Corporal Henry Biegler Memoirs
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 this world.

            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

Corporal Henry Biegler
Feb. 14, 2001

  Photo:  "Corporal Henry Biegler  3709 6371
  Headquarters Company  
  125th Combat Infantry Regiment
  Gilroy -- California  Northern Calif. Sector

 

"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.

"All 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 District.”

"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.”

Either these guys were small or I was taller in those days
“Either these guys were small or I was taller in those days.”

 

"Camp McQuade California near Watsonville,      our nearest hospital--with the exception of Ft. Ord."

amp McQuade California near Watsonville,      our nearest hospital--with the exception of Ft. Ord

Same three
"Same three"

Same three. on the back side are the names Hank, Dick and Bill  also the name Geter

Same three.
(on the back side are the names Hank, Dick and Bill also the name Geter , I think)
(After 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, Mich. 1919.

            “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 at Revillo.

            “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)