Archive for November, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, Ed decided to try one last time to find family members of the men. He located what he believed to be about five more sons, daughters, nieces, or nephews and sent out letters. So far, we have heard back from two: a nephew of James Grappo, who was from Ohio and died in 2003; and the daughter of Stanley Carlson: Cathy Jacobson, from Minnesota. After hearing from Ed, Cathy found her father’s photo album and sent us many good photos. As usual, her dad, like all our dads, failed to write names on the backs of most of them, so if you recognize a face, please do let us know (remember you can click on any image to enlarge it).

Stanley Carlson and buddy, Camp Shilo, Canada, February 1943

Stanley Carlson and buddy, Camp Shilo, Canada, February 1943


Supply section warehouse and office crew, Camp Shilo, Feb 1943

Supply section warehouse and office crew Camp Shilo Feb 1943



Stanley Carlson, leaving home in 1943

Stanley Carlson, leaving home in 1943

Carlson joined the unit in November 1942, just in time to enjoy winter in Canada with the unit. Perhaps being from Minnesota, his experience wasn’t the shock it was to all the Texas boys. He served the rest of the war with the 111th’s Supply Section, leaving Germany with the last group in late fall of 1945.


The photo below of Stanley greeting his wife upon his return home is a classic!

Carlson and wife, Lolly, reuniting, late 1945

Carlson and wife, Lolly, reuniting, late 1945


Unangst on left and Carlson in  Germany Feb 1945

Unangst on left and Carlson in Germany, Feb 1945

Unangst and Carlson on bike built for two Germany probably

Unangst and Carlson on bike built for two, Germany probably

We did immediately recognize one familiar face: Roland Unangst’s!



We had a nice phone chat with Cathy the other day. She said her dad–again, like most of the others–never talked much about the war. After coming home, he started a printing company that became quite successful, and one of her brothers runs it now. Stanley went to work at his business every day until he died in 2012 at the age of 94.Center man is Stanley Carlson in front of church Stanley Carlon on right Fort Dix possibly Carlson on right perhaps Fort Dix Carlson in center standing others unknown Fort Dix maybe Reichelsheim, Germany train station 1945


Roland Unangst, 1944

Roland Unangst, 1944

It may interest you to know that the “Memories of Roland Unangst” page on this website (at the top, under “Memories of the Men”) consistently ranks as one of the blog’s top-viewed pages. Since Ed and I started this project 14 months ago, Unangst’s memoir has been visited nearly 700 times by people from all over the world. We thank his children for sharing it with us.

For Veterans Day this year, I thought it would be fitting to reproduce a portion of it here. He wrote the following to his grandchildren in May 1997 to explain to them the meaning of Memorial Day.

“Without remembrance, sacrifice is meaningless. All Americans need to recall, on special occasions, the untimely deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. Far too often, the entire nation takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Everyone should remember those freedoms were PAID for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. That’s why THEY are all remembered on one very special day. It’s kinda like the national debt that can only be truly paid for by each and every American. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice for future generations.

I am lucky. I served our nation in a time of need and went on to enjoy life, wife and family. And after 75 years it is easy for me to remember ALL who served, regardless of the conflict or the year. They all had one thing in common–love and loyalty to country. Did you ever stop and think about the goals they achieved? I find that I am kinda bonded to ALL who made the greatest sacrifice possible–giving one’s own life, so those of us who still live–ARE FREE. A simple means of paying tribute, pausing for a few moments of personal silence, is available to one and all.

Attending a commemorative ceremony is the most visible way of demonstrating remembrance: placing flags and flowers at grave sites and wearing buddy poppies are yet other examples of showing your thanks. It’s the thought that counts. And do help instill the remembrance in the young.

As America’s 12 million war veterans fast disappear from the landscape, there are fewer and fewer left to carry the torch of remembrance. Such traditions will live on only if there is a special movement to which that torch can be passed.