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Bill Elias' WWII Story: 258th Engineer Combat Battalion

Bill Elias' WWII Story: 258th Engineer Combat Battalion

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Published by Don Mann
Read about other Hampton Roads WWII veterans at dailypress.com/theirwords.
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Published by: Don Mann on May 25, 2010
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QIitatinu

~q.erea5, With deepest respect, gratitude and pride, the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania is pleased to honor the valiant members of the United States Army's 258th Engineer Combat Battalion who are celebrating the battalion's sixty-first reunion on May 3, 2008; and

~q.er.ea5, Comprised of teenage boys and young men who hailed from diverse social, economic and religious backgrounds, the 258th Engineer Combat Battalion was deployed to the European Theater during World War II and served there in numerous missions from January 1, 1945, until late September of that year. During that time, the members of the 258th supported the Allies' February 23,1945, Roer River crossing near Hilfarth, Germany, through bridge construction, anti- mine and barge boom construction, mine clearing and road maintenance; they supported the 30th Infantry Division's March 24,1945, Rhine River crossing and assault south of Wesel, Germany, by carrying troops across the river in storm and assault boats and being in charge of beach operations; and they supported the 75th Infantry Division from March 27 un til April 1 0, 1945, through canal and river crossing construction, mine removal and road maintenance, enabling the Allies to encircle the German Army in Germany's northern Ruhr Valley. Battling not only enemy soldiers but also fear, exhaustion, loneliness, illness and homesickness, as well as the freezing temperatures of winter and the scorching heat of summer, the men of the 258th Engineer Combat Battalion risked nothing less than their lives and were true heroes.

~.ofu iq.er.ef.or.e, the House of Rep res en tatives of the Commonwealth ofPen'nsylvania pays tribute to the courageous members of the United States Army's 258th Engineer Combat Battalion for enduring countless hardships, making untold sacrifices and placing themselves in harm's way to defend and protect the cause of freedom during World War II; extends warmest wishes for every future happiness to those of its members who are celebrating the battalion's sixty-first reunion;

J\n.()- .()-ir.eci5 that a copy of this citation, sponsored by the Honorable James E. Casorio, [r., on April 29, 2008, be transmitted to the United States Army's 258th Engineer Combat Battalion.

THE DIE CAST NEWS

Voluane 61

ISSVE 2 JUNE 2009

258th Engineer (C) Battalion

2010 ANNUAL REUNION is scheduled for April 30, May I, 2, at Heritage Hotel, Lancaster, Pa.

2011 ANNUAL REUNION is scheduled for April 29, 30, May 1, at Harrisburg East, Holiday Inn.

The 2S81h 6200 Reunion was held at the Heritage Hotel in Lancaster, Pa. on May 1,2, 3, 2009. Signing the register were James Carasella-B Co., Ted Carre-C Co., Clarence Cochran-C Co., John Dowlin-A Co., Charles Kriessman-C Co., Ray Mosser-A Co., Franklin Stitzman-C Co., and Donald Ulbrich-H&S Co.

There being a delay between our salad and main meal being served, due to a number of other dinners being served at the same time, President Ray Mosser announced that a number of cancellations were received from Werner Ortman and Vincent Ricci for unavoidable reasons and Chester Nolen due to wife contacting Pneumonia. Had they attended we would have had 12 more in attendance.

Also a note from Jerry Bush saying she has been fairly well for being 91 years young and wished to be remembered to all. She also said she had received a note from Essie Hilbert that Claude Eaton had passed away in December 2008. A call had also been received by Kriessman's from Gore Kempt, who also is in his early 90's. Adone Lencioni also called stating that due to health they would be unable to attend. Another call from Howard Morris saying he was not sure ifhe could make it again this year but wished everyone well.

A thank you note from Ray Mosser was read by James Carasella, thanking the Society for the Dutch Garden sent to him and daughter, in memory of Doris who passed away last May 2nd

DINNER

Following dinner a presentation of "Building of the Flag" was presented by two members of the "Sojourners Group #76. They began with a brief report as to how and why a flag should be designed to represent the Union as discussed by the early members of the Continental Congress as well as prominent members of the Government at that time.

Their presentation reported that each stripe and each star of the 1st flag represents a state as it was admitted into the Union. They showed the progress of each flag that has represented the United States and which state is represented by which stripe and each star up to the present design of the current flag. They were dressed in typical colonial clothes including the tri-pointed hat.

PROCLAMATION - A Proclamation from Honorable James E. Casorio, Jr., Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was read by James Carasella. This was received after last years reunion for 2008.

INTRODUCTIONS - Head Table - All members by table, Company & Guests.

TREASURERS REPORT - The Treasurers report was read by Ray Mosser. It is as follows:

April 30, 2008 to April 30, 2009

BEGINNING BALANCE $ 2986.26

RECEIPTS

Dues.... . . .. $ 60.00

4 Cap Sales excess from mailing... 12.39

Donations.. 265.00

Balance from Eisenhower Inn... 17937

TOTAL RECEIPTS .

BALANCE .

516.76 3503.02

DISBURSEMENTS

Cash for Reunion...... 800.00

Charles Kriessman,2 Issues-Diecast............... 200.00

Ray Mosser, Flowers, Direct Calls, Wreaths .. ... 148.40

Donation (Mae Graybill, Rosie, Speaker).......... 100.00

TOTAL DISBURSEMENTS .

ENDING BALANCE .

$ 1219.48 $ 2283.54

.LONGEST TRAVELER -- Don Ulbrich, Detroit, MI.

ROLL CALL H&S

A CO. 2

B CO 1

C CO 4

MEDICS o

TOTAL ATTENDANCE 8 Members 34 Guests

ELECTIONS; A motion was made, seconded and passed that the current officers be elected for a term of three years.

PRESIDENT Ray Mosser

SECRETARY Charles Kriessman

TREASURER Ray Mosser

CHAPLAIN Donald Ulbrich

Site for 2010 REUNION will also be LANCASTER. April 30, May 1,2,2010.

REUNION SITE FOR 2011 - HARRISBURG - April 29, 30, May 1, 2011.

DONATIONS RECEIVED FROM: Franklin Stitzman

MOMENT OF SILENCE for departed brothers, MARION PICKLE, H & S CO., NORMAN EOUTE, B CO., LEMONT EWY, (No record of his company), and CLAUDE EATON, A CO.

CLOSED BY SINGING GOD BLESS AMERICA

GUESTS ATTENDING THE REUNION WERE: (Carasella Guests)- Rose Carasella, Georgia & Robert Martin, Denise & Richard Carasella, Courtney, Chad and Kaya Griddle, Mary Carasella, Bobbie & John Carasella, Marty & Jim Carasella. (Carre Guests)- Joyce Carre, Lauren & Mark Carre. (Kriessman Guest)- Rose Mary Kriessman. (Mosser Guests)- Kim & Matthew Stumpf (Guests with Mae Stafford)Karen & Edwin Stafford, Erin & Glenn Stafford. Brenda Hartman, Joyce Dyson, (Stitzman Guests)- Evelyn Stitzman, Candice & Michael Duley, Sue Snell. (Ulbrich Guests)- Carol & Bill Schafer. The speakers were Ray Vaughn & Chester Brown.

I hope I have all the guests listed correctly. You all help make our reunions great and we are glad to have all of you. Hope to see all of you next year.

The Hotel conditions should be better next year following all the construction taking place there.

PLEASE CONTACT CHARLES KRIESSMAN OR RAY MOSSER ON YOUR NEWS AND ESPECIALLY ANY ADDRESS CHANGES.

Top Row: Ray Mosser, John Dawton, Clarence Cochran, Donald Ulbrich James Carasella

Bottom Row: Theodore Carre, Franklin Stillman, Charles Kriessman

HEADQUARTERS

258TH ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION APO 562, U. S. ARMY

8 December 1945

SUBJECT:

TO

~History of organization. The Adjutant General, Washington 25, D. C.

Channels

THRU

In accordance with AR 345-105, as amended, the following history of this organization is compiled:

1. Original Unit.

a. Designation: 258th Engineer Combat Battalion.

b. Date of Organization: Activated 20 November 1943.

--,-

c. Place of Organization: Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

d. Authority for Organization: Letter, Headquarters, Third Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, File: AG 320.2 Engineer, GNMCC-S, subject: Organization of Engineer Unites in November 1943, dated 22 October 1943.

e. Sources from which personnel were obtained: Original Officer Cadre from Officers Cadre Course, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Original Enlisted Cadre from 157th Engineer Combat Battalion, Camp Maxey, Texas.

2. Activated under 1st Headquarters, Third Army, Special Troops, 20 November 1943 and assigned to 1101st Engineer Combat Group, Third Army and organized under T/O & E 5-15, 16, 17, dated 15 July 1943. Assigned 1150th Engineer Combat Group, Third Army, 12 December 1943. Assigned 1150th Engineer Combat Group, IX Corps, Second Army, 28 December 1943.

Reorganized 4.April 1944 according to 1/0 & E 5-15, 16, 17, dated 13 March 1944. Assigned 1155th Engineer Combat Group, IX Corps, Second Army, 15 September 1944. Assigned Ninth Army, 3 October 1944.

Attached XVI Corps, 31 October 1944.

Assigned U. K. Base, 9 November 1944.

Assigned Ninth Army, 21 November 1944.

Assigned 1150th Engineer Combat Group, 21 November 1944. Assigned to Twelfth Army Group, 21 November 1944.

Reorganized according to C-l, dated 2 August 1944, to T/O & E 5-15, 16, 17 dated

13 March 1944; 1 December 1944.

Assigned to 1146th Engineer Combat Group, Ninth Army, 4 January 1945. Attached to XVI Corps, 1 February 1945.

Attached to 1146th Engineer Combat Group, 2 February 1945. Attached to 1153rd Engineer Combat Group, 8 February 1945. Attached to 1103rd Engineer Combat Group, 30 May 1945. Assigned to Chanor Base Section, 21 July 1945.

Assigned for Operations to 347th Engineer General Service Regiment, 21 July 1945. Assigned for Operations to Engineer Operations, Group "An, 25 August 1945. Organization became inactive, effective 2400, 8 December 1945.

3. Strength, commissioned and enlisted:

(Reported in summary form in this edition; for period of overseas

assignment as of first of each month)

Commissioned Officers 17 34

Warrent Officers 1 3

Enlisted Men 288 - 618

UNIT Bn

BN

Bn Hq A Co B Co C Co Bn Hq A Co B Co C Co C Co Bn Hq ACo B Co C Co

Bn Hq & Bn Hq,A

C co B Co

Bn Hq,A & B Co

4. Stations of Unite and parts thereof:

PLACE

Bivouac, 1 mi SE Fry, France , MV 515217, sheet #4, NW Eur,

~ 1:250,000

Bivouac, 1/4 mi E. Cambrai, Fr. Castle Nieuwberg, Gulpen, Holland Bocholtz, Holland

Bocholtz, Holland

Gulpen, Holland

Broeksittard, Holland Hillensberg, Germany

Merkelbeek, Holland

Waldenrath, Germany

Jabeek, Holland

Ratheim, Germany

Ratheim, Germany

Hilfarth, Germany

Huckelhoven, Germany

Bn Swalmen, Holland

Co Stevensweert, Holland

Eiland, Holland

Bivouac, 2 mi SW Alpen, Germany VA-142305, CSGS 4507, Sheet 17 1:250,000

6-1/2 mi NE Issum, Germany, VA-

1630

BN Hq,C Co 2 mi SE Fredricksfeld, Germany A [, B Co Hunxe, Germany

Bn Hq, C Co 1 mi S. Buhl, Germany

Bn Hq, A & 2 mi S. Kirchellen, Germany B Co

C Co

C Co Bn

Bn Hq A Co B Co CCo Bn Hq C Co A Co. C Co C Co Bn

Bn Hq A Co B Co C Co B Co Bn Hq Bn

Bn

Bn

Bn

Bn

2 mi SW Holthausen, Germany Zweckel, Germany

Zweckel, Germany

Doraten, Germany

Drewer, Germany Recklinghausen, Germany Recklinghausen, Germany Ickern, Germany

Datteln, Germany Recklinghausen, Germany Werne, Germany

Wiedenbruck, Germany Sundern, Germany

Amecke, Germany

Me.'schede, Germany

Hachen, Germany

1 mi S Korbecke, Germany Korbecke, Germany

Near Liege, Belgium Cambrai, France

Camp Old Gold, France Ath, Belgium

Camp Philip morris, France

2

ARRIVED 31 Dec 44

4 Jan 45 5 Jan 45 5 Jan 45 5 Jan 45 S Jan 45 3 Feb 45 9 Feb 45 9 Feb 45 9 Feb 45

II Feb 45 2 Mar 45 2 Mar 45 2 Mar 45 2 Mar 45 3 Mar 45 7 Mar 45

7 Mar 45 20 Mar 45

20 Mar 45

27 Mar 45 27 Mar 45 28 Mar 45 29 Mar 45

29 Mar 45 30 Mar 45 4 Apr 45 4 Apr 45 4 Apr 45 4 Apr 45 5 Apr 45 6 Apr 45 8 Apr 45 8 Apr 45

U Apr 45 15 Apr 45 26 Apr 45 26 Apr 45 26 Apr 45 26 Apr 45

4 Jun 45 7 Jun 45 l2 Jun 45 13 Jun 45 14 Jun 45 15 Jul 45 27 Aug 45

DEPARTED 4 Jan. 45

5 Jan 45 3 Feb 45 9 Feb 45 9 Feb.45 9 Feb 45 2 Mar 45

28 Feb 45 2 Mar 45

II Feb 45 2 Mar 45 3 Mar 45 3 Mar 45 3 Mar 45 3 Mar 45 7 Mar 45

20 Mar 45

20 Mar 45 26 Mar 4S

26 Mar 45

28 Mar 45 29 Mar 45 29 Mar 45 30 Mar 45

30 Mar 45 4 Apr 45 5 Apr 45 8 Apr 45

l5 Apr 45 6 Apr 45 15 Apr 45

8 Apr 45 15 Apr 45 11 Apr 45 15 Apr 45 26 Apr 45

7 Jun 45 12 Jun 45

4 Jun 45 12 Jun 45 12 Jun 45 12 Jun 45 13 Jun 45 14 Jun 45 15 Jun 45 27 Aug 45

8 Dec 45

5. Marches: None, other than motor marches involved in changes of station mentioned in paragraph 4.

6. Campaigns:

a. (1) Name: Rhineland campaign.

".

(2) Duration: 15 September 194~to 21 March 1945.

(3) Authorization: Letter, Headquarters ETOUSA, AG 200.6, OPGA, 26 June 194t.

b. (1) Name: Central Europe Campaign

(2) Duration: 22 March 1945 to 9 May 1945.

(3) Authorization: Letter, Headquarters, USFET, AG 200.6, OPGA, 4 July 19~.

7. Battles.

a. (1) Name: (2) Place: (3) Date:

Roer River Initial Crossing.

Roer River, Hillfarth, Germany. 23 February 1945.

(4) Campaign of which Battle was a part: Rhineland campaign. (5) Forces engaged: XVI Corps

(6) Result: Our mission was to support attack by bridge construction, anti-mine, and barge boom construction, mine clearing, and road maintenance in area bounded by Sittard (K-6B69), Heinsberg (K-8575) Amstenrade (K-7362), Sittard (K-6B69) (Coordinates refer to Maps; Heerlen, sheet 59, 1:250,000; Hersegenrath, sheet 5102, 1:250,000; GEGS 4041, sheet 48, north and south, and GSGS 4414, sheets

#4902 and #5002, 1:250,000). All missions successfully accomplished and the organization had no battle casualties, and one nonbattle casualty.

b. (1) Name: Rhine River Assult Crossing.

(2) Place: Rhine River, 1 mile of the river front, approximately 5 miles

south of Wesel, Germany.

(3) Date: 24 March 1945

(4) Campaign of which Battle was a part: Central Europe campaign. (5) Forces engaged: XVI Corps

(6) Result: The mission of this organization was to support the attack of the 30th Infantry Division, carry Infantry troops across the Rhine in Storm and Assault Boats, and to take full charge of beach operations. Mission successfully accomplished. Total of 19 battle casualties and 28 non-battle casualties.

*c. (1) Name: Ruhr Valley Encirclement

(2) Place: Northern Ruhr Valley, Germany. (3) Date: 27 March - 10 April 1945.

(4) Campaign of which battle was a part: Central Europe. (5) Forces engaged: XVI Corps

(6) Result~ Our mission initially to support 75th Division by constructcanal and river crossings, remove road obstacles; thereafter mine removal and road maintenance; missions successfully accomplished.

8. Commanding Officers in important engagements:

a. Roer River Crossing: Lt. Col. ADRIAN H. WILLIAMS

b. Rhine River Crossing: Lt. Col. ADRIAN H. WILLIAMS

*c. Ruhr Valley Encirclement: Lt. Col. ADRIAN H. WILLIAMS

3

9. Losses in Action; Officers and EM,
a. (1) Engagement: Rhine River Crossing
(2) Names, type of casualty, and date:
RANK NAt1£: ASN TYPE DATE
TEC 4 Troy C. Carter 33 661 194 LWA 2 Mar 45
Tee 5 Joseph Valenti, Jr. 34 799 758 LWA 23 Mar 45
PFC Earnest Baker 33 767 655 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pvt Paul J. Banik 33 767 723 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pfc Van E. Wagnon 38 547 108 LWA 24 Mar 45
Tee 5 Robert T. Strayer 33 767 603 KIA 24 Mar 45
Sgt Paul J. Eberle, Jr. 35 579 171 DOW 25 Mar 45
PFC Anthony Piontek 33 836 221 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pfc Frank S. De Amicis, Jr. 31 390 415 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pfe Albert V. Cimerelli 33 800 031 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pfc Bernard F. Luby 32 886 535 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pfc Robert L. Felthouse 36 453 356 LWA 24 Mar 45
Tec 5 Delbert L. Selleck 36 574 250 LIA 24 Mar 45
1st Lt Clyde L. Harlow, Jr. 01 040 731 LWA 24 Mar 45
Tec 4 Joseph S. Bodnar 35 050 204 LIA 24 friar 45
Pfc Matthias Howel 35 051 412 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pfe Harris A. Gould 34 737 064 KIA 24 Mar 45
Pfc Alex Charnow 32 823 187 LWA 24 Mar 45
Pvt Reese Downing 34 544 86100 LWA 24 Mar 45
*Capt. Henry G. Froelich o 904 179 LWA 24 Mar 45
10. Former and present members who have distinguished themselves in action. a. Rhine River Initial Crossing.

(1) Corporal Jerold D. Brantley 34 923 768, and Private Frank Buscaglia 33 809 853, both of Company B, 258th Engineer Combat Battalion, were awarded the Silver Star for heroic action on 24 March 1945 in Germany. Corporal Brantley and Pvt Buscaglia were operating a storm boat returning to the friendly shore of the Rhine River, following crossing of assault wave. When they heard a call for help from downstream,near enemy shore, with complete disregard for their own safety, they returned under enemy fire and rescued another boat crew whose stalled craft had drifted into enemy controlled water. Their gallant action and intrepidity saved the lives of

the two men at the peril of their own.

(2) Captain HENRY G. FROELICH 0 904 179 CE, was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in connection with military operations against enemy on 24 March 1945 in Germany. Capt FROELICH voluntarily

placed himself in a position of extreme danger on the beach to direct the guides and motor boat operators to their proper places.

He continuously exposed himself to enemy fire and refused to take advantage of foxholes or other cover so that he might better perform his duties.

(3) Private Simon Friedman 12 110 690, with complete disregard for his personal safety and while under intense enemy fire jumped overboard from a storm boat to rescue a soldier who had been thrown into the stream. After rescuing his comrade Pvt Friedman returned the craft to safety. Awarded Bronze Star.

(4) Lieutenant Colonel ADRIAN H. WILLIAMS 0 233 204 CE, for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy from 5 March to 25 March 1945 in Holland and Germany. Awarde( Bronze Star.

4

(5) Majo~ MARVIN G. KEMP 0 379 223 CE, fo~ me~itorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy from 23 Feb~uary 1945 to 4 Har'ch 1945 in Holland and Germany. Awa~ded Bronze Star.

, (6) Captain JAMES H. PRESSLER 01 110 198 CE, for meritorious service in connection with miljtary operations against the enemy from 5 March 1945 to 20 March 1945, in Holland and Germany. Awarded Bronze Star.

(7) Tec 5 Robert T. Strayer 33 767 603, for heroic achievement in connection with military ope~ations against the enemy on 23 and 24 Ma~ch 1945 in Germany. With complete dis~ega~d for his personal safety he volunta~ily led his comrades to a loading site on the West bank of the Rhine. Unde~ constant heavy enemy fi~e this fearless soldier executed his duties ~apidly and with distinction until he was killed by a fragment from a bursting shell. Aw~ded the Bronze St~ (posthumously).

(8) Captain (then Fi~st Lieutenant) EDWARD P. MC DONOUGH 01 642 361 CE, for me~itorious achievement and se~vice from 5 March 1945 to 2S Ma~ch 1945 in Holland and Germany. Awa~ded B~onze Sta~.

(9) Majo~ EDWARD M. MADDOCK 0 300 884 CE, for me~ito~ious achievement and se~ice from 5 M~ch to 25 March 1945 in Holland and Germany. Awarded Bronze Star.

(10) Captain JOHN R. CARSON 01 113 134 CE, for me~ito~ious achievement and service from 5 March to 25 March 1945 in Holland and Germany. Awa~ded Bronze Star.

**(11) Captain (rhen First Lieutenant) WILLIAM SPENCER, 01 557 912 CE, for meritorious service and achievement from 5 March 1945 to 25 M~ch 1945 in Holland and Germany. Awa~ded Bronze Star.

(12) Sergeant I~ving Moskowitz 32 239 579, Company c, for meritorious service beyond the call of duty on 24 March 1945 in Germany. He voluntarily remained under artillery and mortar fire on the west bank of the Rhine River after his assigned task was finished and without regard fo~ his own personal safety; dispatched additional waves of Infantry and checked individually ~ve~y man unde~ his supervision as to safety and well being. After all others had ~etired to rest and safety, Sgt. Moskowitz crossed to the east shore several times to guide and di~ect the landings of the other landing craft. Awarded Certificate of Merit.

11. Photographs: None.

FOR THE COMMANDING OFFICER:

Sgd. JAMES L. WEST, JR. 1st Lt. CE Adjutant

*Not included in official report to Adjutant General for unknown ~eason. **Late~ awarded the Silve~ Sta~.

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