The WWII 300th Combat Engineers

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The 300th at war.

Newsletters: Summer 2011

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Dallas Reunion June 2-5, 2011

The Dallas Reunion was a great success in many ways. It was attended by the largest number of veterans and famies of veterans in recent memory. More than 50 attended with nearly 50 at the Saturday luncheon meeting. We missed Randy Hanes for the first time in decades due to  his health and that of Norma. He continues to be in touch with many veterans and families. Also missing this year was Jack Burk. He has been struggling with some health concerns too. Ronnie Tanner and his sister, son and daughter of Claude Tanner, attended. Ronnie previously attended reunions with his father who passed away several years ago. He provided Brad and Jan with dozens of photographs from his father’s collection to be scanned for the web site. They are now on the web site in the Photo Gallery; Claude Tanner Collection.

An exciting addition to this year’s Dallas Reunion was the presence of Adrienne and Paul Manzone. Adrienne is the daughter of Battalion Commander Colonel Riel Crandall. This was the first time Adrienne attended a reunion and she and Paul were warmly and enthusiastically welcomed by the veterans and their families. There were lots of stories from the men and Adrienne could not say enough about how wonderful it was to meet the men her father commanded. Adrienne and Paul live in Connecticut not far from where her mother, Bea, still lives in the original family home.

Warren Chancellor and Cowboy Morris co-hosted the reunion which was coordinated by Cliff Martin and his wife Pat. Cliff is the son of 300th member “Jo-Jo” Martin. We all thank them for seeing that everything went off perfectly. Warren read a list of 300th veterans that had passed since the last reunion. They were: Clement Raynal, Jr.; James Kennedy; Forrest Burnham; Fuqua Boyd; Herman Gallip; Steve Daniels; and Melvin L. Ward.

Sgt. William “Claude” Tanner Photographs

Included in the Claude Tanner Collection were two group photographs of a squad and a platoon of Company B taken during training in England. Most of the men in the photograph were aboard LST 523 when it went down off Utah Beach on 19 June 1944. Nearly all of these men were casualties of the explosion and sinking as KIA, WIA, or MIA. The sinking may have been the greatest number of casualties of a battalion on a single day in the entire war. Don Richter who became clerk of Company B and was scheduled to be on LST 523 on the second wave of the 300th. He was pulled off at the last minute to replace another 300th clerk who had taken ill. Don had the sad duty to record the loss of his “buddies” while he remained in England. We thank him for identifying the men in the photo included here. Don is in this photo in the bottom row, third from the left. Sgt. William “Claude” Tanner is in the second row fourth from the left. You will note that many of the men in this photo did not return.

“Cowboy” Honored

It was an emotional moment when Brad Guffy went to the microphone at the reunion luncheon. Brad, son of  Kenneth “Cowboy” Morris, explained that his daughter was attending art school and as part of her art process, she was asked to capture somebody she respected on canvas. She chose her grandfather, “Cowboy.” She painted him in front of his truck in the European Theater in 1944 with a map of France in the background. The framed, full color painting was presented to “Cowboy.” More than 20 members of the Morris family attended the reunion representing four generations of the family.

Bob Peters

Many of you first met Bob Peters, Brad’s brother, in 2006 when he came to the Dallas reunion for us (Brad Peters and Jan Ross) asking for your help to locate information about Donald Ross (Jan’s father). It is with heavy hearts that we share with you that Bob, a Vietnam War Veteran and 12 years of Army service, left us on Tuesday, 26 July at 1415 hours following a long illness. We and the family were with him when he slipped peacefully away. Without his help introducing us to the men of the 300th, our work with the 300th family and the web site may never have happened. We are indebted to him for bringing us to you and we all will remember his smiling face each time he and his wife Jane joined us at the 300th luncheon each year in Dallas until this year. We thank you for your support during this difficult time.

Brad Peters and Jan Ross