Hanging Out The Warsh — June 18, 2013

The recent death of Charles Schlicker ended one era of old Company B of the l34th Infantry, Nebraska National Guard. So far as I know he was the last of about 100 Falls City area Guardsmen who were called into federal service on Christmas week of l940 when war clouds were on the horizon. It was a full year before the horrific attack on Pearl Harbor. I was a cub reporter for the Journal and remember them, many my friends, sleeping on the Armory floor for a week before marching down Stone Street, led by the FCHS band, and entraining for Camp Robinson, AR. I also remember that the Great Depression was still with us and a good many of them were in Company B, not because they were militarily oriented, but because there were not many jobs and the few bucks they earned as National Guardsmen was their only source of income.

As they marched down Stone, crowds lined the street to give them a good sending off and the Journal reported that around 1,000 family members were at the Missouri Pacific depot to either shed a few tears or friends just to wish them well. On Jan. 8, l94l, they wound up at Camp Robinson, AR, for the year’s training, which increased to five years as they helped win World War II.

Company B moved around the country while training and quite a number of the men who survived the war found opportunities and wives elsewhere after coming home. The Journal has carried their obituaries as they have been provided us.    

Repeating, as nearly as I can determine, Charlie Schlicker was the last in line.

Another report and probably the most accurate account of the origin of “Taps,” which a bugler plays at veterans’ funerals, comes from Dean Podoll, a friend of Louie Fritz’s who lives in LaVista. Louis had sent him the account which I had taken from a Memorial Day program I had attended.

Dean, a Civil War buff who meets with other Civil War buffs, replied to Louie: “The origin of “Taps” and Captain Robert  Ellicombe should be considered a legend. There is no record of any man named Robert Ellicombe holding a commission in the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign. Searches in the Sons of Union Veterans and National Park Service databases did not find any Union Soldier with that name.

“Further research indicates that “Taps” is actually a variation of an earlier bugle call known as the “Scott Tatoo” which was used in the United States from l835 until l860. It was arranged in its present form by Union Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield who commanded the 3rd Brigade of the lst Division of the 5th Army Çorps of the Army of the Potomac….The current  version of “Taps” was played for  the first time in July l862 at Harrison’s Landing in Virginia.”

My thanks to Dean for his well-researched input.

A recent issue of the Omaha World-Herald reported what it costs around the country to undergo a colonoscopy (up to the $5,000 range) and we all know about health care costs so let’s go back to the good old days.

Harlan Zentner, rural Shubert, ran onto the bill his dad, August F. Zentner, had paid to Our Lady of Help Hospital for an appendectomy in October of 1947. Mr. Zentner was in the hospital for seven days at $35 a week. The operating room visit cost $15 and the anaesthetic was $15. Drs. Hustead and Shook split $100 for the surgery and Dr. Ketter got $10 for “operating assistance.” The blood and urine exam cost $3. The total bill was $184. So dream on!

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