The WWII 300th Combat Engineers

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The 300th at war.

Newsletters: Spring 2011

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Dallas Reunion June 2-5, 2011

The 55th reunion of the 300th again is in Dallas at the same time and place that it has been for the past few years. If you have not already made reservations and plan to attend you should do so to ensure you will be in the 300th block of rooms. Hosting this year's reunion are Warren Chancellor and Kenneth Morris. Special room rates are $65 and mention the 300th when making the reservation. A group dinner is planned at the hotel for Friday evening and the formal meeting will be a Saturday lunch. A hospitality room will be reserved for the group.

When: June 2-5, 2011

Where: Radisson Hotel, 11350 LBJ Freeway at Jupiter Road, Dallas, 1-800-346-0660 or 214-341-5400

Thanks to Cliff Martin for coordinating the event with the hotel and sending invitations.

We are most happy to report that Adrienne Manzone, the daughter of Col. and Bea Crandall, and her husband Paul will attend the reunion for the first time. Brad Peters and Jan Ross again will be attending so bring any photos or printed material to be scanned for the web site. We also expect some relatives of the men to attend for the first time.

Dale Williams Collection

Keenan Williams, son of Sgt. Dale Williams, attended the Tyler reunion last year and brought an album of his father's collection from his time in the war. When Keenan returned home, he realized his father had collected just about anything and brought it all home. Over several months, Keenan scanned the photographs and other images and 232 of them are now up on the web site. The images include photographs, postcards, souvenirs, newspaper stories, maps, his own diary, money, stamps and much more. They are from Camp White, England, France, Belgium and Germany. View the images on the web site in the Photo Gallery, Dale Williams Collection. Note that there are five sections of images and remember to click on the image to enlarge it.

Ben L. White Recollections

In the previous newsletter we reported that Ben L. White sent Brad and Jan about two hours of video recording telling his stories of WWII. Since then, they have transcribed 16 separate recollections and have added them to the web site in several chapters of the History. Of the 16 recollections Camp White has one; Normandy Invasion one; Battle of the Bulge four; Ruhr Pocket six and End is Near four. What follows is one of his stories.

After the war in Europe ended the 300th went back to this town where the battalion was broken up. There was an old boy in my squad named Buster Kirk. They removed him from the 300th and he went over in the invasion on D-Day. Later he came back to the 300th. He got a Silver Star or some kind of a medal back at the Normandy Invasion. Now when you were getting discharged you have to have so many points it seems like it was something like 40 some points for a discharge. You got points if you was married or if you had been wounded and you got so many points for every battle you were in. Kirk and I never got wounded and so we both lacked two points from getting discharged. He wore that medal around his neck and he thought it was going to get you discharged. I told him that it doesn't mean nothing that it's just a piece of metal. They don't care anything about that thing as far as getting discharged is concerned. He said if it doesn't get him discharged he was just going to hang it up in a tree and shoot it. A few days later he learned that the medal did not give him anything that would get him discharged. We had a few drinks of course and so he went out and he hung the medal up on a tree. And then he pulled his pistol out and he laid it across his hand and he shot his fingernail off. I laughed about it and said you're finally going to get your Purple Heart because you got your fingernail shot off.

How men of the 300th managed to photograph the war in Europe

Some of the men of the 300th became unofficial photographers of the war in Europe with innovative means of getting the camera and film, developing the film and later getting it home to the U.S. Since personal photography was prohibited during combat, these men, thankfully, did not completely play by the rules. The following is an account by Willie Hein of Company A as written down by his wife describing how he managed to retain a wonderful collection of personal photos seen in one of the web site Photo Galleries in Hein Collection.

The film was sent to Willie in metal syrup buckets surrounded by candy. The film was sent by two girls from Medford, Oregon. They were from a family that befriended the men from Camp White during the 300th training there. The family would have some of the men over on weekends to help them overcome being so far from home. When the photos were shot they were then developed in the field by two men of Company A, Henry Uhr and Claude Chastein with Uhr being in the same squad as Willie. Willie kept the photos in a metal box and carried them in his duffel bag throughout Europe and then bringing them home after the war. Willie was able to later identify many of the photos, the men, activity and location.

We are grateful to the men of the 300th and their families who have been willing to share their photo collections for the web site by bringing them to a reunion to be scanned. The official photos were taken, developed and printed by members of the Signal Corps, official photographers of a battalion or approved photojournalists. The photos were then censored by the military so as to not assist the enemy. These photos tell one important story of the war but the personal photographs record a somewhat different uncensored story since each of the hundreds of images in these collections has its own story, many of which have been related by the men of the 300th.

Herman Galipp Remembered

Herman Galipp passed away on March 14, 2011 at 86. He attended the reunion in Tyler in October with his wife of 62 years, Rubie. They attended many reunions in Dallas and Tyler and he will be missed. After his service with the 300th, he married Rubie and worked in Houston as a mechanic, in maintenance and retired as head custodian at St. Mark's Lutheran Church. They moved to Leadbetter where he continued working as a grounds keeper. He loved taking care of his cattle and farm. Our condolences to the family.

New Contacts

We have had several new contacts as a result of the web site. Here are three of them.

We were contacted by Ronny Tanner the son of William Tanner and referred the contact to Don Richter. Here are his comments. Yes, I remember William C. Tanner very well. He was a Buck Sgt. Squad Leader in Company B. He was a large well built man who played first base on the Company B softball team in Germany after the end of the war. While the whole battalion was billeted in the old German Army Camp in Aschaffenburg, each company had a softball team and Company B won the Battalion Championship. Bill Tanner was also chosen to play first base on the 300th team competing with other battalion teams in Group. Several of our Company B players were selected to play on the Battalion Team. All of the guys were very good players and played very hard. We who watched gave them lots of support. I would be very happy to share my memories of Tanner with his son.

*****

Wow, this is amazing. I only knew as a kid that my dad [Tec 5 Rosinaldo Borrego] was in Germany. I had no idea he was involved in the Normandy Invasion as one of the 300th. I have cc'd my family and intend to talk with my mom, who is still living. I am also delighted to hear that he is being added to the 300th photo's. I am also grateful to Mr. Richter for his insight and have included him in my e-mail, as I hope to talk with him again. Regards, Cynthia D. Borrego, MPA

*****

Hello, I'm French and I speak english very bad. I was born near Saint-Lo, and my uncle had been killed on the 7th of june 1944, in Avranches. My family is very gratefuly for American soldiers who fought in Normandy for our freedom. Best regards, Jack Auger