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The Ortonville Independent
Ortonville, Minnesota
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October 6, 2009     The Ortonville Independent
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Information submitted by family members; or personally written by the WWII Veterans themselves who are no longer with us. (Some pictures were unavailable.) Robert V. Bogenreif (Taken from 1942 newspaper clippings) "Recuperating in a United States military hospital somewhere in Great Britain, Robert Bogenreif of Ortonville, was one of the first wounded Americans arriving at this hospital from Africa. Infantryman Sgt. Bogenreif was on one of two destroyers assigned to break the boom across the inner harbor of Al- giers, November 8, 1942, the first day of fighting. On the jetty, after carrying out their mission in the city, Bogenreif was wounded in the right leg below the knee by a sniper's bullet. For his bravery in action under fire, General Dwight D. Eisenhower pre- sented Sgt. Robert Bogenreif of Or- tonville with the order of the Purple Heart. Bob was the first person to re- ceive this merit from this section of the state of Minnesota in this war. In December of 1942, in a letter to his mother, Bob wrote: 'How is every- thing back home? Swell, I hope. I sup- pose everybody is getting ready for Christmas. It will be a quiet Christmas for me away down here. A fellow sure gets around. Have you heard from brother Lester, lately? We haven't re- ceived any mail for quite some time, but will be getting some one of these days, I hope.' 'By the way, Morn, I received the Purple Heart medal. You have read about the Purple Heart military merit medal. I received it from General Eisenhower. You also have read about him. He is our Commander. I am sure a proud boy right now.' 'Well, I have to say goodbye for this time, as I am getting tired. Do write soon, Morn. With love from your son, Bob.'" Leon A. Dosehadis, Merchant Marines, Chief Butcher (Written by Leon Doschadis in 2002) "I enlisted in the Merchant Marines, November 28, 1944, at the age of 18. My six-month basic training was at Sheep's Head Bay in New York. I was then shipped overseas from Seattle, Washington, in May 1945. I was assigned to the U.S.S. Cape Neddick, a troop transport that carried 1500 troops, plus officers. We made Rantoul, Illinois for more training. He did not get a furlough to come home, but was sent out east and then overseas. He was overseas about three years. His mail came from Norwich, Eng- land, and he was stationed at a base at Horsham, England. Russell was with the 8th Air Force, 457th Squadron, 95th Bomb Group. He was a metal-smith, but also flew on some missions. One day, he found a little boy named Michael in some rubble. He took him to an English home of some people he knew and they cared for Michael. Russell returned home on the Queen Mary and expressed great joy on being home. He and his wife, Marcia, at- tended his 457th Squadron reunions held at various places in the U.S. each year. He once mentioned that in the mom- ing in their mess hall at breakfast, many Air Force pilots and personnel were there; but later that evening, many never returned. It was very sad and he only spoke once of those things which were almost unbearable. Ed Michelsen (Written by Ed Micheisen in 2003) I was born in 1916 on a farm just one fourth of a mile from where we now live. We have given the farm site to our children so it is still in the family. We are eighteen miles north of Or- tonville on the lake road. I went to Sunnyside District 62 ele- mentary school, then on to Beardsley. Because of the Depression, I had to stay out of school for two years but then went to Ortonville High School and graduated in 1935. I'll give you a super condensed his- tory of my time in the blue ..... I had my A&E mechanics certifi- cate, Commercial pilot certificate with flight instructors and seaplane rating, but no heavy aircraft time in the latter part of 1942. I then enlisted in the Army Air Corps and passed a flight test in an AT-6 at Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois. I was assigned to a target-towing squadron where I flew Curtiss A-25's in tracking missions for 'pom-pom' gun- ners and night target towing missions in B-34's; in addition to daytime high alti- tude target towing flights in Martin B- 26 aircraft for P-47's. Next, I was assigned to the 6th Ferry Command at Long Beach, California. Here I ferried Lockheed P-38 and Dou- glas A-26's before assignment to the ADF navigation course of the Air Transport Command at Reno, Nevada, four trips. Our destinations were New prior to being sent overseas where I was, Guinea, the PhilippinesiOkin:aw~/,'~d ...... b'~ised at ~Meliaha Airport, Tripoli~, Italy. Libya. I was there on VJ Day. I accu- M.y first trip to New Guinea, we were m a convoy with the Cape Ned- dick being the Commodore ship. We were in a 7-troop transport with a Navy escort. During the trip we had a lot of submarine alerts. The Navy was able to get rid of most of the depth charges. We had many sleepless nights. We delivered 15,000 troops to New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa. On our trip to Italy, we carried prisoners of war. My last assignment was on the U.S.S. James B. Weaver, a liberty ship. On our trip to Japan we carried a lot of rice and split peas for them. We then sailed to the Philippines and it was there that I contracted malaria. I was ex- tremely ill. This was a six-month and 22-day trip. I was discharged April 1947. It was in 1988 that the U.S. Government de- clared that sailors serving in the Mer- chant Marines be declared Veterans." mulated a little over 1800 hours of mil- itary first pilot time with only one 'crack-up'. I was in a Douglas A-20 and the brakes failed on landing. After the war, I went to work for the CAA as a safety agent. This later be- came the FAA. After three and a half years in the Air Corps, and twenty-nine in the FAA, I retired. I still have all of my ratings, current medical and DMI. My present flying activity is minimal with no other aspirations than 'keeping my hands in'. John Russell Kaercher (Submitted by a family member) John, who went by the name Rus- sell, was born May 20, 1922, to John and Rachel Kaercher of Ortonville. Russell was 20 years old when he left Ortonville, in the fall of 1942, for training in the Air Force in Waco, Texas. From there he was sent to Robert Clifford Swenson (Submitted by Don Lundell) My cousin went by the name 'Cliff', but his birth name was actually Robert Clifford Swenson. Cliffwas drafted out of high school in Ortonville in the sum- mer of 1944 between his junior and sen- ior year. I believe he went to boot camp in Florida, and, afterwards, was sent overseas to fight in the European the- ater of operations. Cliff was wounded in combat by the Germans, for which he received both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was discharged in the summer of 1945 and then returned to Ortonville High School for his senior year, 1945-46. He may have been the only one in his class who finished high school after fighting in the War. Cliff had a younger brother, Bertil Swenson, who graduated from OHS in June of 1945. Bert told how he and two of his OHS classmates left the day after graduation for Navy boot camp in Cal- ifornia. He said he was in the Navy from June of 1945 until the following year, 1946. He was then discharged as the manpower needs had declined sub- stantially by that time. William P: West (Information from Margaret Mc- Doweli Hospodar of Austin, Texas, and newspaper clippings) Ensign William P. West was the youngest child in a family of nine--his parents, Col. E.S. West (a retired Army officer), his mother, four sisters and two brothers. The kids grew up as military 'brats' and resided in Davenport, IA, during Bill's high school years. The family spent many summers at their residence near Hackensack in northern Minnesota. Bill attended Emery Military High School and grad- uated in 1935. Following his graduation, he came to Ortonville and made his home with the McDowells; he was a nephew of Herb McDowell, and cousin of Mar- garet McDowell. Bill attended the Uni- versity of Minnesota in Business Administration and the U. of M. School of Architecture. While at the Univer- sity, he met Nancy Wallace of Min- neapolis and the two of them fell deeply in love. In December of 1939, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Naval Air Service and took his basic training at Wold-Chamberlain Field in Minneapolis. Following basic training, he was sent to Pensacola, FL, where he completed his training and was commissioned an Ensign in No- vember of 1940. After his commission, he and Nancy were united in marriage in St. Petersburg, FL. After a brief visit to Ortonville, Bill went off to San Diego, CA, where he was assigned to an aircraft carrier for eight more weeks of preliminary flying training. As a member of the Pacific fleet, his service took place in Hawaiian waters in the thick of the Japanese sneak at- tacks on Pearl Harbor. A mission involving a raid on the Marshall Islands on January 31, 1942, resulted in Bill being decorated for his bravery during that raid. He was later presented the award of the Navy Flying Cross at ceremonies in Hawaii. Flying his scout bomber that day of the raid, Ensign West was wounded, his gunner was killed, and a buddy in a plane alongside of him was shot down. Secretary of the Navy, Knox, pre- sented the Navy Cross to Bill and cited: "...for his distinguished service in line of his profession, and for utter disregard of his own condition during the opera- tions of the United States forces against enemy land bases. During the raid, he so maneuvered his plane to permit the gunner to drive off the enemy and then return to the carrier." Bill's wife, Nancy, had come to Hawaii and joined the Red Cross, al- lowing her to be with Bill while he re- cuperated from his wounds, and, also, whenever his carrier came into harbor there. On May 20, 1942, tragedy struck while Bill's carrier was out at sea on pa- trolling missions. As Bill was prepar- ing to take off in his plane and he was revving the engine of his aircraft, the catapult malfunctioned and his aircraft was thrown into the air and uncontrol- lably crashed into the sea and he was killed. Word of his death reached Mr. and Mrs. Herb McDowell of Ortonville via telegram from Bill's father, Col. E.S. West, but at the time, the details of the situation were not known. Within the short span of less than four months, Bill was wounded in ac- tion, decorated for bravery, killed in ac- tion, and his brilliant naval career came to a tragic end. "In Tribute to All Area Veterans!" BETTER AND MORE EFFECTIVE PARENTS ........... tlospital ............ ~ .................. Nortla,.iclde }~.esklenoe ...... { ................... NO,-tl~siJe !\'~e~]ie.,:.dl Chni.e, ............ /::.:,/,,.OA[tS t]i,m tl,::,Jd, ............ ...................... Clin,o~ (}]inio IVeteran Service News By Dan Meyer Big Stone Co. Veteran Service Officer The office hours for the Big Stone these diseases with exposure to Agent Orange. The herbicide Agent Orange was used during the Vietnam War to County Veterans Service Office are 7:30 am - 4 pm Monday through Friday. My office phone number is (320) 839- 6398. Flash News! Secretary of the U.S. Depart- ment of Veter- ans Affairs (VA), Eric K. Shinseki, has added B cell leukemias, Parkinson's Disease and ischemic heart disease to the list of illnesses eligible for Agent Orange benefits. This addition was made as a result of a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which associated defoliate vegetation in enemy territory. It is estimated that between 1965 and 1970 nearly 2.6 million military personnel were exposed to Agent Or- ange, many of whom continue to suf- fer from disability and disease. The VA has established a presump- tion rule to speed up the application process for benefits. This rule exempts Vietnam Veterans from providing proof that their illness is associated with their military service. With the addition of B cell leukemias, Parkinson's Disease, and is- chemic heart disease, the number of presumed illnesses recognized by the VA is now 15. Many Veterans and organizations have been working to get diseases like these three added to the presumptive illness list for Agent Orange. "The addition of these conditions to the Agent Orange presumption list will provide affected veterans with much needed benefits and medical services," said Reggie Worlds, Senior Director of Programs and Services for the Min- nesota Department of Veterans Affairs. "The Veteran community applauds the work of the IOM, and the actions of Secretary Shinseki," he continued. If you are a Vietnam Veteran who suffers from, or a survivor of a Veteran who died from one of these three dis- eases, contact your County Veterans Service Officer for information on the claims process. Trivia Question. Who signed Major Clark Gable's army discharge papers? Hint: It was signed by a captain in 1944. The answer in next week's arti- cle. Until next week, take care and "Fair Winds and Following Seas!" Emergency Paid Leave Act to HIN1 announced by Franken Minnesota U.S. Senator A1 Franken is an original co-sponsor of legislation authored by Sen. Chris Dodd of Con- necticut to guarantee up to seven days of paid sick leave for workers infected by the H1N1 virus. "Minnesota families need to know they can do what's best to keep them- selves and others healthy," said Sen. Franken. "We know that staying home is the best way to combat the spread of the H1N1 virus. And in this tough economy, we know folks can't get by without a paycheck. This legislation will make sure that Minnesotans can take care of themselves, or stay home to take care of their kids, without sac- rificing their ability to make ends meet." The emergency legislation is in- tended to slow the spread of the disease by encouraging those who have flu- like symptoms to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations to stay home instead of coming to work, while mak- ing it easier for parents to care for sick children or deal with school closures. The current lack of paid sick days presents a threat to the U.S. economy and to public health, particularly in the face of a pandemic illness such as H1NI influenza. The CDC reports that an individual who comes to work with H1N1 in- fluenza will transmit the illness to ap- proximately eight to 12 percent of the individual's coworkers. This work- place transmission presents a serious threat to business operations, as many businesses do not have contingency plans in place to addresss the possibil- ity of mass absences due to the spread of a pandemic illness. The legislation includes the follow- ing provisions: Workers will be granted up to seven job-related paid sick days to use for leave due to their own flu-like symptoms, medical diagnosis or pre- ventive care, to care for a sick child, or to care for a child whose school or child care facility has been closed due to the spread of contagious illnesses, including H 1N 1. Discretion on the need for sick leave would be left to the employee, al- though medical certification could be required through regulation by the De- partment of Labor. The bill would sunset after two years. HUMOR FROM THE CLASSROOM %, And other places I've hung out over the years Here is another story I've used in English-as-a-Second Language classes. More than anything, it was used to encourage students about learning a second language. This Cat's Name Wasn't Tom; It Was Victor. When a mouse on the farm noticed that there was a new cat in the house, he boasted, "I can outsmart him, just like I did the old mouser/" The first time the mouse went out cautiously to have a look, he was con- vinced that he was right; the cat was not a threat to him. Then, safely back in his hole, he heard a loud bark, "Arf! Arf! .... This I've got to seeP' exclaimed the mouse. "The dog is after the new catP' He ran out to have a look. Suddenly, Wham! The cat's paw came down hard on his fail and held him there. Looking up in surprise and anguish, the mouse squealed to the sneering cat, "But I thought I heard..." to which the cat answered, "It pays to be bilingual!" Signed copies of Arlo's book about growing up in Odessa (Parsonage In a Pear Tree) are available at Otrey Lake Gallery in Ortonville, or by writing to him at PO Box 1311-Benson, AZ- 85602. $20 in Ortonville; $24 mailed. Arlo's new e-mail: jaarlo@q.com Help 'feed the hungry' this Wednesday at FELC First English Lutheran Church will once again be the location for Kids Against Hunger, to help feed the hun- gary all around the world. They will begin packaging food this Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 1:30 p.m. in the basement of the church. Volunteers of all ages are needed to help package food for the hungry of the world. They have opened this event to the whole area, community businesses, church groups, school groups, Key Club, Student Council, Kiwanis, Jaycees and anyone else that would like to lend a helping hand. The work schedule, if you would like to join them and help out is as fol- lows: Noon - 1:30 p.m. Set up tables and supplies. 1:30-3:00 p.m. Package food. 3-3:30 p.m. They will take a short break to re-group. 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. Package food. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Clean-up after pack- aging. From 5 to 6:30 p.m. they will have a freewill offering Advent Supper for all who would like to share. BBQ's and chips will be served. If you have any questions about this event please contact Scott Huizenga (320-305-0951) or David Tonn (839- 2527). PEOPLE WHO READ NEWSPAPERS ARE Registration for beard contest set Registration for the Big Stone City 125th Beard Contest will be on Thurs- day, Jan. 7 and Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. You can register at one of the three beauty shops in Big Stone City, be- tween the hours of 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Reg- istration fee is $5 and please be clean shaved when you come to register. If you live out of the area and still want to participate please send a dated picture to Loft's Shear Perfection, 102 3rd Ave, Big Stone City, SD 57216. Judging will be held Friday, July 9, 2010 after the opening of the time cap- sule. For questions call: Darcy's Cutting Edge, 862-8667, Loft's Shear Perfec- tion, 862-8651 or Patty's Beauty Shop, 862-8646. (Adv. 2) 'Christmas at the Museum' set for Dec. 6 The Board of Directors of the Big Stone County Historical Society in- vites the pubfic to 'Christmas at the Museum' on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. Nancy Scoblic has graci/ously of- fered to display her collection of Na- tivity scenes at the museum for our Christmas open house this year. There are about 80 Nativity sets in this col- lection on display now at the museum. Please join us for coffee, hot cider and Christmas cookies, fellowship and a chance to view this Nativity collec- tion on Sunday, Dec. 6. HIGH-SPEED INTERNET IS HERE] DITCH YOUR DIAL'UP AND START ENJOYING THE INTERNET AGAIN. STARTING AT ONLY SrA.~A.*,.S~AU~r,0. WILDBLUE liigh-speed In~rner. Out of the blue.. 877-865-4611 www.wlldblue.com Also available from your local retailer. Hurry. offer ends soon. Sul~e~L to WildB~ terms and conditions, Additional ore-time activation ~e ap~lb$, plus mor~l'/~ui~ment lease fee and taxes. Minimum commitment term is 24 months, Visit ~,~kll~t~.c~/k~ai for details and the Fair Access Policy. *Spee(i comperis~ based o~ fde do~io~ usinq Wil~41e'$ pro pat'ka~ ~ 42 I~ps dklJ-~ ~ ~ ~ ~ O ~ ~ ~ i~ BUS & TICKET PACKAGES ...... AVAILABLE IN 2010 FROM OVER 70 CITIES ACROSS MINNESOTN Call or visit us online for schedule & reservations. Page 9 INDEPENDENT Tuesday, Dec. 1,2009 ....... i:- ~ ,