Honoring the Memories and Sacrifices

St. Louis Gateway Chapter  •  Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge WWII  •  Saint Louis, Missouri

Newsletter Archive

Memorial Service - Dec 16, 2014

The annual Memorial Service was held at Royale Orleans at 10:00 am on December 16, 2014. President Dave Schroeder opened the service by mentioning that former President Kent Stephens would not be able to attend due to illness and then spoke of the many contributions Kent has made since its founding in 1993.

The guest speaker was Professor John McManus, Professor of History and Political Science at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, with a crowd in excess of 100 in attendance. He eloquently spoke of the hardships and conditions encountered by those who participated in the Battle of the Bulge, which ‘hastened the demise of one of history’s most monstrous tyrannies”. Victory at the Battle of the Bulge happened “because so many of you had the valor and the will to make it happen.”

Secretary Ben Weber then read the names of Gateway Chapter members who passed away in 2014: #133 William Weindell (26th INFD), #471 Phillip McKnight (82nd ARBN), #320 Henry Calbreath (75th INFD), #815 Frances Lautenschlaeger (Associate Member), #664 Leroy Berkel (30th INFD), #4 Firmin R. “Dick” Cotter (26th INFD), #785 Ruth Cox (Associate Member), #253 Joseph McKitrick (84th INFD), and #633 Millie Knize (Associate Member).

Terry Dankel played Taps to close the proceedings.

Gala Christmas Party Dec 16, 2014

The annual Gateway Chapter Christmas gathering at Royale Orleans began shortly after the Memorial Service; starting with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a delicious holiday buffet of beef tenderloin and chicken cordon bleu with all the trimmings.

Certificates of Appreciation were presented by President Dave Schroeder to Guest Speaker John McManus, halftrack owner and operator Rod Stout, Marvin Korte, Clyde Erb, Don Green, and Gene Ganz. An additional certificate will be presented to Kent Stephens, who was unable to attend due to illness.

This year’s guests from the Missouri Veterans Home were George Carper (Tuskegee Airmen), Calvin Kneemiller, (87th Infantry Division), and Jauan Davis (Caregiver). Many thanks to Doris Davis for providing complimentary tickets for these honored guests.

Numerous Pot O’ Gold winners were announced, including six $10 prizes donated by the Ladies’ Auxiliary. Thank you Forrest & Holly and the Royale Orleans staff for once again making this event such a success.

Millie Knize - First President of the Gateway Chapter Ladies Auxiliary

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Auxiliary Member Millie Knize on December 4, 2014. Millie was the first President of the Ladies Auxiliary, serving in that capacity for many years. She also founded the Edward Knize Educational fund, which helped finance the “Everyday Heroes of the Battle of the Bulge” video. Millie was the Editor of this newsletter for seven years before stepping down in 2006.

As an active member of the late Harold Mueller's Educational Speaking Team, Millie visited hundreds of local schools to talk about her experiences on the home front during World War II.

Millie graciously shared her memories in a previous newsletter article: Memories of the Past - Hope for Future Generations

She will be greatly missed.

Veterans Day Luncheon Provided by the Affton Elks - November 2014

For the ninth year in a row, the Affton Elks treated Gateway Chapter members to a complimentary lunch to honor their service during World War II. Those attending the November 11 meeting dined on a hot turkey breast dinner with all the trimmings, followed by cake and coffee. Due to another event in the ‘bingo hall’ area, the November meeting and luncheon were held in the bar area, providing a nice change of scenery as well as complimentary items from the bar.

On behalf of our members, the officers of the Gateway Chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge would like to thank all those from the Affton Elks Lodge # 2635 for their generosity and support throughout the year.

Affton Days Parade - September 2014

A couple of our Chapter members rode in Rod Stout's half-track in the annual Affton Day Parade on September 20. Thanks again to Rod for providing a memorable ride. The halftrack is one of the highlights of the parade for the spectators.

Nice Crowd on Hand for Annual Chapter Picnic - September 2014

The Annual Chapter picnic was held inside the Visitors Center at Jefferson Barracks Park with good weather and a nice turnout. The great food was catered by Nick Lehman, assisted by Sandy Ziggelmeier. Unfortunately the air conditioning in the room was malfunctioning that day so the proceedings wrapped up shortly after bingo and 50-50 drawings were completed. Thanks to Pat Mohrmann for putting together the entertainment program and to Barrett Schroeder for calling the bingo numbers.

Members Participate in "Celebrate Wildwood" - August 2014

Several Gateway Chapter members participated in this year’s “Celebrate Wildwood” event on Saturday, August 23. Dot and Rusty Pendleton served as Grand Marshalls for the parade, while Don Green and Barney Baker rode in Rod Stout’s half-track. They all met with interested event-goers to discuss the Battle of the Bulge and meet members of St Louis Honor Flight, the 82nd Airborne, Wildwood VFW, and Vietnam Vets.

Don Green reported that the crowd for the parade was smaller than last year, but he managed to sell eight books and was given a $10 donation as well. He said it was overall a good day, but he and Barney left around 1:00 pm when it started getting hot (high temperatures near ninety-nine degrees). Thanks to all who participated!

Gateway Chapter Officers

The Gateway Chapter was pleased to announce that Secretary Clyde Erb volunteered to become our new Vice-President, effective at the May meeting. The office of Vice-President had been vacant since Dave Schroeder took over as President when Kent Stephens resigned earlier this year. Assuming Clyde’s duties as Secretary is Ben Weber, who has filled in admirably for Clyde as needed over the past couple of years.

St. Louis Science Center D-Day Event - June 2014

A number of Gateway Chapter members were invited to participate in the 70th Anniversary of D-Day event at the St Louis Science Center on June 6, 2014. The event brought together World War II veterans, reenactors, and a number of local organizations, including the St Louis Chapter of Honor Flight, the Mid-American Chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, and the Missouri Veterans History Project. The highlight of the day was viewing the OmniMax film D-Day: Normandy 1944 in the nearly filled theater. In addition, several Gateway Chapter members were interviewed by local media in advance of the event

World War II Weekend - April 2014

The 28th annual World War II Weekend was held at the Jefferson Barracks Historic Park April 25-27, 2014. Events include the Living History camps, with weapon and gear demonstrations, and battle reenactments, all provided by the 2nd Ranger Battalion of St. Louis, and a military vehicle display put on by the Mid-America chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA). Guided tours of the camps were available on Friday. European Theatre battle reenactments took place on Saturday and on Sunday. Over 500 reenactors with units representing the US, Russian, British, Canadian, Italian, and German forces participated.

Chapter members had a tent near the battlefield reenactments for members to chat with the crowd before and after the battle reenactments.

Long-Time President Kent Stephens Resigns - Jan 2014

Our New Year started out with a shock to all: Kent Stephens, one of the founders of the Gateway Chapter and our president, resigned for health reasons. Kent has been part of the bedrock of our organization for over 20 years. Many thanks to Kent for all the years of faithful service to the Gateway VBOB Chapter! We hope he can stay involved, even if he cannot always be with us.

Our challenge going forward is how to keep this great organization going and growing. At the February officers meeting we decided to send a letter to Associate Members, challenging them to take a more active role in our Chapter. Associate members are needed as future officers, to help with World War II Weekends at Jefferson Barracks, parade participants, and continuing our important and popular educational program. Speaking teams visit schools, churches, and other organizations educating about the historical significance of the battle. A letter will also be sent to all members asking them for their ideas on how we can continue to grow to carry out the mission of the Gateway Chapter.

There is a great article written by Forest Miller, owner of the Royale Orleans, where we have our annual Memorial Service and Christmas Party. In that article he hopes that the Gateway Chapter, his favorite customer, will live forever. Please read the article to see how you, and all of us, can keep momentum going for years to come. View article

Remember to invite a friend, a veteran or a relative to our next meeting.

God Bless America and God Bless our Troops.

Harold Mueller HIghlighted in Retirement Home Publication

Our own Harold Mueller was profiled recently in Southview Assisted Living’s quarterly magazine. We are saddened to report that Harold passed away on November 27, 2013. He was a founding member of the Gateway Chapter and served as our first Treasurer. Harold was also an active member of one of our Educational Speaking Teams, visiting hundreds of local schools over the years. He and Jeanette will be greatly missed. view article (PDF)

Rod Stout - The Man Behind the Half-Track

For the past 8 years, Rod Stout has been involved with carrying Gateway Chapter members in the back of his half-track or inside his Universal Carrier at various parades throughout the area. Rod bought the vehicle in 2005 and put $6,000 into restoring it to near-mint condition. The half-track had seen action in World War II and Korea, has two 30-gallon gas tanks, and gets 2 ½ miles to the gallon.

His vehicle originally was equipped with a set of quad 50-cal machine guns. The machine gun currently on the back has been welded shut so it can’t be fired. The half-track carries 10 passengers in the back and 3 in the cab. It is licensed as a truck. Rod usually participates in approproximately 10 events per year which include parades in Kirkwood, Webster Groves (4th of July), Rock Hill, Affton Days, Eureka, and Florissant (Veterans Day).

Rod also builds custom Formula V race cars (16 since 2000), and his son Brad has won five straight championships racing Formula V.

New Landscaping and Lights Installed at the Bulge Monument - 2013

Renovations to the area around the Battle of the Bulge Monument in Jefferson Barracks Park was completed in 2013. The project consisted of planting 22 boxwood bushes and 160 liriope plants in the space formerly occupied by rose bushes and re-mulching the plantings. In addition, two red bud trees and a red rose bush were planted at the location. The lighting was upgraded as well to eight LED fixtures, a new transformer, and a photocell to turn the lights off at dawn and on at dusk. The new light fixtures are guaranteed for 15 years.

Ben Weber spearheaded this project and worked with MPR Supply for the lighting materials and Dennis Fitzwilliam of Mound City Gardens, who planted the new foliage and installed the lighting. Ben did a great job moving the project along and obtaining approval from the County Parks Department.

Special thanks to the following people for their help and expertise with the project: June Hutson, Missouri Botanical Garden; Tom Ott, Director of St. Louis County Parks; Jan Blassie, Horticulture Specialist; Mugs Michaelree, JB Park Supervisor; Bill Pilger, Gateway Chapter, VBOB.

Gateway Chapter - 2014 Overview