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November 9, 2011     Sentinel Tribune
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November 9, 2011

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE INSIDE Wednesday, November 9, 2011 Page 3 World War II Veterans John Bass and Harold Lohre tell their stories From page I By Tom Merchant Sentinel Tribune The following stories are of two local World War II veterans, their stories and their participation in the final Southwest Minnesota Honor flight. Harold Lohre in 1944 Harold Lohre enlisted in the Navy at seventeen becoming a signal man SPECIAL -- Harold Lohre, a World War II veter- an, was raised on a farm a few miles north of Storden. At the age of 17 Harold, near the end of the war, heard that when he turned 17 he would be drafted. So he decided to enlist in the Navy rather than waiting to be drafted. He was inducted at Minneapolis, and was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training station at Waukegan, IL, just north of Chicago. After about eight weeks of boot camp he and sev- eral others in his group came down with scarlet fever. Lohre said, "I spent about a month in the hospital recovering, and since I was almost done with training they stuck me on guard duty, and I still wasn't com- pletely recovered." When he finally got his orders for training school he took a troop train to San Francisco, and from there he was assigned to a troop ship to go to Hawaii for training at the Navy Signal School. While there he learned to send signals on high powered signal lamps. He learned to send messages using morse code. The lamps had shutters much like venetian blinds and had a handle to open and close them to send code from ship to ship, and ship to shore. "I got pretty good at it, after a while I could send as fast as I could read it," he said. After three months of training, Lohre was shipped to the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, where he was assigned to shore duty on Kwajallen Navy Base. It was on a small island only a mile and a half by a mile and a half in size. It was a stopping point for ships. He worked shifts most of the time, but when they were off duty they didn't have much to do so they often played football to pass the time. He recalled a time when Admiral Nemitz stopped at the base for a short visit. "We were playing football when he drove by, and our football ended up in his Jeep. He stopped and got out of the Jeep and returned the ball to us, and we got to talk to him for a few minutes. He asked us if there was anything we needed, and we told him no, not at the time. He seemed like a really nice guy." Lohre said. When he was on duty he had to crawl up a ladder of 60 or 70 feet to the signal shack to work. "It was a pretty good climb, but I was in pretty good shape back then, although it was a tough climb," he said. Later the ladder was replaced with zig zag stairs to the top. On top of the signal shack was a large beacon light. It could be seen about 12 miles out at sea. It also had a radio for communication. One time an air craft carrier stopped by, and he decided he would like to go aboard and see what it was like. "Before I knew it I realized the ship was moving and headed out to sea. I got someone to call the base, and they sent out a speed boat to pick me up, he said. I was lucky not to get into trouble about it." After peace was declared, Lohre sailed back to Hawaii on an old destroyer that only had one screw working. The trip took two or three days, but the seas were really rough with waves 20 to 30 foot high. "It was a rough ride, but luckily I didn't get sick," he said. He spent a couple weeks in Hawaii before taking a troop ship back to San Francisco, then he took a train back to Minneapolis where he was discharged in 1946. After he returned from the service he married his wife Jean and they farmed until they retired. John Bass Joined the Navy at Eighteen and sailed from the south seas to New York John Bass grew up in Jackson County and gradu- ated from 8th grade in DesMoines River Township in Murray County. About three months after his 18th birthday, in February of 1944, Bass volunteered for the U.S. Navy. He was sent to Farragut, Idaho for six weeks of basic training. After completing training he was sent by train to Treasure Island Navy Base in California at San Francisco. "We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge when we left San Francisco for the Admirality Islands near New Guinea," he said. Bass recalls, "after leaving there we were on a Liberty ship headed for Sydney Australia. On the way there we went through one of the worst storms I had ever seen." After his safe arrival at Sydney he travelled by train to Perth Melbourne. There he boarded an old wooden steam powered vessel that was used in World War I. "I really got my feet wet using my limited training, I actually steered it right away. Although I did have supervisors to tell me what to do," he said. When he returned to port several weeks later he was transferred to another ship, the USS Orion, where again he was assigned duty at the wheel. Later his ship dropped anchor near a group of Islands where they serviced submarines. Bass even served as a bar tender on a barge. "I John Bass in 1944 served officers, and enlisted men, but the enlisted men could only come on board every four days. At that time I had to carry .45 caliber gun, but I never used it," he said. He then got back on the Orion and after a trip back to Hawaii for a short time in dry dock, they headed back to the south seas to the Marianna Islands. While there he and a couple of his shipmates took a rubber raft out to a Japanese ship that was burned up on a coral reef. While there he found the log book written in Japanese. When they headed back to the states, they stopped at Hawaii and then through the Panama canal and headed to New York, where they dropped anchor in the Hudson River. While there president Truman went by in his yacht and inspected the fleet. He then got a 30 day leave and surprised his par- ents. He got back to Slayton late at night and got a ride to the family farm near Dovray in the middle of the night. When I walked into the house I said loudly, "is anyone home, my mother told me dad almost knocked her out of bed," he laughed. After his leave he went back to his ship in New York and ended up in Panama where he became a Carpenters Mate third class. Shortly after that he returned home, and got a job in a plumbing shop in Westbrook. He later bought the shop and operated until he retired at the age of 62. He and his wife Valeeta had five children. Valeeta died in May of 2003. OBITUARY Beverly Engen Funeral services for Beverly Engen were held Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at Highwater Lutheran Church, Lamberton with burial in the church ceme- tery. Pastor Michael Stangeland, officiating. Condolences may be sent via e-mail at: www.sturm- Beverly Engen, age 70 of Lamberton, died Saturday, November 5, 2011, at the Westbrook Good Samaritan Center. Beverly Ann Engen was born July 8, 1 9 4 1, in Windom, MN the daughter of John Richard and Viola (Pankonin) Menken. She graduated from Jeffers High School in 1959 where she was salutatorian, then attended Mankato State University. Beverly was united in marriage to Richard Engen on January 7, 1961, in Jeffers and the couple farmed in Highwater Township. She was a member of Highwater Lutheran Church, the Ladies Aid, and served as the church secretary for several years. Beverly was also a member of a sewing circle and garden club. She enjoyed reading, traveling, gardening, sewing, and crocheting. Beverly also enjoyed win- tering in Las Vegas for 20 years, and especially enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren. Survivors include her husband Richard of Lamberton; daughter Catherine (Tom) Halter, Lamberton; son Kenneth, Lamberton; grandchildren Stephanie Determan and special friend David, Manassas, VA, and Brianna Halter and special friend Kyle, New UIm; great-grandson David Brian Kurtz III; parents John and Viola Menken, Jeffers; sisters LaVonne (All Thomas, Sun Prairie, WI, and Joyce (David) Jorgenson of Jeffers; and many nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death were her grandparents; and daughter Pamela Jean. CLASSIFIED ADS WORK FOR YOU David Buysse funeral Friday David C. Buysse, age 59, of Tracy died Sunday, November 6, 2011at Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD, after an extended illness with pulmonary fibro- sis. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, November 11 at Tracy Lutheran Church. Visitation is from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Thursday at the Tracy Area Funeral Home with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Friday. Interment is in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Tracy. Online condolences may be sent at www.ste- CLASSIFIED ADS WORK Sentinel Tribune available at: Oleson's Mercantile Hoyt Oil & Convenience Bubai Grocery Thrifty White Drug, Maynards Grocery, ExpressWay Shady Drive Inn 2011 Great Gobbler Turkey Winners can pick up their tur- key certificates at the place where their name was drawn. Almlie Funeral Home - Wesley Lindstrom Bank Midwest - Mary Ann Erickson Bubai Food Store - Gloria Jacobs First Avenue Salon - Lairdie Kells Good Samaritan Society - WB - Mrs. Floyd Knuhmuhs Integrity Bank Plus - Marilyn A. Swanson Knakmuhs Agency - Renee Nott Maynards Inc- Eugene Nelson Mike Hass - Pioneer Seed - Viola Dohrer Muske, Muske, & Suhrhoff - Carolyn Benson Sentinel Tribune - Eldora Buchholz Thrifty White Pharmacy - Mary Peters Westbrook Municipal Utilities - Ronald Christensen Frances Joan Theisen funeral Thursday Mass of Christian burial celebrating the life of Frances Joan Theisen, age 90 of Upsala will be 2:00 p.m. Thursday, November 10, 2011 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Upsala. Father Michael Kellogg will offici- ate, burial will take place in the St. Francis parish ceme- tery following the service. Frances died Sunday eve- ning at Mother of Mercy Nursing Home in Albany. There will be a visitation .... from 4-9:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 9 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Upsala, and again from 1:00 p.m. until the time of the service on Thursda at the church. St. Mary's Christian Mothers will pray the rosary at 6:00 p.m. and the St. Mary's parish prayers will take place at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday evening at the church. Springfield Tuesday, November 15th 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. i Presented by Steven J. Franta and Patrick A. Lowther Call (507) 354.2161 to reserve your space today New UIm v Sleepy Eye v Wit