As typed by
Bonnie J. Gleason
The following memoirs are compiled and typed from a large brown
photo album, which my father, Henry A.Biegler had put together
in the last few months of his life in 1986.
I really didn't know he was doing this.
He had gotten cancer and must have had the need to be
sure his progeny had something to remember of him and probably
to know of the sacrifices he had experienced.
He, like many other veterans, didn't talk much of his
service days except to tell of the good times--plenty of them.
You will notice that kind of talk fell off as he got more
involved in the European Theater, and especially after his POW
experience in Germany. I don't remember him ever telling any of that.
I have discovered in the last few years that there are
quite a few “children” who are now trying to locate any and
all of the information we can get our hands on related to our
parents' days in WWII. I'm
sure if I asked, most of them would say, as I have said, “Why
didn't I ask more when he was with us?”
I will keep searching and asking probably until I leave
Lately, I find myself wondering why I seem to be drawn to
this subject. Wars
have always been fought and there have always been victims and
survivors. I think
that may be a reason for my interest.
I think I want to know what it was like to face such
terrible situations and still make it through them.
It seems such a miracle.
Furthermore, my hope is that if we again find ourselves
in the midst of war, there will again be acts of heroism and the
will to survive. It
seems to me that today we are spoiled by an “easy times.”
I want to leave this story for my children and theirs,
and for any others who would remember Hank Biegler, or who have
had their own loved ones go through WWII at the same time.
I'm sure we can never repay them for their sacrifices.
You will probably notice some spelling errors.
I corrected many of them, but in some places, I felt I
should leave things as I had found in the memoirs.
Bonnie (Biegler) Gleason
Feb. 14, 2001
"Corporal Henry Biegler
125th Combat Infantry Regiment
Gilroy -- California Northern
"I think I
was on M.P. Duty this day something that caught up with
me, as well as the other non-commissioned officers, about
twice a month.
enlisted men including other N.C.O. had to be out of the
bars by 11 P.M.--but not the officers--
"There was also a section of town that was off limits to all
military personnel--we always traveled in pairs--visited
all the bars--as well as cleaning out the Red-Light
"One of the benefits
was that just about all the bartenders would offer us a drink.
We of course would respond, for the benefit of the officers at the bar,
'We can't- we are on duty.' They
then would offer an orange pop, and we would agree to this.
What the officers never knew was that the orange pop was laced with vodka
and prepared ahead of time. Made
the duty a little easier.”
these guys were small or I was taller in those days.”
McQuade California near Watsonville,
our nearest hospital--with the exception of Ft. Ord."
(on the back side are the names Hank, Dick and Bill
also the name Geter , I think)
several pages of official notices and separation records...)
"I don't know why I am even starting this writing and I don't know
where it will go. I don't know what
I will say, and I'm afraid it will ramble as things about my youth and family
come to mind.
"Perhaps the main reason for writing this is that I always wished I
knew more about my grandparents on my father's side.
I actually know nothing about my grandfather accept that he owned a
hunting camp in the upper peninsula of Michigan and apparently was lenient about
letting my uncles and my dad spend almost as much time as they wanted hunting
and fishing. I don't recall my dad
telling us whether he got along well with his dad or not.
I assume that for some reason, Dad came out to South Dakota when he was
young, married Mother and went to work in Minneapolis where Bob was born.
Two years later I was born in the same house as my dad in Ishpeming,
“I don't know when we moved back to Revillo, S.D. except that Luella,
Betty, and Warren (Friday) were also born at Revillo.
My earliest recollection is when my dad worked in the Farmer's Elevator
“I warned that this might ramble, and I have to admit, I don't know if
Don Biegler was born in Revillo or Wessington.
I really think Ona Biegler was born in Revillo and Don in Wessington.
"I suppose I could fill pages of the things that helped shape my
life during these years in Revillo, but the first thing that comes to mind is
the hard times--the Dirty Thirties--as they were called, the dust storms that
blocked the sun, the bread and milk (continued
on the next page—BG)