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Jewell County Record

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Commissioners attend multi-county meeting in Tipton

Rural Esbon man recalls years of military service



Commissioners attend multi-county meeting in Tipton
The Jewell County Board met Monday with commissioners Steve Greene, Mark Fleming and Dwight Frost present. Carla Waugh, county clerk, was also present.
Minutes of the May 16 meeting were approved with a correction.
Angela Murray, health nurse, requested the commissioners approval for the school nurse contract with USD 107 for the 2016-2017 school year. The request was approved.
Don Jacobs, sheriff, discussed operations. He said Josh Alcorn, deputy, has graduated from the law enforcement academy.
The commissioners approved the File Safe Agreement for the Lockdown Alert System.
The commissioners telephoned Randy Hofmeier, CPA, to discuss the county budget.
Joel Elkins, general superintendent, reported on road and bridge maintenance. The commissioners reported road concerns.
The meeting was adjourned at 11 a.m. so they could attend the multi-county meeting in Tipton, hosted by Mitchell County. Don Montgomery, Blue Hill Gamebirds, spoke to the group about the daily operations of the hatchery. The group discussed the following topics: tax lid, Mitchell County landfill and hospital bond; Department of Labor inspections; Fair Labor change in salary limitations on exempt status for overtime; accumulated maximum vacation hours allowed.
Smith County reported that a Chevrolet Silverado pickup was purchased for the sanitarian. The next meeting will be in Osborne County on Aug. 22.

Rural Esbon man recalls years in military service
Ted Thummel, rural Esbon, was drafted May 7, 1953, and served in the Armed Forces during the Cold War which ran from 1945 until 1991.
Ted was born and raised in the Dentonia area, graduating from Esbon High School in 1951. After graduation, Ted rented a farm east of Esbon and started farming. Ted's dad, Gregory, took over the farm while Ted was serving his country.
When inducted, Ted boarded a bus in Mankato and was sent to Kansas City, Others from here who left at the same time were Delbert Bird, Esbon, Rex Paul, Burr Oak, Wm. J. Cook, Webber, Melvin L. Hutchison, Jewell, John O. Leece, Formoso, Gordon T. Olson, Mankato, and Bobby Jay Platt, Mankato.
Once inducted, Ted was bused to Camp Crowder in Missouri where he was given his clothes and shots. In addition the Gideons gave each of the men a pocket Bible. He remained at Camp Crowder for two or three days before being bused back to Ft. Riley. While at Ft. Riley, Ted was a member of the 10th Infantry Division of Ft. Riley Company I 87th Infantry. Here he reported to I Company at Camp Funston, which was located on the southeast corner of the fort and had 220 men assigned to it. While at Fort Riley he was to receive 16 weeks of basic training. During the Viet Nam War Camp Funston became a stockade.
While taking basic training Ted was located in three different locations. The middle of June a truce was called in Korea and hostilities quieted down. At this time Ted was eight weeks into basic and he remembers the focus began to change. He was picked to attend leadership school. From his company 40 were chosen for the school and 10 were sent to other bases. He was allow to go home for seven days. Upon his return, he reported to leadership school.
While in leadership school Ted bought a 1946 Chevrolet Coupe and was allowed to go for weekends to help his dad with the farming.
Dec. 7 Ted boarded the streamliner Rocket train and was headed to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Here he was prepared to go overseas and as a member of the advance party.
He was assigned to the USS McCrae, a merchant Marine ship and was shipped to a Norfolk, Va., Air Force Base. His ship was the first ship to leave the harbor. Destination was Liverpool, England. It took 14 days for the ship to reach Liverpool. En route they encountered a hurricane during which the ship listed from front to back. When the waves hit dead center, the ship went 28 degrees.
He recalled, "Four of us, two sergeants, myself, and another guy, laid on the bottom deck floor of the ship with duffle bags, three on each side, and rode the storm out. All the while we played pinochle to keep our minds occupied and off the storm.
From Liverpool, Ted was sent to Brenerhazen, Germany. On arrival the troops got off the boat and onto a train to Goppingen, Germany. Here Ted became acquainted with Zweibrucke, which was the name of an establishment better known as the mess hall.
"When Christmas came, we were fed a complete Christmas dinner at Zweibrucke with all the trimmings and it was great," said Ted.
Ted, as a member of L Company 47th Infantry Regiment 9th Division, remained in this receiving area and waited for his next assignment probably a week.
"New Years' night we were trucked to New Ulm ,Germany where I remained for 15 months," said Ted. "The Cold War was started when the Iron Curtain went up. Troops were to keep the Russians from taking over the rest of Germany, to keep them from advancing further into Germany."
At the Ulm Headquarters, Ted became a member of the first platoon and was assigned to the machine gun section. Ted and his buddy Reed from Michigan were in charge of a Light 130 machine gun that weighed around 32 pounds and was accompanied by a 15 pound tripod.
Jan. 15 was the first day for Ted to go into the field toting his machine gun. They were gone for 10 days on maneuvers, sleeping in pup tents. There were no fires. The weather was cool to very cold. In the low lands, it was cool while in the mountains it was nothing to go to bed and wake up in the morning covered in snow that had fallen during the night. A lot of the mountain area had rain. At the end of the 10-day maneuver, the company would return to the Ulm compound. This was their assignment every day, maneuvers to patrol and watch the Russians. Sometimes it would be 10 days and other times it would be 15 days.
"I never got shot at. There was no fighting, just training. All the time we were on maneuvers so were the Russians. They were doing the same thing as we were," said Ted.
During their stay in Germany, the troops were given periodic furloughs and during those times Ted went on bus tours to Austria, Rome, Switzerland and other places. While overseas, Ted sent home several items including wedding clocks which family members received.
"I got to see three of the largest cathedrals in the world. Had I not been in the service, I would not have had the opportunity to see and do all the things that I got to do. While in Rome ,I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and heard Pope Pius XII. He spoke in 12 different languages that day. Then in Switzerland in the Alps I got to see the St. Bernards, " said Ted.
"While on a maneuver near Luxembourg, Germany we went through a town called Tier, Germany. That town is where my grandmother Carl came from. Once again had I not been in the service I would never have had the opportunity to see the town where my grandmother came from," said Ted.
Along the way Ted received a promotion from private to private first class and his wages advanced from 10 cents an hour to 12 cents. Each month he sent money home.
The USS Butner was Ted's ride home. It took 10 days from the time they left Germany to reach New York, where he saw the Statute of Liberty. The troops were taken to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, and three or four days later on April 24, 1955, Ted was on his way home, back to Esbon, on a bus.
"I left home with a silver dollar and came home with that same silver dollar," said Ted.
Since 1955, Ted hasn't been in contact with many others that served at the same time as he did.
"There was a gentleman by the name of Harold Sage, Dover, Kan., that I met during basic. I have seen him just a few times since we were discharged," said Ted.
Two years ago Ted went on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
"This flight meant a lot to me and I would recommend everyone who has been in the service take this flight if given the opportunity," said Ted.


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