More Reports from the Field

Posted: January 2, 2014 in Men of the 111th Ordnance Company, Uncategorized
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Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard from several more family members of the men of the 111th. But before we give their reports, Ed and I want to ask for your help. We are traveling to Florida in mid-January to visit with two of the 111th survivors, Arthur Brooks and John Raisler. We plan to ask them lots of questions and listen to (and record) their stories. If you have any questions you would like us to ask, please send them to me using this blog’s “Comments” section.

Now to share recent family member comments: Jo Ann Vosz writes, “My husband received your letter questioning whether his father [Curtis Vosz] belonged to the 111th. I just took a look at your blog and am certain that Dad was part of this group of men! I am printing and taking home the information you have posted and will see if Greg can share some of Dad’s memories.” Readers of Roland Unangst’s “Story” at the top of this blog will recall that Vosz was one of his two best buddies during the war. It’s nice to see them together again.

Charles Ziemba, whose father was Edmund Ziemba, wrote that he recalls his dad telling a story of standing guard after midnight in the Black Forest in Germany on a moonless night. “He said it was pitch black and he could not even see his hand in front of his face…. He was very scared the Germans would sneak up on him in the darkness and stab him. He said he stayed very alert as a result, but obviously that duty stayed with him…. My dad had war medals, a German Luger, a really striking German dagger with German lettering and other WWII artifacts. His uniforms were donated to charity in the 1980s…. I surmise from the WWII pictures that your dad and mine were good friends during the war. He often said he had several ‘good buddies’ during the war.” Yes, those San Antonio boys spent a long time together, some of them for five years straight: Johnson, Ziemba, Goerges, Andrews, Gomez, Ottea, DeLaGarza, Apple, and others.

Edward "Pinky" Johnson and Edmund Ziemba, Camp Shanks, NY

Edward “Pinky” Johnson and Edmund Ziemba, Camp Shanks, NY

Perkins Cochran, Jr., wrote, “My father, Perkins P. Cochran, was a member of this unit in WWII and I was glad to see the information on the blog that you have made available. I am still looking through the blog and finding many things that I did not know about the 111th. I will see if I have any pictures or information that I can send. “

Kaye Ross, daughter of living 111th member Osborne Eastwood, sent this email: “We went to see him tonight and took it [the blog printout] to him. We read him the roster of some of the names of the men from Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Wish you could have seen his face as the names came back to him. He remembered something about them when he heard their names. He always said he couldn’t remember much it had been so long, but he actually remembered a lot. He’s not in great health and cannot see to read due to an eye injury from the war.”

She continued, “My sister and I did not know much about his time in the war as we grew up. He just didn’t talk about it. We knew he was in the war and was gone for five years. We saw his pictures, we saw his Purple Heart, Bronze Star and other pins, but until the last few years we just didn’t know the extent of his service. He still to this day has dreams that put him back there. He was a tank driver in a three-man crew on a medium-size tank. He is beginning to recall a lot of things he thought he had forgotten.”

Osborne Eastwood, in Germany, 1945

Osborne Eastwood, in Germany, 1945

I talked with Sergio Gomez by phone before Christmas. His father was Frank Gomez, who was a good friend of my father’s. Frank’s widow, Carmen is 94 and was thrilled to receive the blog printout I had mailed to her. Sergio told me that he had always wanted to trace his father’s steps in Europe but had no idea where he had been. He said his dad never talked about the war, and his five sons had to drag out what little they could in bits and pieces from him. Sergio also said that a buddy of his dad’s who was in the 36th Division once told him that Frank was the highest ranking master sergeant in the Army during WWII, but that he is not sure how to confirm that. If anyone can help, let me know.

Frank Gomez

Frank Gomez

Daniel Turner made a comment on the blog before Christmas regarding his father, Marcus Frank Turner, and then we corresponded by email. He wrote, “I have several pictures on the computer I’ll send you. I have others I will scan and also documents and a history Dad and his Commanding Officer wrote. At least I think it was his CO. The pics I send today are of Dad, but not completely sure of the other gentlemen in them, nor of the exact date.” [I have posted them on the page at the top of the website called “The Men: Photos.”]

Cpl. Marcus Frank Turner

Cpl. Marcus Frank Turner

And Charlie Ottea, son of Matthew Ottea, wrote to me with a promise to find photos to send along; he said he is sharing the blog with his entire family, including Matthew’s grandchildren. Here’s a photo of Matthew from my dad’s collection:

Matthew Ottea, in Wales, 1944

Matthew Ottea, in Wales, 1944

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