Veterans Day 2015

Posted: November 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

It is easy, in everyday life, to forget about our fathers and uncles and grandfathers who fought in WWII. That’s why we need days of remembrance like today to remind us of their gift to us.

Many of the men of the 111th spent five long years preparing for, serving in, and cleaning up after that awful war. And yet few of them ever talked about it afterwards, as most of us know. They knew what they as a nation had accomplished and they were proud. But then they continued on, so that we, their children, could enjoy our everyday lives.

We have talked recently with two of our four survivors, Art Brooks and John Raisler. Art just turned 98, and John is 95. Both are living in Florida and doing well. John told me something I hadn’t heard before. He described how even with a war going on, every job the 111th did required a work order. He recalled one time when he had to climb into a foxhole to get a signature on one. At the end of the war, the 111th received a special commendation from the Army: the unit had completed more work orders than any other ordnance company during the war. They were a hard-working bunch. “The men always stuck together, it was a good outfit,” John recalls. “I’ll always remember them.”

And yesterday we were thrilled to hear from the granddaughter of a 111th soldier whose family we had been unable to find in our searches of the past two years. Tess Stanhaus wrote to this blog to tell us how glad she was to find the story of her grandfather, Lavergne Stanhaus of New Baden, Illinois. He was the mess sergeant for the 111th throughout the war. John Raisler remembers him well—“a nice guy, very friendly, would always stop to talk to you.” Tess sent this photo along; she thinks it might have been a wedding photo.

Lavergne Stanhaus and his bride Pearl

Lavergne Stanhaus and his bride, Pearl

  1. Glenn Booker says:

    Many thanks, Andrea…


  2. Vickie Unangst Gratton says:

    Hello Andrea and Ed..
    I’ve been thinking of you both as I read Only The Best again. The 9th was the 7th Anniversary of our Dad’s passing – so close to today so lots of emotion. I was able to read the book and hear my Dad’s voice and his laughter too. So glad the remaining 111th men are doing so well.


    Vickie Unangst Gratton
    Daughter of Roland C. Unangst

  3. Mary says:

    How exciting for you to find one of your “missing”.

  4. Tom Sedlacek says:

    Nice article !!

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Kay McAnally says:

    Lovely tribute, Andy! I had no idea about the Army needing work orders in the middle of a war. It makes sense now, but the story of a man going into a foxhole for a signature is something I would never have imagined.

    I recall making a visit to Camp Mabry here in Austin a few years ago to find information about the 111th to send to you. When I asked for any available research, the librarian said that I had timed my visit perfectly. Until the recent publication of a “wonderful” new book, information about the 111th had been non-existent – the 111th was a ghost story. Originally part of the National Guard, they said, records of the men and its whole history had disappeared when the 111th became part of the Army. The author of the wonderful book they were talking was Andrea Sutcliffe. They proudly handed it to me to read and I proudly told them that Andrea Sutcliffe and her husband Ed were my very talented cousins.

    Thanks you to you and Ed for your tireless and dedicated work to find and record the histories of the brave men of the 111th who fought for five years to keep us free. You have gathered and recorded their stories so that generations of Americans will now know the roles their loved ones played in the story of our nation.

    Well done, Andy and Ed!

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