To The Editor:
Thank you so very much for the special issue you devoted to the veterans. It brought back many memories and I regret not seeing the ad you ran asking for pictures and would like to submit the names of those who I remember.
My pop, James Albert Neher, a private, served in World War I, as did his brother, Leroy Pasteur Neher, a lieutenant.
My brother, Frederick James (Jimmy — Boom Boom) Neher enlisted in 1942, NROTC, and my other brother, Thomas Francis Neher, was commissioned in 1952, a 2nd lieutenant.
The year was 1942 and our old home in Washington soon became the focal point for on-leave servicemen to meet during the war. Ones that I remember, some already mentioned, others not remembered were: Ralph Kriete, Army, Harold (Shaky)Kriete, Marine, Fritz Kriete, Navy, (Leo Kriete and Ervin Kriete later enlisted), Woody Woodson, Pacific, Barney Lefmann, Army, Harold (Dobby) Dobsch, Navy, John Palisch, Navy, Russell (Itchy) Pinnell, Navy, Norman Schuenemeyer and -------Schaefferkoetter from Union.
Others who would join us were Emmett Ming, Jerome Lause, Navy, “Pic” Martin, Andy Mohrlock and Howard Bunge, U.S.A.F.
I know there were others I cannot think of now. When home on leave, they would gather at the house and stand around the piano with Mom, Rose Mauntel Neher, playing patriotic songs or other songs of the day, and it was a delight hearing these male voices burst into song, as they gathered around the piano.
At Christmas, those fortunate enough to be home on leave, sang Christmas carols and other holiday songs. These sessions could last two to three hours, taking time out for food, Itchy calling Shorty’s Restaurant for hamburgers and they would deliver them, without charge, and drinking beer. Mom always opened all of the windows in the living room and passers-by would stop to hear the singing, sometimes joining in. No one was ever in a hurry to leave , being at ease with their friends, remembering the good times before the war. The war was left behind and they never mentioned it, nor did we ask questions, for this was a time to forget what they had been through and what they were going back to.
Some of the highlights of these sessions were the stories told, especially by Itchy Pinnell. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and we could laugh for hours at the stor ies he would tell. This was a wonderful bunch of boys and it was always hard to say good-bye, not knowing what might lay ahead.
I was a sophomore in high school and was considered their mascot, little “sis” to many. I received letters from some of them, always wanting to know what was happening at home, asking about others, what they intended to do after the war, trying to be upbeat. I was very surprised when they would write what they were going through and also the fears they had. Their descriptions were so vivid, beyond description. I never showed these letters to anyone, not even my parents.
Others serving were Jack Drace, James Drace, Eldo Frueh, Bill Nickelson, all of Union, Bill Van Vactor, Army sergeant, nurse Bernice Van Vactor, Army, Dave Daughtery and Joe Hellmann.
Thank you for adding these names to the other veterans, who so proudly served their country.