Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Gary Collins
Pine Bluffs Post 

Semper Fidelis

 

This is a caricature drawn by Cpl. William (Legs) Deeton, KIA, Iwo Jima, a member of Eisenhauer's Assault Squad. "He claims I always run around with my eyes closed, so he's drawn it that way." Eisenhauer wrote.

"Dear Mom,

I can't write much now as it is almost time for taps."

"I was looking out the window and I saw Dad runnin' to the house with that telegram. The only time I saw my Dad cry," Poot said.

"The telegraph operator at the depot would get these telegrams and the duty fell to him to deliver them. And, of course, when he came into the garage where Dad was there, boy, I heard Dad just says, 'This is not for me, this is not for me'" Tom said.

"Dear Delby,

I'm sure you will like the Marines better than you would any other branch of the service. It's tough getting used to but it's swell after you do. If they shout and bawl you out the first day, think nothing of it and do as they say. They will lay off you in a day or two."

Betty (Nussbaum) Necklason, a classmate of Howard's in Pine Bluffs, lived for a time with the Eisenhauers. To this day she refers to Mrs. Eisenhauer as mom and thinks of the boys as brothers.

"Mom was always helping somebody," Poot said. "There was always a spare place at the table for people. In fact, we had several kids come and live with us for periods of time, in addition to us. You can imagine more of us added on to it."

"One more didn't make any difference," Howard said.

"The day started out normally. We went to school. Sometime after lunch, Bob came to the 5th grade class and asked for Howard," Betty recalled in a letter to the Post. "They left but I knew something was wrong. When school was let out, I went home. Mom was talking on the phone. I went to her, she pulled me to her side and continued with her call. Just a few minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I looked out the window and there stood two Marines."

From August 23, 1944:

"If I had a bunch of 8-balls in my tent in the 4th bn., I don't know what one would call these that are with me now. There are 5 of us, so it isn't quite as crowded as it used to be in the 4th. Deeton is from Alexandria, Virginia, Disse from Detroit, Bonner from Salt Lake City, and Lippshutz from Chicago.

You'd think the joint was being raided when we all cut loose on an argument."

"There is something about the Marine Corps training, they're big on discipline. But I think that when you go through that and then go into a situation where everybody's got to work together, you don't want to let this guy down or that guy down. And that's the motivation, it's not the flag or the country. Family maybe. It's this guy and this guy. You don't wanna buckle because it's going to cost them," Tom said.

From November 16, 1944:

"Deeton is gone on Liberty, so I am here alone. I find it much easier to write, but I've grown so used to him that, without his clowning around, it is sure different."

From April 12, 1944:

"Do you know which part of the 5th division Leonard Reher is in? He's probably right here at Pendleton, but this is a big camp."

On March 22, 1945 the Pine Bluffs Post printed a letter from Leonard Reher, of Pine Bluffs, to his parents. Reher was wounded on Iwo Jima and his letter was printed one column away from the notice of Eisenhauer's death.

From Reher's letter:

"You probably know by the newspapers and radio where we hit, and what I mean to tell you I never want to hit a rock like that again. . .as much stuff as was flying the first day it was a miracle if you didn't get hit. It was mostly just wondering when and where it was going to get you."

"There weren't many places the Marines could land, as far as the ocean bottom, characteristics and all of that stuff. The Japanese knew where they had to land. They could zero in their mortars, artillery, machine guns, everything right there on the beach," Tom said.

"He was killed the first day, we know that. . .somebody who was with Don the morning of the invasion said that two waves of Marines landed and began to scale this wall and Don was in the third wave, Company A and when they hit the beach, all hell broke loose," Gail said. "Don was killed when they hit the beach or never even made it out of the boat. His death certificate says that he died of a gunshot wound to the left hip."

From November 26, 1944

"We're all sitting around the table, writing. We've a new man in the squad now. Corbin from Lincoln, Nebraska."

June 26, 1944, Pacific Area, from Corbin to the Eisenhauers.

"I deem it a privilege to write to you on behalf of your son Donald. I know how you felt about him, and I only hope I'm not making matters worse by writing this. I knew Ike quite some time. I came to know him rather well in a course of time and especially during the evenings when we had nothing to do except sit around and shoot the breeze. He talked a lot about home and the different things which he used to do, school, work and his social life. He was a great guy, not too outspoken, and easy going. I guess that's why I took to him, the memory still lives with me."

"You know, the one thing that's missing from this whole thing, the most important thing, are Mom's letters to Don," Tom said.

"When I was in quartermaster, after Iwo Jima, and we had to take, probably over a thousand seabags, you guys know what they are, and go through 'em and separate personal items from the military. I was sure hoping I didn't run into Don's, but I didn't," Delbert said. "'Cause his was in there someplace."

On Feb. 17, 1982 Mrs. Eisenhauer wrote to the sister of Franke Disse, a Mrs. Stemmler:

"I am the mother of Donald Eisenhauer who was lost on Iwo Jima the day of the landing. As I looked through the book (The Spearhead) I found that also your Brother, Frank E. Disse, was and also William F. Deeton, John Coyne Jr., and Clyde E Agee. . .My son wrote often and always had spoken of your brother. They were very special friends.

"I still have all of Donald's letters that he wrote home and he talked about your brother Frank. They were really true friends to the end. God knows that war leaves many sad hearts, but we must not forget that they died to protect us and the Bible says, "Greater love hath no man but those who lay down their lives for others.

"I must not tire you with this letter. But this is all I can tell you-we had 6 other boys at home, and they all enlisted when they came of age and joined the Marines and came home safe. They have families of their own now"

From November 12, 1944

"Well, Mom, taps is about to go, so I'd better secure this for now.

Love, Don E.

 

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