The fore portion of the story gleaned from Army files:

Chester (Bud) Saddoris was born October 16, 1910, to Pearl and May Saddoris, who lived in the Lacelle, Iowa area. When he had completed the eighth grade in 1926, as many of the fellows did at that time, he went to work on a farm — this one owned by Dr. C.R. Harkins of Murray, to plant, cultivate, and harvest grain. He operated and did minor repairs on farm machinery including threshers, tractors and seeders. He also tended livestock. Altogether, he had about 14 years experience in farm work.

At the age of 31, five feet four inches tall, weighing 140 pounds, he entered military service, reporting in Des Moines. From there he went to Fort Bliss, Texas and on March 1, 1942, he became a member of the lst Battalion, 604th Coast Artillery. At Fort Bliss Anti-aircraft Training Center, he received his basic training. The following information is taken from a detailed, dated account titled "History of Battalion "B" 604."

After three months of training, on July 20, 1942, the unit was moved by rail to Bayonne, New Jersey and was assigned to the Anti-aircraft Artillery Eastern Defense Command with the primary mission of providing anti-aircraft defense of the New York Region. On September 15, 1943, headquarters closed at Bayonne and reopened at Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York. There was a change of station to Teaneck Armory, West Englewood, New Jersey, and relief from their primary mission January 10, 1944.

On February 7, 1944, the battalion moved by rail to Camp Stewart, Georgia for refresher training and the officers and men received a commendation which read, in part, "At the anti-mechanized range on March 4, 1944, the 604th AAA Gun Bn., commanded by Lt. Leonard Cox, gave a three-fold demonstration of training excellence and skill when the battalion recorded the highest anti-mechanized score at Camp Stewart, and two batteries of the battalion tied in establishing a new record for anti-mechanized hits by a gun battery."

April 20, 1944, to Camp Pickett, Virginia; May 25, moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina; December 26 departed by rail and arrived December 27 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey proceeding from there by rail and ferry to New York Port of Embarkation, Brooklyn Army Base, Brooklyn, New York to board troop transport on January 9, 1945. At sea until January 24, when they reached LeHavre, France, debarked and were taken by truck to Camp Lucky Strike.

On February 5, 1945, the battalion departed Camp Lucky Strike and arrived the same day at Fultot where the battalion occupied billets by battery. While there, the battalion received individual training to prepare for performance of the primary mission, and returned to Fultot March 16. They remained until March 30, when they were trucked to Cambrai, France, where they spent the night of March 30-31. The next overnight, 143 miles distant, was at Maastricht, Holland. The initial destination was changed from Grevenbroich, Germany to Euskirchen, which they reached April 1, having traveled 63 miles.

The primary mission of the battalion was to furnish support and provide reinforcing fires to assist in the attack. At this time, the area known as the "Ruhr Pocket" was forming and this battalion was firing across the Rhine River into that portion of the pocket south of Dusseldorf, Germany.

On April 13, 1945, friendly troops were first reported east of the Rhine River within the right limit of their sector of fire. The last fire of this battalion was at 0915B hours on April 15, 1945, and at 1245B on April 16, a column of friendly tanks and more vehicles were identified moving north along the east bank of the Rhine River within their sectors of fire. The battalion was relieved of its combat mission April 17, 1945, having suffered no casualties!

On April 17, the battalion displaced to Munstereifel, Germany and remained until April 20, when they moved by motor vehicle to Oberwinter, Germany.

Monday, May 7, 1945, papers were signed indicating unconditional surrender of Germany. Tuesday, May 8 VE (Victory in Europe) Day was celebrated! The Allied troops were rightfully jubilant, but even though the war had been won, the peace had to be kept. The German civilians and troops understandably were not of the same frame of mind as the Allies and during the period from April 20 to May 29, 1945, this battalion was assigned the mission of occupying, organizing, securing and enforcing the Military Government with the Kreises of Mayen and Ahrweiler, Germany. Very close liaison was maintained with the American Military Government detachment in both Kreises.

The detailed work of the unit consisted of patrolling the area for civilians violating existing Military Government Regulations; reconnoitering the area for enemy ammunition and explosives, war materiels, billeting facilities for friendly units in the area; and collecting dis­placed persons whose presence in the communities was not desirable. These persons were taken to various Displaced Persons Camps within the Koblenz Regierungsbezirk. Battery A was given the mission of securing the three Rhine River bridges in the vicinity of Remagen, Sinzig and Neiderbreisig. Day and night motorized patrols enforced curfew regulations.

The Battalion had displaced to Niedeimendig, Geiniany on April 24, and located at Wittlich, Germany on May 29. They assumed the administration and guard of the Wittlich Germany Displaced Persons Assembly Camp. During the period from June 1 through June 10, this battalion had the mission of occupying, organizing, securing and enforcing the Military Security Guard of the city of Wittlich and a radius of two kilometers from the center of the city. On June 10 they assumed the Military Security Guard of the entire Kreis.

Day and night motorized patrols were required to cover the Kreis for patrolling the area for civilians violating existing Military Government Regulations, reconnoitering the area for enemy ammunition and explosives, war materiel, and billeting facilities for friendly units in the area. They also were collecting displaced persons whose presence in the communities was not desirable. These persons were taken to various Displaced Persons Camps within the Trier Sub Area.

During a brief ceremony at the American Military Government Headquarters at Wittlich, Germany, the military occupancy of the Kreis was turned over to the French Occupation Forces. At 1200 hours the American flag was lowered, the French colors raised, and on July 12, 1945, the battalion departed Wittlich, and were relieved of its command. From July 10, through August the mission of the battalion was to continue with the redeployment of its troops, locate and transport the winter supply of coal and firewood for corps and Army troops in the southern half of the 7th Army Zone of Occupation, and was relieved of its mission on August 22, 1945. There was a series of moves leading to the battalions' departure from Europe in October, arriving at Staten Island, New York on November 2, 1945.


(Neoma) Meryle Saddoris supplemented Army records with the following:

Bud was good about writing to us but, of course, everything was censored and he was never able to tell us the places where they were, and all that happened. His letters had chunks cut out which contained anything they thought was information we shouldn't be given. I remember receiving one letter that had just one word cut out and it was some little word like "the" or "are," and the letter still made sense. I suppose whoever was responsible for the censorship had to take out something to show he was doing his job, and that was all he could find.

Bud did not come home with the rest of the battalion. He was kept in Germany for what was called "The Year of Occupation," during which time he had the position of guard in a prison, where some of Hitler's top-notch men were incarcerated. One of the prisoners had been a former school teacher and spoke English. He told Bud that, while he didn't agree with Hitler, he had no choice but to be in the military.

Bud came home in January, 1946, and was discharged from Camp Grant, Illinois on January 18, 1946. His separation papers state: Commanded 90 mm anti-aircraft gun. Supervised range section specialists and was responsible for emplacement conduct of fire and fire adjustment while engaging targets. Was familiar with mechanical functioning and tactical use of gun. Was also acquainted with the duties of all members of the gun crew.

Bud was 36 at that time, and on the ship coming home, he was older than the others, and they may have had a tendency to confide in him. He had a conversation with a young Japanese who told him that, although he had been born in the United States, because of the nationality of his parents, they were put in a concentration camp. Their property was taken away from them and I can't say for sure if it was ever returned. This was the treatment of all Japanese after Pearl Harbor. This kid sent us a Christmas card from Hayward, California in 1946, and now, 60 years later, we still exchange Christmas cards. I've never seen the family. We were on a bus tour in California some years ago, but weren't close to that area.

I have a knife Bud brought home. It is about 12" long, with German writing on it. I gave it to Bud's nephew, Gary Saddoris, who had someone interpret what it said. These "swords" were given to each of the young men in Hitler's Army. How Bud got it, I don't know. I assume when they bivouacked in some house, he found it.

Bud's records indicate he was single when he first signed up. We were married in 1941, and he reported for duty in 1942. We had become acquainted after my family moved to the Osceola area and he lived with his brother and sister-in-law, Dick and Alice Saddoris. We became serious about one another, but my teaching contract didn't allow me to be married. I taught two years to fulfill the contract, at which time I could get married without losing my job.

When we were married in 1941, we couldn't afford to buy our own farm, but after Bud came home we bought property on what has since been called "Poverty Ridge." Ours was called the Bud Harris place. It had and still has a stucco house. Bud Harris was selling his property, and through R.K. McGee at the bank and a GI loan, we were able to buy this 80 acres. As years went by, the interstate went through, cutting off the Jensen, Edgington, and Putz land, which was about 175 acres. Again through R. K. McGee, we were able to buy them, and we had approximately 300 acres by the time we sold. Bud was very proud of this.

Bud and I had two girls — Barbara and Mary Lou. I stayed home with them when they were very small, but when Barb was three years old, there was a shortage of teachers. Bud was home and could take care of Mary Lou. We found a reliable sitter for Barb, I fulfilled the requirements for upgrading my certificate, and in 1953, I went back to teaching. I taught 17 years in country school and 19 in town.

The girls are married now and have children of their own. Barbara married Luverne (Butch) Atkinson, who was killed in a car accident in January 1976. She is married now to Jerry Chadwick. Mary Lou (Gull) lives at Newton. She lost her husband to diabetes in December 2006. Each of my girls had three children and each of them had nine grandchildren. So I have six grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. It has been easy to keep track of. Two of the "great-grands" graduate from high school this year, 2008. 19 years in country schools and 17 years in town, I taught a total of 36 years. One of my greatest pleasures was the satisfaction of helping to write what became 13 books on the history of rural schools in Clarke County.

From 1972 to 1992, Bud's Army buddies had reunions. It had been about 25 years since these guys came home, and they had strong memories of what they had been through during the four years when they were together. Twenty or 30 couples attended when we began having them. Our first reunion was at Minneapolis. We were there three days, and on Saturday night we had a banquet. All of us ladies had prepared for the occasion and wore long dresses. Through the years, we met twice in Minnesota, once in each Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and New York. One of the couples hosted each year. Bud and I were hosts in Iowa when we met in Des Moines in a motel across from the airport. It is no longer there.

In 1976, we had a reunion in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the home of Captain Keeley. He was a little short fellow, with very long arms in proportion to the rest of his body. He had served in WWI, so he didn't accompany the guys overseas, but he had been with them prior to their leaving and saw them off. The fellows thought a lot of him, and prepared for this reunion by taking whatever part of their uniforms they still had. One fellow, the cook, only had his cook's hat. Bud had everything but his shoes, which he had worn out. The uniform fit fine with a little adjustment I made in the seat. When the fellows surprised the Captain by showing up in those clothes, he told them they were a raggedy looking bunch when he first met them and that is the way they looked then.

When we went to pay for our lodging, after a wonderful time with him, we discovered he had picked up the bill for all the men! The story has a sad ending. Captain Keeley owned a factory that produced gaskets. He also had a farm. Sometime in the '80s, he was attempting to burn off a vine that was growing on the farm, got tangled in it and died.

We made such close friendships through attending the reunions, that after Bud died in 1993, I continued to attend. One of girls went with me when it was in St. Jo, Missouri; both girls went with me when I went to one at Hannibul, Missouri. We finally quit having them in the 90s.

Bud died of cancer. He'd had a prostate operation in 1985, and they found cancer cells then, but they were dead. All through '92 and '93, he was in and out of the hospital, and had so much pain in his back. He went into the hospital May 3rd and he was there until he passed away May 22nd. They had taken bone marrow tests and told me the cancer had gone up the backbone —not inside but on the outside. That was the reason for his horrible pain. He had literally lost all movement from his waist down. As hard as it was to lose him, his future would have been nursing home care and continued pain. To me there are some things worse than death.

After Bud passed away, one of his buddies from Kansas, who passed away a few years ago, told me that when he was in the quartermaster corps and issued articles of clothing, he always made sure Bud had what he needed. That and other evidence told me that Bud had a good reputation with his associates. It made me laugh when I was told they even had him typing. He hadn't ever operated a typewriter in his life.

I continue to live in my own home in Osceola. I have dropped some of my activities, but I still go to the Historical Society to take a turn at being the attendant on Wednesdays during the months we are open, May through September. I go to Bible study on Thursday mornings and a hair appointment that afternoon. I find many things to occupy my time. I am never doing nothing. Even if I am watching television, I have embroidery or something to do with my hands. That is my preference.



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Last Revised June 8, 2015