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glen blasingim

160th Engineer Combat Battalion WW II ( new member)

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Hello,

 

My Dad is Edwin N. Blasingim, First Sgt., 160th Engineer Combat Battalion, Company B. He went into and out of Europe with the 160th. I don't have a great deal of information. I have his battalion book, his accounts of the war and some pictures. I will be posting most of what I have and would love to hear from people with an interest in the 160th.

 

Glen Blasingim

 

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It's great to have you here. Sorry I have been a bit remiss this week, but I am in the middle of publishing my first children's book this week, so have been totally tied up in the project. So excited.

 

I look forward to talking with you. Love the pic!

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Ah Glen, hope you have performed a search on the forum, for we do have several topics of discussion right here. YEAH! This should get you off to a decent start. :pdt12:

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I'm looking forward to seeing what transpires between you and Wayne Nichols. So very cool!

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Photos

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Wayne sent his thanks for the picture of his uncle, Robert L. Nichols. The man on the dance floor with the number 2 written on the picture is his uncle but the other picture of the three men with the 160th sign was not. These pictures were taken at a first anniversary celebration of the 160th Engineer Combat Battalion. I am not positive but I believe that this celebration took place at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Notice that the picture has a stamp in the lower left corner that is an Army Signal Corps stamp. The picture has good detail and will stand some cropping to identify some of the other dancers. This picture came to my Dad by way of his friend, Oscar G. Anderson. O.G. was obviously a friend of Robert L. Nichols too. Dad received these pictures some years ago when O.G. passed away. He was a good friend of my Dad and his wife Lucille sent them to him. I am not sure about the time and place of this first anniversary celebration. I would like some input from anyone who has pictures taken at this event or knows for sure when the160th was avtivated. Can anyone identify any of the other dancers or the three men by the sign? Thanks for the support and encouragement from Marion and the other members. Hope this is interesting to someone with 160th ties.

 

Glen Blasingim

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This picture was taken at the 160th's first anniversary also. It has a lot of the brass from the battalion, I would like to know anything that anyone knows about these guys, where or when this picture was taken. It appears that all are having a great celebration and the 160th is off to a good start.

 

 

 

1 Frank B. Snodgrass,1stLt.,Hdq Bowling Green, Ky

2 Louis Leaf,Lt.Col.,Hdq Chicago, Illinois

3 Archie S. Mayes,Maj.,Hdq Warrensburg, Mo

4 Robert W. Hartwick,1stLt.,Co B Pittsburg, Penn

5 Thomas L. Howard,Maj.,Hdq Boston, Mass

6 John J. Maloney,1stLt.,Hdq Old Forge, Penn

 

 

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AWESOME!!!!

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I have recently learned that the 160th Engineer Combat Battalion was formed at Fort Meade, Maryland on April 27, 1943. The full battalion consisted of 638 men. If the first anniversary celebration was held on April 27, 1944 then it would have been held at Camp Rucker, Alabama. The first picture is of eleven men taken at that celebration. I have no names and would appreciate any information that anyone could share. The second picture talks to me. The way that I see it, Private Irvin Krum is a long ways from his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These two ladies are enjoying pulling this shy homesick soldier out of his shell. He will remember this event for a long time. Private First Class Krum will later be awarded the Purple Heart in Europe. I believe that is all of the pictures that I have from this first anniversary celebration.

 

Glen Blasingim

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Makes me smile!!!!!

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This is a picture of a schoolhouse that Dad remembers staying in just north of Thionville, close to the Luxembourg border. There were about 75 men staying in the upstairs, no furniture, but they found a couple of bails of straw and used it to pad their bedrolls. It was November 1944, very rainy, lots of mud, and the men were glad to have a dry place to stay for a change. A French family lived downstairs. Their son was gone someplace fighting with the resistance ( Dad said that the 160th often gave rations to the French fighters, let them in their chow lines when they had them, and sometimes gave them clothes ). The family had a special wine stash that they were saving for a celebration when their son returned, but they served it to the men that were staying upstairs instead. Our artillery was a short ways behind the school and they fired all night every night. The gun explosions and screaming shells made it difficult for the 160th to sleep, mostly because the men could not hear the incoming for the noise our own guns made. This made them very nervous, especially after their long stay across from Metz with the shellings they took every day. Dad said they were able to bunk in the school house for two or three weeks. My Dad is the soldier just above the spare tire, the women and child are part of the family downstairs and the other two soldiers are unknown to me, but from the 160th. Notice the hook on the front of the jeep.

 

Glen Blasingim

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Glen, welcome aboard! You do have some interesting stories there. I was curious to see what the story is about "Olive's Old Man" on the side of the Jeep but that one may be lost to time, I guess.

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Very interesting story. Love the fact about the S hook on the front of the jeep. Engineers are always so enterprising, aren't they?

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CaptO, I just finished talking to my Dad and he does not remember anything about the " Olive's Old Man " sign painted on the jeep. He said the jeeps were assigned to them but occasionally they would go in for repairs and get swapped. Maybe someone else will recognize the name or have another picture with that jeep in it. Marion, they were, their job was to do what it took and evidently they were pretty good at it. Thanks for that.

 

Glen Blasingim

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I would be surprised if he remembered that unless it was personally tied to him somehow. I know that I would remember few details about my HMMWVs over the years I've been in (and that was no more than 20 years ago!)

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The 160th Engineer Combat Battalion lost twenty four men in its battles across France, Luxembourg, Germany and Austria. Chester P. Rydelski, Pfc. and Joseph S. Rydelski, Pfc. served with my Dad in B Company and are two of them that I especially remember. I had never even seen a picture of them until a few months ago but for years my Dad told me about them. B Company was on the west bank of the Moselle River, across from Metz close to Arnaville, France, attempting to build a  treadway bridge.They were taking an intense artillery barrage that lasted for hours. They were dug in and Dad was sharing a foxhole with Joseph. A ways away a call came out for medics but they were not able to get near because of the shelling. When the medics did get in word spread that it was Chester and it was bad. Men advised Joseph not to come over to him so my Dad and Joseph stayed away. The men thought that an artillery shell had hit a tree not very far away and exploded in air spraying shrapnel. The next day they came and got Joseph and took him back to a field hospital to see his brother. Chester died shortly after that.That happened in September, a few months later in February, every platoon in B company was involved in the assault crossing at Echternach. It was a bloody and costly battle and Joseph did not come back. A few days later Joseph was declared Missing in Action. These pictures of Chester and Joseph had been packed away in an album that had been given to Dad years ago. He was moved when he saw these pictures for the first time and quickly named Chester and Joseph. Dad says that they were good men, good soldiers and good friends. Dad hasn't forgotten these brothers and we haven't either.

Chester and Joseph's other brother, Walter, passed earlier this year, he proudly served his country in World War II in the U.S. Navy.

Robert L. Nichols, Pfc., 160th Engineer Combat Battalion, B Company, gave his life at the Echternach crossing also. His nephew, Wayne, has been searching for information about his Uncle Robert, with Marion's help. Marion has some detailed accounts of that crossing linked to her website.

I cannot post this without thanking Edie and Sue who helped me get in touch with the Rydelski family. They took some risk replying to a strange person asking for help with this and in no time they connected me to the family. They were so kind to take the time and trouble and I thank them.

Glen Blasingim

 

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Memorial page from Battalion Book.

 

 

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List of men From 160th ECB lost in WW 2.

 

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Chester Rydelski, top row, right end, Tennessee maneuvers Winter 1943/44.

 

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Chester Rydelski shaving, Tennessee maneuvers Winter 1943/44.

 

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Joseph Rydelski, Tennessee maneuvers, Winter 1943/44.

 

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Joseph Rydelski, Camp Rucker, Spring 1944.

 

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MIA Memorial, Luxembourg.

 

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Close up of MIA plaque showing Joseph's name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Such a sad story. Was thinking of the brothers' parents. It's awful to lose anyone during the war, but to lose two sons like that.

 

Again, thank you for this account. So many bittersweet memories for your dad to bring back to life.

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Like many of the U.S. Army's Engineer Combat Battalions that were destined for Europe, the 160th went on maneuvers in middle Tennessee. My Dad was from middle Tennessee and he had traveled most of the main roads and knew quite a few people in the area. This area was picked because of its close resemblance to France, Belgium and Germany.The 160th traveled by train from Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont to Nashville, Tennessee in the fall of 1943. At Nashville they formed a convoy and Dad said they went all over Tennessee. Their first assignment was to catalogue bridges. They would drive all the roads, mapping bridge locations, inspecting them for condition and load bearing capabilities and taking pictures for the records. They would occasionally stay in squad tents. Squad tents would sleep 10 and they had a small wood burning stove but they usually stayed in pup tents. When they were someplace that didn't have a blackout they would build a bonfire. The fires were great for warming up and drying clothes but embers would sometimes come down on the canvas pup tents and make small holes in them that leaked rain. The 160th maneuvered all over the state, sometimes they would camp for as little as one day. They camped for a few weeks close to Camp Forrest by Tullahoma, they camped in the Manchester area for several weeks of training. They camped at Murfreesboro where they were able to load up in trucks and go to Nashville for R&R on weekends. They spent several weeks at Watertown where they were able to stay in a public building. They ate a lot of rations but often they would be close to a rolling kitchen that would set up close to large concentrations of men and serve hot meals. They had little contact with civilians when they were on maneuvers and they did not eat any food that didn't come from the U.S.Army, except when they were on R&R. The 160th learned to build bridges and roads and to be sufficient with what they carried. They learned to shoot .30 cal and .50 cal machine guns but mostly they toughened up and got used to the cold and the living outdoors. Dad said he thought that conditions on the Tennessee maneuvers were harsher than when they were trying to get across the Rhine. Except that in Tennessee they weren't taking enemy fire.The 160th left Tennessee in the spring and convoyed to Camp Rucker, Alabama. These are a few pictures taken on those maneuvers.

 

Men in the first picture, top row left to right:

Yewey W. Lambert,Pfc. Trenton, Fla.

Roby D. Turner, Tec5 Royboro, N.C.

John F. Terry, Sgt. Rural Hall, N.C.

Joseph W. Bolek,Sgt. Hammond, Ind.

Chester P. Rydelski, Pfc. Erie, Penn.

 

Bottom row, left to right:

Ralph L. Smith,Pfc. Chambersburg, Penn.

Dale E. Miller,Pfc. Pleasantville, Ohio

Harry A. Cannon,Sgt. Nzssa, Ore.

Joseph P. Seuss,Pvt. Pittsburg, Penn.

Paul J. De Micheal, Pfc. Louisville, Ky

Wymer ( Dad sure of this last name, no other information)

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Second picture, B Company camp on maneuvers in Tennessee.

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Edited by glen blasingim

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A few more pictures of the 160th Engineer Combat Battalion on maneuvers in middle Tennessee.

 

First picture, four soldiers, left to right:

unknown

unknown

Joseph P. Seuss,Pvt. Pittsburg,Penn.

Paul S. De Micheal,Pfc. Louisville, Ky.

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Second picture, four with 50cal., left to right:

William J. Campbell, Pfc. Philadelphia,Penn.

Edward J. Dawgiello,Pfc. Pittsburg, Penn.

Thelbert O. Kallam,Sgt. Stonefield,N.C.

Neoda S. Howard,Tech5 Terre Haute, Ind.

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Third picture, two with ,50 cal., left to right:

James P. Guinnessey,Pfc. Louisville, Ky.

Joseph W. Bolek,Sgt. Hammond, Ind.

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Fourth picture:

Thelbert O. Kallam,Sgt. Stonefield, N.C.

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Fifth picture:

Joseph S. Rydelski, Pfc. Erie, Penn.

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Sixth picture:

Chester P. Rydelski, Pfc. Erie, Penn.

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Edited by glen blasingim

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I was in an Army Surplus store the other day and I picked up a couple of shoulder patches that I had seen in pictures of men from the 160th Engineer Combat Battalion. I have not seen this patch in any pictures of my Dad and he does not know what it is. Can anyone tell me something about it?

 

Glen Blasingim

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Edited by glen blasingim

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That's a 3rd Army patch

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