The WWII 300th Combat Engineers

newspaper headline

Newsletters: Summer 2012

Jan and Brad
Brad Peters and Jan Ross

“Sweet Tater” McAlexander passes a week before the Dallas Reunion

W. F. “Bill” McAlexander, 90 years old, died on May 31, 2012 at his home in White Oak, Texas. Born in Jefferson, LA he went to work for Gulf Oil in 1945 and worked there until he retired in 1983. He was an active Mason as a member of Knights Templer No. 104, the Scottish Rite.

“Sweet Tater” as he was known to the men of the 300th because he couldn’t resist a sweet potato, trained and served with the 300th through the European Campaign. He also served in the Korean Conflict in the Petroleum Engineer Division.

Even though his health was poor for several years, he never missed a reunion with his “buddies” whether in Dallas or Tyler where he attended with his wife Rosemary and sister Valine Bennett. Physically, he may have become a little slow in recent years but his mind was sharp as could be. He always had a smile and a funny story. He always wanted to know how you were doing. He will be sadly missed by all.

Helen Webb passes just before reunion

Norman Webb, who rarely misses any 300th reunions, was unable to attend in Dallas because his wife Helen, who was always with him at the reunions, passed away just before the Dallas Reunion. In a recent e-mail Norman said, “My wife, Helen, had some trouble for several years and this condition grew worse. She had been in a nursing home for some months before she died. Actually, I will be busy downsizing and preparing to move closer to my daughter in California. I certainly hope to get to see you guys again before I get too far away to come to the reunions.”

Editors Note: This page reminds us again that we are losing at an accelerated rate the men, women and families who ensured our freedoms in the 1940s. When you see a veteran’s cap, decal or license plate from any service a simple, “Thank you for your service and where did you serve?” will be more meaningful than any monument, memorial or medal. Lest we never forget.   BP/JR

Additions to the web site

Keenan Williams continues to find material his father, Dale, saved after the war. He came across about a dozen issues of a newsletter produced by the 300th during the Battle of the Bulge. “Enjun Ears Gazette” contains official reports, rumors, facts and stories of the 300th.

The newsletters are added to the site in the History Appendix as PDF files.

We are fortunate that we are still presented with new information for the web site. Recently, the family of Jacob Reinhardt sent a carefully typed, 8-page singled space account that Jacob wrote while on duty in Europe. His account is of special value because it was written as the events happened. The accounts are now on the site in various chapters of the History and his Recollections.

New contact for web site

We received this e-mail addressed to the web site on May 25, 2012 just before leaving for the Dallas Reunion. “My name is Jayanna and I am the great niece of S/Sgt. Dewey J. Caldwell. If you have a picture would you please post it in your web site. Thank you for serving our country and protecting us. I did not know my Uncle Dewey because I wasn’t born until 1963. My granddaddy, Dewey’s baby brother, always wanted to know about his brother because his body was never discovered. He was my granddaddy’s hero. I wish we knew more.” [Dewey Caldwell remains MIA from the sinking of LST 523]

The email from Jan Ross to Jayanna after the reunion follows. “So here is some news for you. The first people we saw at the Dallas Reunion were the son and daughter-in-law of William Walter Allen. They handed us some new photographs that William Walter had taken and kept. The very first picture we looked at had three men in it and one was Dewey as it was written on the back! We will add the photo to the web site.

From Jayanna to Jan and Brad:
“This is awesome!. You have no idea what this means to me.”