Dow "Shorty" Carlson 722nd Railway Operating Battalion

Thanks to his son , Arttie for sending us this !!

759th Railway Operating Battalion Reunion 2012 : WWII battalion holds 65th reunion in Oberlin

759th Railway Operating Battalion
WWII battalion holds 65th reunion in Oberlin

The 759th Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion, Rail­way Oper­at­ing — a bat­tal­ion that served dur­ing World War II build­ing, sal­vaging, and repair­ing rail­ways in the Euro­pean The­atre — held their 65th annual reunion in Ober­lin over the weekend.
Fam­ily and friends gath­ered with the remain­ing mem­bers of the bat­tal­ion, along with the fam­i­lies of those who have died, for four days at the Ober­lin Inn.
 Over the past 65 years, the reunion has been held in var­i­ous loca­tions across the coun­try includ­ing St. Louis, New York, Wash­ing­ton D.C., Chicago, and Ana­heim. This is the eighth year the group has met in Oberlin.
 “It’s a really nice place for us to stay, they were really accom­mo­dat­ing to our group, and that’s why we wanted to be here,” said Mary Weiler-Noll — of Aurora, Ill. — the event coor­di­na­tor this year. Weiler-Noll’s father started the reunions in 1947.
 “The town is fun. It’s a cute town to go to, and some of the more mobile ones of our group like to troll around the town,” said Weiler-Noll about the city of Oberlin. Of the 1,200 who served with the 759th Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion, only three mem­bers remain. All three attended the reunion. Dozier Wal­lace, 90, of Chester­field S.C., admits his mem­ory wasn’t what it used to be, but does have one dom­i­nant mem­ory of the war. “Going home,” he said with a large smile.
“When we got our dis­charge at 11 o’clock at night, they told us we could spend another night in the bar­racks if we wanted. We told them to go to hell.” Another mem­ber of the bat­tal­ion, George Nies, 90, of Cincin­nati, was a train oper­a­tor while serv­ing in Europe. “We hauled freight, and drove the trains up to the front lines. It was day and night on duty,” he said. “We had some wild rides down those moun­tains (in North Africa). We didn’t have any air, just the engine brake to hold that train back.” While most mem­bers of the 759th didn’t see much action dur­ing the war, Wayne Humphreys — 91, of Boun­ti­ful, Utah — wasn’t as for­tu­nate.
Humphreys was involved in six major bat­tles while serv­ing overseas. “I was shot at by snipers, they missed me twice. I was caught in a mine­field, strafed by Amer­i­cans and strafed by Ger­mans, bombed by Amer­i­cans and bombed by Ger­mans,” he said. Once, after fin­ish­ing his assign­ment in a town in Ger­many, Humphreys stayed the night in a Ger­man hotel. In the mid­dle of the night, he heard some­one beat­ing on his door.
It was the hotel man­ager telling him the Amer­i­cans were on their way to bomb the city, and it would be best if he went down into the base­ment with the rest of the guests. “I walked into a room with a big long table in it and there were about 15 Ger­mans sit­ting around the table. They had a can­dle shin­ing at each end. That light shin­ing didn’t make them look like angels,” Humphreys said. Wor­ried he’d just walked into a trap, Humphreys turned to aim his gun toward those gath­ered around the table. “I opened my mouth to say, ‘Sit still or I’ll shoot,’ and what came out sur­prised me so much I could hardly move. It was, ‘Let’s have a party,’” he said.
The Ger­mans invited Humphreys to sit down with them. The group sat together eat­ing canned peaches and a fruit­cake while bombs exploded overhead. “We had a nice party until the all-clear sounded, and the bombs quit falling. We shook hands, wished each other a good night, and went to bed,” Humphreys said. The reunions not only give the vet­er­ans a chance to share mem­o­ries and old war sto­ries, but also give the fam­i­lies a chance to see a side of fathers, or grand­fa­thers, they didn’t know existed. “Oh, it’s neat.
 It was neater the first time (I came) because there was a lot more mem­bers,” said Ray Nies, who has been com­ing to the reunion for years with his father. “My son always thought his grand­fa­ther was a meek and quiet guy, until one year they had a pic­ture of him wear­ing a coconut bra and a grass skirt. That’s when my son knew they were really related,” he said. Weiler-Noll said its get­ting too hard for the remain­ing mem­bers to make the trip, and after 65 years, this may be the final reunion of the 759th Engi­neer­ing Battalion.