Categories
Company I

Brig. Gen. Don Rue Hickman 1918-2005

Brig. Gen. Don Rue Hickman

Brig. Gen. Don Rue Hickman was the original Captain of I-304-76. He’s the Captain they trained with at Camp McCoy before going overseas, and the Captain they first saw battle with going into the Siegfried Line in February of 1945. In March of 1945 Hickman would be transferred up to the 304th Battalion to be replaced as Captain of Company I by then Lt. Donald Katz (who would be promoted to Captain).

The following article appeared in Utah’s Daily Herald September 28, 2005 in honor of Don Rue Hickman after his death.


General Loses Battle With Cancer, Declines Arlington
by Heidi Toth

Retired Brig. Gen. Don Rue Hickman did many memorable things in his life. He was a highly decorated veteran of three wars, he played college basketball and he wrote an autobiography.

But what his daughters loved most about their father was his relationship with their mother. He treated his wife of 53 years like a queen from the day he got married until Saturday September 24, 2005, when he died of cancer. Watching that made his four children realize how important their mother was.

DeAnn Giles, Mary Higbee, Pamela Norris and Judy Clark all returned to Provo and gathered with family members, including their mother, LoRee Hickman, to remember, honor and say goodbye to their father, who had battled cancer for 11 years. They returned here because Hickman had given up his plot in Arlington National Cemetery so he could be buried in his home state of Utah, close enough to BYU to enjoy the football games.

“He was the most avid BYU fan you could know,” said his grandson, Joseph Higbee.

Hickman also was a great patriot, Clark said. He served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, rising from a drafted private to a general before retiring to Utah. She always remembers her father when she hears Toby Keith’s “American Soldier” on the radio.

“Every time I get to that I think it’s men like him that make it so we can sleep in peace tonight,” she said.

That loyalty stretched to aspects of his life, and his family’s life, as well.

“He wanted us to always sustain our leaders, because they’re doing the very best they can,” Giles said.

“Even if he didn’t agree with them politically, he’d always sustain them,” Norris added.

Despite his years in the military, most of it spent commanding others, Hickman did not bring his military style home with him, Higbee said.

“Even though he was an officer in three wars, he was able to set that aside as a father and be tender and kind and not demanding as he might be with soldiers,” she said.

He also stressed honesty and integrity to his daughters, and helped them to love and learn their heritage. Hickman loved people; Norris said when he was on trips as a general, he would stop at people’s homes who needed help or had contacted him about something.

An interesting thing about her father’s career was that he never planned to be in the military, his daughters said. He planned to coach and teach. Then he was drafted.

“He told himself, ‘You’re going to follow through or fall apart,’ ” Clark said. “He made a decision to be strong.”

Company I Homepage

Categories
Company I Ramblings & Reviews

Memorial Day 2018 – Fort Snelling National Cemetery

In 2018, and for the first time in 35 years, the Fort Snelling National Cemetery placed a flag at every grave for Memorial Day (usually it’s only by request). A total of more than 175,000 flags.

I took a couple pics of family buried there including my Dad, Richard J. Keefe and my Uncles, J. Byrne Keefe and Robert L. Kasmar.

From History.Com

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. 

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. 

Honor. Remember. Never forget.

Categories
Company I

Veterans Day

Here’s to my Dad on Veterans Day.
Richard J. Keefe (1925-1992)
Part of Patton’s 3rd Army in World War II.

And here’s a video I made awhile back honoring the men who served with him in I-304-76.

For more on Company I, check out my website at jimkeefe.com

-Jim Keefe

Categories
Company I

Lieutenant Richard Keefe – Nuremberg, Germany

Lieutenant Richard Keefe
Lieutenant Richard Keefe

After the end of World War II my Dad was stationed in Germany until the fall of 1946 and eventually served as the Headquarters Company Commander, 1st Division, 3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry. A point of distinction was that this put him in command for a time of the motor pool for the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials.

Here’s an excerpt from a letter home to his sister Pat from April 1946.


    I think I told you I am now commanding officer of the Court House Motor Pool.

    I have so much property it isn’t funny. I am signed for over 200 vehicles. Everything from 4 ton wreckers worth $20,000 to Packards, Buicks, Fords, Jeeps, 2 1/2 ton trucks, 100 civilian box’s making over 300 vehicles. I’m waiting for me to mess things up and then it will be a toss up to see if Goering or I get hung 1st.

    Sunday I went through the prison. All information about it is so secret so I will stop here. It was very interesting and after it is all over I’ll tell you about it. No press men or correspondents can get near the Place.

    We are very short of officers in the Battalion now and are kept very busy. I’ll close now as Johnson just came in from the Grand Hotel and is talking to me so I can’t concentrate.

    Love to All,
    Dick

line

The folowing are picture found on the internet of Nurenburg circa 1946.
Note: Pictures are linked to their source when called for.

Grand Hotel - Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946.
Grand Hotel – Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946.

The Palace of Justice on Fürther Strasse - East wing.
The Palace of Justice on Fürther Strasse – East wing.

Prison cell block, Nuremberg, 1946
Prison cell block, Nuremberg, 1946

The Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials

Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials - 1946
Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials – 1946

The Palace of Justice in Nuremberg on the day the judgement of the International Military Tribunal was handed down. Nuremberg, Germany, October 1, 1946.
The Palace of Justice in Nuremberg on the day the judgement of the International Military Tribunal was handed down. Nuremberg, Germany, October 1, 1946.


The following are videos that were taken about a year earlier than the timeframe my Dad served in the 1st Division. As Nuremberg was considered the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi Party, hosting the Party’s annual propaganda rallies, it was considered a fitting place to hold the war trials and mark the Party’s symbolic demise.


Categories
Company I

Schmölln, Germany – Then and Now


The following are pictures of Schmölln, Germany, a town my Dad’s Infantry Company occupied in the waning days of World War II. The pictures from July of 1945 are from the photo album of Donald Katz, the Captain of Company I-304-76. The pictures from 2010 are from my nephew Dave Keefe, a US Marine who visited the town to honor his grandfather’s service in the War.

Note: Click on pics to see larger.

02
01
04
03

The last two pics are of the mess hall. Here’s a close up shot with 1st Lieutenant Richard Keefe on the left (my Dad) and 2nd Lt. Jay Hamilton on the right.

18

The lettering on the window states “International Casino” because their cook was a chinese-american.

Back in 2002 I interviewed Frank Mucedola, the Tech Sergeant for Company I’s 3rd Platoon, and he had this to add.

“I don’t know whether you can read what it says on the window or not but it says “Company I International Casino – Dine and Dance: $65.” The gimmick there was that regulations during that period of time were that the troops, meaning the American troops, could not fraternize with German women, or fraternize period, with any Germans – of course most of them were German women. Now, if you got caught fraternizing it cost you one month’s pay. Now the basic pay in those days for the private was 65 bucks. So my pay in those days was $114, so if I got caught I’d be fined $114. If you’re father got caught and his pay was $200, he got fined $200. So the private, his pay was $65, he got fined $65. So that was the gag “Dine and Dance $65”.


With Germany’s defeat, the German civilians in Schmölln considered themselves relatively fortunate to be in American hands, as towns east of Schmölln that were being overrun by the Russians were being devastated due to the a fierce hatred that existed between the two countries during those war years.

In 2003 the people of Schmölln installed a plaque in remembrance of the Americans who occupied their town that half century ago.

@2003 Charles Themar

For more on the plaque go to:
German City Honors 76th Infantry Division

To end with, here’s a Then and Now pic of Richard Keefe (1945) and his grandson, David Keefe (2007).

dick_dave

To see the artwork of David Keefe, check out davidkeefe.net