November 14, 2002

Current Conflict Reminds Local WWII Veteran Of His Service Time

While the war against terrorism in Afghanistan may no longer be the top story in the news, continued glimpses of the country have had a special meaning for one Scotland County man.

Video images of the caves the U.S. Special Forces have found in the mountains of the Middle East country sparked memories of similar caves that this soldier experienced more than 50 years before in the mountains of the Philippine Islands.

"I saw television coverage of these caves in Afghanistan where the terrorists have been hiding and fighting with our troops and it made me think back to similar caves we ran into during World War II," said Joe Neese, Jr. "I know what it was like back then so it makes me really think about our boys over there today and what they are going through for us."

At the same time, as the country was commemorating Veterans Day, Neese was proud to reflect on the military tradition dating back to his father, and now including his grandson.

Neese, a farmer who lives near Rutledge, served in the United States Army during WWII. He served two years with the 32nd Division, which was engaged in 654 days of combat during the Pacific Campaign.

His time in the army began at Camp Roberts in California. He was drafted into the service along with five others from Scotland County. He went to boot camp with Don Tague, Carson Parrish, John Shibley, Robert Gray and Fracis Swearingen. After graduating from boot camp March 20, 1944 Neese, Parrish and Gray went on to the Pacific while the other trio went to Europe.



Joe Neese, Jr. is a veteran of World War II, serving two years in the Philippines as well as in the occupational army of Japan.


After being shipped over seas Neese's service began in New Guinea. It was here that he lost touch with his two hometown friends as the men were assigned to different companies. Neese continued on to Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines. His travels also involved a transfer as he moved from L Company to become a member of the 128th Recon in Leyte.

It constituted a big change as he shifted to become a member of a 24-man unit responsible for some difficult tasks.

"We spent a lot of time behind enemy lines," Neese said. "We were responsible for checking enemy movements, directing artillery strikes as well as making maps."

As Platoon Sergeant, Neese said he quickly became friends with all the men in the small unit.

"We were all very close to each other," he said. "With the kind of work we did, there was a lot riding on the guys you were going in with so there definitely was a strong bond."

The bond wasn't the only strength that the men had to rely on.

"There were never more than eight men in a patrol so we had to carry a lot of fire power with us," Neese said. "The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and the Tommy Guns were the weapons of choice."

Every day of service was a challenge but Neese said the most difficult task by far was the taking of the Villa Verde Trail, which twisted its way 24 miles from the Lingayen Plain to the mile-high peaks of Luzon's Caraballo Mountains. It proved to be the chosen ground of the Japanese as they dug in to make their last stand in the Philippines.

During this epic battle, Neese and his men traveled all over the mountain gathering information against the enemy and establishing travel routes for U.S. troops. They enlisted the aid of the Igorots, a tribe of mountainmen who befriended the U.S. cause after being terrorized by the Japanese occupation force.

Neese said, while the Igorots were short, they were stocky and were well suited to the labor at hand, often hauling loads of more than 100 pounds on trails that were not fit for an ox cart. While they were often used to pack in essential supplies for the troops, their most precious cargo was often wounded U.S. soldiers who were taken from the front back to the U.S. camps for medical treatment.

It was one of these patient transfers that connected Neese back with Carson Parrish.

"We were preparing to move out on a Recon trip when I heard my name being called out from a line of stretchers being hauled into the camp by the Igorots," Neese said. "I went over and there was Carson Parrish, and it was the first time that I had seen my friend since we had shipped out."

Parrish was by far not the only U.S. soldier injured in the fight for command of the trail. The 32nd Division fought for 119 consecutive days taking control of the region on its way to the Cagayan Valley.

During the Villa Verde Trail fighting 1,985 U.S. soldiers were killed with more than 5,000 soldiers injured. Over that same period more than 28,000 Japanese casualties were recorded during horrific fighting in the Philippines.

The key to the victory on the Villa Verde Trail was when the 128th and the 32nd Recon Troop seized Imugan Village, opening the trail wide open all the way to the Cagayan Valley, basically ending the 100 plus day battle.

Just a few months later as MacArthur was accepting Japanese envoys on the Battleship U.S.S Missouri, the 128th was receiving the surrender of General Yamashita, the Japanese Philippines commander who had become known as the Tiger of Malaysia.

It was on the way to the peace talks that the 32nd Division lost commander Merle H. Howe, the second regimental commander to be killed in action.

Neese said the loss hit home for him as Howe was a well liked leader. After the war Neese corresponded with Howe's son who was seeking information about his father's service time.

He was happy to have been of service to the young man. Yet, Neese expressed gratitude that he was able to pass on his own story to his son and his grandson as well as others who were interested in reading this article.

Chickens

I know some of my articles are typical.  I try to stay in the subject, but my mind does wonder, and sometimes quite a ways off.  Doesn’t yours?

Over the years, I have always had an opportunity to either gather the eggs, feed the chickens, go shut them up at dark, and on and on.  For several years, I had 10-12 chickens for fresh eggs and it was just a way of life.  Usually always got my pullets from Beverly Dieterich, my neighbor and friend.  The name of the breed was Sex Link and they were good layers.

Curtis had chickens for his FFA project in high school, and when he sold some of them, we transported some to our cousin in Livonia.  One day when Kayla was small, her and her good friend Heather were playing here at home and they said they would like to see me kill a chicken.  I had one old hen that was on her last leg (not literally), but old and ill. They were able to get their eyes full and a few laughs as well.

My grandmother used to have chickens at her house, and she said on Sunday morning, she would go to the hen house and kill a chicken for Sunday dinner.  I am sure many of you have done just this. Fresh chicken fried in lard.  Take another high blood pressure and cholesterol pill.

Kayla has not been found of chickens or birds in general.  Although this year, she did have wrens and I think she enjoyed them, and likes hummingbirds. She has recently acquired some chickens of her own.  This is interesting to say the least.  They have had their ups and downs, but are doing ok.  Their family has big plans for the chickens for laying and for eating. It will be exciting when they get their first egg.

Several years ago when the 3rd graders get to participate in hatching chicks, my grandson Josh brought his little black chick home, and I volunteered to raise it in my portable coop.  Blackie spent the summer in my back yard and grew into a good sized chicken. Angela Westhoff, a friend of mine, said she would take it and put it with her chickens.  Well. Blackie ended up to be a rooster and went straight to the sale barn.

I don’t personally want chickens now, but I do love to see chickens in a country yard pecking away for bugs and worms.  Their gentle song makes it sound so peaceful on the farm.  Over the years, there have many chicken stories, from my pet chicken at my mom’s to me taking the gun to a coyote heading for my chicken lot at high noon.  I am sure many of you have had a few chicken stories as well.

Until next time, good bird watching.

Edinburg Church to Host Reunion Sept. 11th

The Edinburg Church Reunion is scheduled to be held Sunday, September 11, 2016.  Annually, it is held the second Sunday of September.  Service will start at 11:00 a.m. with Bob Neese bringing the message.  A carry-in dinner will be under the yard tent immediately after the church service.

It is time for paying yearly dues of $5.00 each from associated family members.  Any donations would be appreciated toward the upkeep of the cemetery, especially funeral memorials.  Also, any church restoration donations would be appreciated.  The new roof is the latest project.  Send donations to Mike Myers, 305 Grand Ave., Memphis, MO 63555

Respectfully submitted, Diana Wagner, Secretary

Downing Appreciation Days September 8th-9th

Downing, Missouri wishes to welcome everyone to their annual Downing Appreciation Days on September 8th-10th, 2016.  The theme for this year’s event is “Celebrate”.

The event will actually kick off on Sunday evening, September 4th with a community church service at the Appreciation Days Grounds beginning at 7:00 p.m.

On Thursday, September 8th, a free beef barbeque sandwich meal, co-sponsored by Bank of Downing, will be served starting at 6:00 p.m.

At 7:00 p.m. the Baby Show (ages Birth to 24 months) and Mr./Miss (ages 2-4 years) and Prince/Princess Contests (ages 4-6) will be held.  Registration for these events will start at 6:15 p.m.  Contestants are asked to dress according to the theme and in case of questions you can call 660-342-5073.

Battle of the Bands will take place starting at 7:30 p.m. and a drawing for $100 cash plus other nice prizes will be held at 9:30 p.m.

On Friday, September 9th, events include a Tractor Pull starting at 6:00 p.m.  Another drawing for $200 cash and other nice prizes will be held at 10:00 p.m.  For questions about the Tractor Pull, contact Clarence Kinney at 641-208-7960 or Randy Sayre at 660-342-1515.

On Saturday, September 10th, the day will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Barrel Racing, Team Roping and Calcutta, sponsored by Coffey Ropers.  For more information, contact 660-341-6874.

The Kiddie Parade starts at 11:30 a.m.  Registration for the parade will be from 10:30-11:00 a.m. Line-up next to the Bank of Downing.  Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Bikes, Pets, Open and Motorized (not over 12 hp).

The Parade will start at 12:00 sharp with registration at 11:15 a.m.  Line-up is at the Baptist Church. Everyone is asked to register!  Please call Penny Swindler at 660-379-2624 or Sue Jane Brewer at 660-379-2385.  1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes will be awarded for floats in several categories including Youth Clubs/Schools, Adult Clubs/Lodge and Church.  In the Motorized category, trophies will be presented for Best Restoration, Best Classic and Best Motorized.  Trophies will also be given in the horse category for Best Hitch, Best Showmanship and Largest Group.  The parades will be announced in front of the bank.  Parade winners will be posted inside the shelter house following the parade.  Prizes can also be picked up there.

Kids and Adult games, at the Coffey Ropers Arena, will begin at 1:00 p.m.  The Ping Pong Ball Drop, for ages 12 and under, will start at 1:15 p.m. and be held on the Appreciation Days Grounds.  A Pie and Cake Baking Contest and Auction takes place at 3:00 p.m. Entries should be delivered between 3:00-4:00 with judging to begin at 4:00 p.m. and Auction will start at 6:00 p.m.  Phone 660-216-6467 for more information.

Entertainment for the evening is provided by ‘One Horse Town’ and will start at 7:00 p.m.

A Teen Dance is also being held, starting at 9:30 p.m.  Music for the dance will feature Caraway Music Systems, a professional DJ and is being co-sponsored by Craig Comstock, Investment Professionals Inc.

The final drawing for $300 cash plus other nice prizes will take place at 10:30 p.m.

On Sunday, September 11th, Barrel Racing and Team Roping by Coffey Ropers will begin at 9:00 a.m.  Call 660-341-6874 for more information.

Food and ice cream will be available on the grounds and the Depot Museum will be open during the Celebration.

Classified Ads 9-1-2016

GARAGE SALE – 208 W. North Street, Friday, September 2nd (7:00 a.m. to Noon).  Household misc., some tools, some power tools, many fishing items, rods, reels, etc., FULL tackle boxes! Don’t miss this one!

YARD SALE – September 2nd and 3rd, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  Clark Co. Rd. A, one mile N. of Wyaconda or South off Hwy 136, approx 3 ½ miles.  Watch for signs and balloons.  Saddles, tack, sporting goods, guns, tools, household goods, small furniture, too much to list.

HELP WANTED – Local company has immediate opening for an OTR Truck Driver.  Paid mileage and home weekends.  Contact Mark Drummond at All-States Equipment, 660-465-8572 or after hours at 660-216-6227.

GARAGE SALE – Saturday, Sept. 3, 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Memphis Fire Station.  Boys’ and girls’ clothes (NB–4T), some baby items, few women’s clothes (S-L).

BABY PARSONS

Chris and Lynette Parsons of Memphis are the parents of a daughter, McKenzie Grace Parsons, born August 25, 2016 at 1:05 p.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. McKenzie weighed 5 lbs 11 oz and was 19 inches long. She is welcomed home by big brother Teddy. Grandparents are Lynn and Teresa Parsons of Eagleville; Stanley and Shirley Green of Memphis and Steve Osborn of Oaks, OK.

BABY MOORE

baby moore web

Cody and Sadie Moore of Baring are the parents of a daughter, Kelsey Elaine Moore, born August 24, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Kelsey weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 20 inches long. Siblings are Kayden and Kameron. Grandparents are Joe and Renee Schrage of Baring; Wayne and Janet Parrish of Baring; Larry and Connie Kelsey of Brashear; Brent Moore of Hurdland; the late Heather Kelsey; Janet Moore of Baring; and Ruth Schrage of Edina.

BABY BAGENT

baby bagent web

Shaila Sturm and Scott Bagent of Kahoka are the parents of a daughter, Brylie Adalyn Bagent, born August 26, 2016 at 4:39 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Brylie weighed 7 lbs 2.6 oz and was 20.75 inches long. Siblings are KayLeigh and Aliah. Grandparents are Jim and Tracy Sturm of McCloud, OK; Joe and Betty Young of Kahoka; and Charles Bagent of Carthage.

BABY BARELA

baby barela web

Dillon and Jessica Barela of Cantril, IA are the parents of a daughter, Abigail Eliana Barela, born August 17, 2016 at 12:08 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Abigail weighed 7 lbs 6.6 oz and was 21.25 inches long.

Mohr’s Perfect Day Leads Memphis FFA Trap Team to First Place Finish

Lane Mohr (left) shatters one of the 50 straight clay pigeons he hit without missing to record a perfect score to lead the Memphis FFA Trap team to victory.

Lane Mohr (left) shatters one of the 50 straight clay pigeons he hit without missing to record a perfect score to lead the Memphis FFA Trap team to victory.

The Memphis FFA Trap Team is off to a good start for their 2016 Season. The team came in 1st place at last Saturday’s match in Macon, Missouri. Senior, Lane Mohr, shot a perfect score of 50/50.  Lane was the high scoring individual out of 178 shooters. There were 42 teams from 16 schools that competed from around Missouri.  The winning team was determined by taking the top five individual scores from each school.  The top five from the Memphis Team were Lane Mohr, Jared Dunn, Luke Triplett, and Lane Pence. Conner Payne and Harley Saulmon tied for 5th.

Jared Dunn scored 3rd overall and Tala Saulmon also tied for 3rd overall in the females division, both  from the Memphis FFA Team.

The team is being coached again this year by Dave Koch.  Waltedda Blessing is their Advisor and FFA Instructor.

The Memphis FFA Team would like to invite anyone out to watch as they have their 1st home match at the Memphis Lake Show Me Shooting Range on Saturday, September 3rd.  They will also be hosting their annual fundraiser Shoot-a-thon on Sunday, September 11th at the Lake Show Me range just west of Memphis. Call Waltedda Blessing for more information or to sponsor one of the FFA shooters.  Anyone is welcome to attend and shoot at the fundraiser on September 11th.

“We are looking forward to a great season!” said FFA Advisor Waltedda Blessing.

See’s Seventh Inning Heroics Give SCR-I 5-3 Win Over Fayette

Stevi See avoids the Fayette catcher’s tag attempt as she slides in safe at home during SCR-I’s 5-3 win.

Stevi See avoids the Fayette catcher’s tag attempt as she slides in safe at home during SCR-I’s 5-3 win.

The Scotland County softball team picked up its first ever Lewis & Clark Conference victory in the team’s debut in its new league on Friday night at Fayette.

For the second time this season, SCR-I picked up the victory in its final at bat. After a season-opening extra inning affair at Putnam County, SCR-I had more late fireworks as Stevi See plated a pair of runs in the seventh inning with a two-out single to give Scotland County the 5-3 win.

Fayette took advantage of some sloppy SCR-I defense in the first inning to score a run on four errors.

The Lady Tigers battled back to even the score in the top of the second. Maddie Brassfield and Kaylyn Anders had base hits to fuel the rally.

SCR-I went ahead with a pair of runs in the third. See was hit by a pitch and scored when Chelsea Wood reached on an error. Ashleigh Creek added an RBI single to make the lead 3-1.

Fayette scored an unearned run in the fourth courtesy of two more SCR-I errors and tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth before Creek was able to strand runners at second and third.

Scotland County squandered a leadoff double by Creek in the sixth inning before breaking through in the seventh. Kaitlyn McMinn led off with a walk and Julie Long beat out a bunt single to set the table for See’s heroics. The junior catcher drilled a base hit down the leftfield line that drove in both runners to give SCR-I the 5-3 win.

Creek retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame to secure her second win of the year as SCR-I improved to 2-1 and 1-0 in the L&C. She allowed three runs, one earned on six hits and a walk while striking out a season-high nine batters.

The junior hurler also went 2-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI. See was 1-2 with a run scored and two RBIs and is batting .555 on the season.

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