankful for although it never ends it seems we move from one problem to the next.

“I am thankful for my wife of 55 years who put up with all of the above. She is doing well except for her skin problems which after 8 years 8 different dermatologists, 40 different medicines is finally half way under control. She also has stomach problems which she is seeing a new doctor to determine what’s wrong and what can be done to cure it.”

MANSEL W. JOHNS (353R/353B D/A) was 80 years old this Spring of 2002 and he writes “During the summer, we rode our Harley along with two other biker couples to Sturgis, South Dakota. Then through the Black Hills, Custer Park, Yellowstone Park, Glacier Park and some local trips totaling 6,540 miles for the season. A little short of the 7,374 miles the year before.” Mansel and Dottie are good friends of a fellow biker, Tommy Thompson, the former governor of Wisconsin and presently the Secretary of HUD in the White House Cabinet. Mansel also writes “Our garden was great this year, we canned 30 quarts of tomatoes, froze 40 bags of tomato soup, froze at least 40 bags of raspberries and gave away 200 raspberry plants.”

RAYMOND B. MARSHALL (369R/1393B E/C) updates his buddies “that I am still going, arthritis and all. I live, for the last 22 years, on a 15-acre place in the country six miles northwest of Maysville, Missouri. My wife, Vera, (we married January 20, 1946) and I have two children. Our girl, Anita, lives in Breckenridge, Texas. She and her husband Donnie have two boys, Bret and Cody. Our boy, his wife and their two children live on the 160-acre farm we ourselves lived on for 33 years.” [3425 NW Fairview Road, Maysville, MO 64469-8209 (816) 449-2074]

ELMER D. MEEKER (353R/353B E/B) writes that he and his wife have moved from Shelton, WA to Port Orchard, A to be closer to their children and relatives. Elmer is in fair health and still is able to get around pretty well in spite of 2 cancers, 2 strokes, a blood clot and 15 years living with diabetes. The VA hospital in Tacoma has treated him well. DONALD W. BALCH (353B/Co B) and Elmer keep in touch. Elmer reports that Don had a shoulder and back operation last year.

MORRIS E. MERSING (353R/1393B A/HS) Although Ed has trouble understanding voices over the phone, has cataracts and the start of macular degeneration he is still able to take care of his home. At the age of 84 Ed is one of our luckier comrades. Quite a few of us old guys have moved into retirement villages or have assisted living.

STANLEY C. MOHLER (353R/353B HS/HS) writes that he and Dorothy are doing okay healthwise with the handful of pills each day. Stanley put in a new front lawn and spent a busy summer keeping it trimmed. “I have a very unusual hobby. I am a gopher trapper. My name has gotten around so several people call for my help. I have caught 168. I have a blackboard that I keep my count. Just like to trap the gophers out of people’s lawns. They don’t like the big mounds of dirt in their yards.”

WILLARD T. NICHOLS JR. (369R/1393B D/HS) had a second heart attack in July and is in therapy. Bill was doing quite well in his own business until his first heart attack and by-pass surgery. He decided to slow down, sold his business and retired. He has had hip surgery four times and glaucoma has ended his driving and reading days.

FRED W. PASH (353R/353B C/B) writes, “I am now retired. I sold my store in 1988, a pharmacy that I owned for thirty-two years. We go to Florida in November and stay until April. I am married for the second time. My first wife died of cancer in 1971. We married in 1973. My wife and I play golf and do some traveling.” [Note: Although retired, Fred’s interest has not waned. He continues to attend the annual convention of pharmacists.]

HARVEY H. SCHWEIGERT (369R/1393B A/HS) writes, “I’ve sure missed The Dozer. I didn’t know many of the comrades that are mentioned but I still enjoyed and liked every issue. On August 22nd my wife, Martha, and I celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary. We had a very big get-together and a party with relatives and friends.”


E-mail from Deborah Simeroth (ELMER E. FLIEHMAN 369R/1394B B/B) “Here is some information on my father. Elmer E. (Buzz) Fliehman was born on 22 Feb 23 on a homestead just outside Carson, North Dakota. He was orphaned at the age of 13. At age 15 and possessing $5 borrowed dollars, he hitch hiked from North Dakota to California working odd jobs along the way. At age 17 he entered the Civilian Conservation Corp and received an honorable discharge in 1941.

“On February 6, 1943 he was inducted into the Army. It is presumed he entered at Camp Beale, California. Elmer departed for the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre on 6 Mar 44 and arrived on 26 March 44. He received the WWII Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal and the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal. His date of separation was 14 Jan 46 from Camp Beale, CA.

“After the war, in 1947, he married Margaret Sousa in Crockett, CA. He had one son and two daughters. Elmer worked as an assistant store manager in Monterey, CA. In 1965 he and his family moved to San Jose, California where he became a sales representative for EMCO Distributors until his retirement in 1986. Elmer received several company awards for his dedication and exemplary work performance.

“Elmer died at home on 29 January 89.”


E-mail from Evelyn Tomasetti (JOHN L. TOMASETTI 353R/353B HS/HS) “Good morning, Roman. The Dozer came yesterday and I read it from cover to cover. I failed to let you know that John died the 31st of August. He was 80 years old the 15th and seemed to be OK. He was going to the vet’s out patient hospital two and three times a week for respiratory problems and heart problems. I think they would have kept him in a hospital if they knew he was that sick. However, when they sent him home every time, I thought he would make it for some time yet.

“It was a surprise, to say the least, when he just sat in his recliner, turned on Montel and went to his final sleep. I tried to wake him for lunch but he was gone.

“John had a funeral here in Cedar Park and I sent him home to be buried with Helen [John’s first wife]. She was a friend of mine too. He had another funeral in Deltona and was buried there in the family crypt.

“His lamp is extinguished.”

“Other than to say I miss him terribly, that’s about all I can say right now. You can contact me any time”


From Martha Walker (ROBERT L. WALKER 353R/353B A/A)

“Doesn’t seem like it should be time to be celebrating Christmas again. We have had a little winter weather, snow and some ice, but temperatures for the most part have been tolerable. Have had a very stressful year.... my older brother who had never been a patient in the hospital was hospitalized the middle of March with chest pain. A triple by-pass surgery was done and he was taken back to surgery later the same day to no avail. The day of the funeral, Bob hadn’t had a good night and was complaining of chest discomfort. His doctor ordered a stress test and he was referred to his cardiologist. My younger brother who had cardiac problems and bladder cancer died two weeks after my older brother. The week of his funeral, Bob had a cardiac cath and angioplasty at Good Samaritan in Dayton. Bob continued to have discomfort....we saw his M.D. and cat scans were ordered (the time waiting is awful). Before we got the results, Bob was admitted to the hospital and a gastroenterologist and pulmonary physicians were asked to see him and as a result of the gastroenterologist’s report, the oncologist saw him and a biopsy was scheduled of the lymph nodes. The biopsy of the lymph nodes showed lymphoma. He underwent six months of chemotherapy....the cat scan after the chemotherapy was negative for lymphoma. We have a wonderful oncologist here....everybody loves him. The personnel are trained at the Arthur James Cancer Hospital next to University Hospital (OSU) - Wish all nurses were as kind and caring as these are. He suffered with extreme fatigue. I told him his hair would come back in black and curly. He also developed a foot drop, a side effect of one of the drugs.

As a result, he fell several times, one of which, in all probability, resulted in compressed fractures of four vertebrae. The discomfort had been reported earlier. The pain became unbearable and a bone scan was done. He was scheduled for a vertebraeplasty, a procedure where cement is used and the patient goes home after a two-hour stay - and reportedly very successful. The benefit would be that he would no longer suffer the severe pain. Bob stopped breathing after the procedure was completed. A code was called, and an endotracheal tube inserted. He was placed on the ventilator and admitted to ICU. Three attempts were made to wean him off of the ventilator. On the 16th day, he partially coughed out the endotracheal lube.

He was taken off the ventilator, removed from ICU and admitted to a private room. He died four days later. He was focusing at first and moving his hands and feet but a short time later this stopped. We received the death certificates....the cause of death is pending. Our family has been fantastic. Mary Lynn and Susie have been on leave since Nov 20. The husbands have been here frequently too. Our grandson, who adores Bob and who graduated in June in engineering at UC, has some free time before entering medical school so he has been a tremendous help. Kristi has also been with us a lot. We had our Thanksgiving dinner in a hospital conference room near Bob’s room. His main pharmacist thought a lot of him as well as a lady cashier at our grocery. A lady who took care of him at the bank always had hugs for him.

“I have a lot that needs to be done here and hope I can get back to volunteering at the hospital and at the school soon again. Our wedding anniversary is the 22nd Mary Lynn is arranging for me to be in their home before that and stay until after Christmas. We have a lot to be thankful for....had almost 56 years of a wonderful marriage to a wonderful husband and have a wonderful family. One of the physicians told me that Bob lived longer due to his loving family.

“A very difficult twenty days for Bob - we were with him when he died. We had a very nice service for him at our church. I am enclosing an insert that Kenny wrote.”

Sentiments Regarding My Grandfather

I once heard a man ask the question - "Are you the light bulb or the light?" Do you, personally, exist as the vehicle or the spirit and energy that radiates from its mechanical anatomy? Though I initially passed it off, I frequently thought of this light bulb metaphor during Poppaw’s hospitalization. Though the person in the bed was Poppaw, I decided that his ailments were physical only and they fell short of reaching Poppaw’s "light." And like all those that live for more than mere existence Poppaw’s light will not disappear. His light has been incorporated into ours. It has brightened my life and my family’s as well as any of those fortunate ones who have enjoyed his company or learned from his values. He has taught me what true success and happiness are. Poppaw rewrote my definitions of loyalty, importance, courage, and difficulty. Without him, my family would never have had the opportunities and memories we've enjoyed. It is impossible to forget such a presence. Thank you, Poppaw, for your love, lessons, and memories.

- Kenny

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Ted and Charlene are doing great. They celebrated Ted’s 80th birthday in July with a large gathering of family and friends. Ted remains very active and helps other senior citizens with their lawns and odd jobs. Their two daughters and 6 grandchildren keep them young.

HOMER E. HOKE (353R/353B F/C)
Homer E. Hoke is still active in Fort Wayne, Indiana where he owns his own plumbing business and is the organizer for his high school reunions. Their 61st was held last year.

Harry can still get into his army uniform and has sent us his picture to prove it. He is very active with the Bakersfield, California American Legion Post 26. Last year he gave up playing the drums for a dance band having got tired of packing his drums and hauling them from his station wagon to the hall. As the Post Drummer he is in every Post parade and every year takes part in the December 7th memorial services. Harry sent a number of snapshots and newspaper photos for the Army Engineer Memorabilia Division. He says that “for an old duck” he is in good health and had a prostate operation in August.

Recovered from his heart surgery and is once again active in community affairs in Jackson, Michigan. Rum is involved with the Lions Club, the Parks commission, the Michigan Eye Bank, the Region 2 Planning Commission and the Airport Zoning Board.

After 53 years Dr. Whiteleather has retired from his practice of optometry in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He and his wife, Jean, pulled up stakes and took a leisurely trip across the USA to Laguna Beach, California. Elvan and Jean are renting while they shop for their new home. They will now be closer to two sons living in Huntington Beach and West Hollywood.

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Archie De La Vergne and his wife, Faye, celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on July 21, 2002. Can anyone top them?

GEORGE F. YANTIS (353R/1177Gp Hq/Hq)
George F. Yantis and his wife Elizabeth “Betty” Sinclair Yantis were married August 19, 1942 in Washington, D.C. and celebrated their 60th anniversary with an open house at their home in Olympia, Washington. The party was given by their children (5 sons, 2 daughters, 20 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren).

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Fallen Comrades

Carl Ackerman
(369R/1394B A/HS)
May 7, 1922 – March 20, 2002
Robert F. Hinz
(353R/353B E/B)
February 12, 1922 - July 24, 2002
Ray Adams
(353R Company D)
Ernest S. Hudson
(353R/353B F/HS)
Sammie J. Alderette
(353R/1393B B/B)
November 1, 1915 – September 19, 2001
Curtis J. E. Johnson
(353R/353B E/B)
January 6, 1916 – December 26, 2001
John C. Bartosh
(1393B Company C)
May 12, 1919 -August 18, 2002
Ennis Ownby
(369R/1393B -/C) May 16, 1923 - July 14, 2001
Leonard N. Cech
(1394B Company C)
May 25, 2002
Leonard’s wife, Sophie, died June 16, 2002
Charles E. Rotruck
(353R/353B MD/HS)
September 19, 1920 – June 1, 2002
Willard A. Conley Sr
(353R/1393B B/B)
May 15, 1918 – July 10, 1998
Joseph P. Szlashta
(369R/1394B -/C)
January 16, 2002
William C. Halper
(1393B Company C)
May 11, 1922 – November 20, 1970
John L. Tomasetti
(353R/353B HS/HS)
August 15, 1921 – August 31, 2001
Ernest T. Headrick
(369R/1393B A/C)
Robert L. Walker
(353R/353B A/A)
January 22, 1920 – December 10, 2002
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Lives Remembered

ROBERT F. HINZ (353R/353B E/B)

Gisela Hinz wrote, “I’m sorry to let you know that Bob passed away July 24th of this year. He had prostate cancer for 10 years. A bone scan in early May showed the cancer had spread to his spine and ribs. He started chemo but it didn’t help any more.”

“Bob was a wonderful guy. He was born February 12, 1922 in South Bend, Indiana and lived in the South Bend-Mishawaka area all his life. After the war he did an apprenticeship and became a sheet metal mechanic. He worked for the same company for 40 years and retired in 1987. He was a 50-year member of the Sheet Metal Workers International Union.

“Bob’s first wife died in 1957 and we got married in January 1962. Bob had a son and daughter from his first marriage and we have a daughter.

“We moved from South Bend in 1973 and built our house on Willow Creek Drive, Mishawaka. Here Bob had a big garden as his hobby. He grew everything you can think of even potatoes. He was famous for his excellent tomatoes and other produce by all his family, friends and neighbors. Bob went with me to Germany twice to meet my family (I came from Germany in 1958) and many came to visit us here and liked it very much. Since his retirement we went every winter, for several months, to Florida and had a good time.”


Curtis E. Johnson was born in Moody County, South Dakota, received an 8th grade education at Pleasant Prairie Country School and thereafter worked on the family farm with his dad, John Johnson. He entered the service in 1942. His tour with the Engineers took him from Camp White, Oregon to New Caledonia and finally the Philippine Islands. Curtis was discharged in 1945, married Lora Fletcher on June 13, 1948 in Akron, Iowa.


Charles E. Rotruck was born on September 19, 1920 in White County, Indiana to Merle and Pearl Sandberg Rotruck. He married Ruth Speicher on October 17, 1942 in Medford, Oregon. Charlie lived in Monticello, Indiana most of his life and was a graduate of Buffalo High School. For 30 years Charlie farmed and for another 30 years sold Kendall Motor Oil. He was a member of the Buffalo Church of the Brethren, the American Legion Post 81 of Monticello. He died at home on June 1, 2002 after a six-year illness.

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Help Us Find...

Post office returned mail sent to him at RD 5 Box 577, Tunkhannock, PA 18657-9805.

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Keeping Our Memories Alive

About the Virtual Museum Website

If you are not on the Internet, take the website address http://www.ww2armycbs.org/ to a friend or to a relative or to a library that does have a computer on Internet and ask them if they would access it for you. Do not miss seeing your museum. Our history and experiences are being kept alive in cyberspace.

Veterans History Project Progress Report

21 comrades are participating in the Veterans History Project. Their biographical data and their interview will be retained by the Library of Congress, the University of Florida Department of History, The Scott Saewert War Museum and on our website as a virtual museum.

Peter S. Rakiewicz (353R/1393B B/B) kept a diary beginning in April 1945 on Guadalcanal to January 1946 in Fort Lewis, Washington. Pete’s diary is a day by day transcription of his experiences. It has been scanned. Copies will be submitted along with his biographical data form and interview notes to the aforementioned repositories. It has been incorporated as part of the virtual (website) museum.
Note: Peter's diary is at http://www.ww2armycbs.org/docs/pr_journal.html

Roman Klick wrote home every day during the war and copies of the saved letters are in the process of being scanned and will be submitted for the recording his experiences in the service. The only drawback is that parts of some pages from overseas prior to the cessation of hostilities were severely cut out by the censoring officer.

Health Report

H. LAWRENCE (LARRY) FRAZIN (1305R/1393B -/HS) suffered a stroke from which he is slowly recovering. For the time being he is housebound and must use a walker to get around. Larry has rebounded from a number of life threatening disabilities in the past and he is looking forward to feeling a lot better when he celebrates his 87th birthday on January 27th.

MARCUS A. GARRISS (1305R/1393B -/HS) on June 3rd Marc suffered a mid-brain hemorrhage. It caused a sudden loss of his eyesight; however, he eyesight, while not yet normal, is getting better. Nina is doing all the driving.

ROMAN F. KLICK (353R/1393B A/HS) is one lucky fellow. At the beginning of July he came down with an auto-immune disease, bullous pemphigoid, that attacked his skin causing huge blisters. The dermatologist said the disease usually runs its course over two to three years and then may go away. Steroids will not cure the ailment but can bring it under control. He did not go on steroids and there has been no blistering since mid-November.

ANTHONY J. KOTOWSKI (353R/353B F/HS) beat the odds several years ago after a severe heart attack. Now he is fighting a myriad of troubles all hitting him at the same time. Tony is currently staying home and is on oxygen 24/7. Until these latest problems he was out there on the local lanes knocking down the pins every Wednesday afternoon.

ROBERT S. MAACK (353R/1177GP HQ/HQ) has made an excellent recovery from the emergency by-pass surgery that kept Bob from attending our Reunion 2000. Bob spends an hour at the gym three days a week. He drove out to Salt Lake City this year to attend what may have been the Band’s last reunion. Counting Bob there were six erstwhile band members at the affair.

MORRIS E. MERSING (353R/1393B A/HS) limits his driving to the daytime and to close by familiar roads because of macular degeneration.

CHANDOS H. MOHR (353R/1393B A/HS) underwent chemo treatments this summer for his cancer.

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Roman F. Klick, Publisher
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