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.

Recent Grad Killed in Head-on Crash Near Memphis

Chester Robinson (#22) passed away in a head-on collision Tuesday morning in Scotland County just days after graduating from Scotland County R-I High School.

Chester Robinson (#22) passed away in a head-on collision Tuesday morning in Scotland County just days after graduating from Scotland County R-I High School.

Less than two weeks after crossing the podium to accept his high school diploma, a Scotland County graduate was tragically taken from the community in a head-on collision north of Memphis on Tuesday morning.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Chester E. Robinson, 18, of Memphis was pronounced deceased at the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Highway 15, seven miles north of Memphis at 6:47 a.m.

Robinson was northbound in a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am when he failed to negotiate a curve. His vehicle crossed the center line and struck a southbound 2000 Dodge Dakota head on.

The driver of the second vehicle, Tyler A. Scott, 21, of Bloomfield, IA, was flown from the scene by Air Evac Helicopter and transported to Iowa City Hospital with serious injuries.

The Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Memphis Police Department, the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, the Scotland County Fire and Rescue Squad, Scotland County First Responders and the Scotland County Ambulance Service.

Chester Robinson

Chester Robinson

Funeral services are pending for Robinson at Gerth Funeral Service in Memphis.

Both vehicles sustained total damage in the accident and were removed from the scene by Lakeside Towing of Memphis.

Local Grad Standing Guard at Arlington National Cemetery

Former SCR-I student Joshua Lee Tague is a member of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard which performs services at Arlington National Cemetery.

Former SCR-I student Joshua Lee Tague is a member of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard which performs services at Arlington National Cemetery.

Less than three years after completing high school, a local high school graduate has found his way to Washington D.C. and has been part of some of the nation’s biggest events.

Lee Tague, a 2013 graduate of Knox County High School, enlisted in the United States Navy shortly after high school. Just months later his service has transplanted the young man in our nation’s capital, with regular service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lee is the son of Larry and Tamara Tague. He attended Scotland County schools before transferring in high school to Knox County.

The Gorin native never imagined his career choice would send him so far away from home, so quickly.

His journey started in Great Lakes, IL, for basic training. He spent the eight-week process at the center, some 30 minutes outside of Chicago.

It was during basic training that Tague took part in an interview process for the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard. As a Naval Religious Program Specialist, he was eligible for the program, and after being approved for consideration, then volunteered for the prestigious posting.

Following boot camp, Tague spent two months in additional training for the guard, with emphasis on the special uniform as well as the M1 Garand rifle, the weapon used by the U.S. armed forces dating back to World War II.

“We definitely spend a lot of time making sure our uniforms are presentable and that our appearance is the best it can be,” he said. “Our motto is perfection is expected, excellence is accepted, meaning that while we know no one is ever perfect, we will work to achieve perfection every day.”

The attention to detail begins with the white gloves.

“We always wear gloves when touching our rifles or when handling a flag, out of respect to those instruments, which may have seen battle.”

Respect is the basis for all of the guards’ actions.

“Most people do not understand why we take these ‘little things’ so seriously,” said Tague. “Like standing at attention, working to show no emotion, regardless of whether it is raining, snowing or frigid cold. It is out of respect. That is our mission.”

While the gloves are important, the brass belt of the uniform is the pride of the Navy.

“It is the center piece of the uniform,” said Tague. “Depending on what the weather was like when you wore it, you can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to three or four hours every day or every other day, polishing that brass. It is a point of proud among us when some of the belts details begin to fade because it has been polished so much.”

Established in 1931, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official ceremonial unit of the Navy. Located at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, DC, the Navy Ceremonial Guard’s primary mission is to represent the service in Presidential, Joint Armed Forces, Navy, and public ceremonies in and around the nation’s capital.

“We’re the face of the Navy at such things as parades, arrivals of foreign dignitaries and even at major sporting events,” said Tague. “For instance, we were there for the arrival in America of the Japanese Foreign Minister.”

Tague said this service was very prestigious, as it marked a key meeting with one of our nation’s greatest naval allies and was held on the south lawn of the Whitehouse.

He also served at the retirement ceremony for former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Most recently, Tague served as an escort during the ceremony for Navy Seal Edward Byers, the latest recipient of the Medal of Honor, and receiving the honor to escort him to the Hall of Heroes where the names of the medal winners are enshrined.

“Two years ago I never would have imaged being in the presence of such great people,” said Tague.

During the week however, the primary duty of the guard is to serve as the funeral escort and to conduct services for Navy personnel buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Tasking for ceremonies comes from the President of the United States, the Secretaries of Defense and the Navy, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Commandant, Naval District Washington.  Navy Ceremonial Guard Sailors participate in numerous other military ceremonies at local commands.  Some elements of the command, such as the Drill Team and Color Guard, have represented the Navy in public events across the nation and around the world.

Tague gives much of the credit for his choice to pursue a military career to a former coach at Knox County High School, Keith Gudehus.

“He was a big inspiration for me,” said Tague. “Obviously his level of success is motivating, but for me his attention to detail and how much he cared about other people are truly what inspired me.”

Gudehus returned to coach the Knox County girls basketball program after retiring from the U.S. Army after 21 years of service.

“He set an excellent example for me, his selflessness and his ability to motivate others are part of why I enlisted,” said Tague.

Tague recently returned home for the funeral of his grandfather, Rodney Day. Day served in the U.S. Army, so Tague got to witness his military rites at the funeral.

“It definitely created a new perspective for me about what we do in the Ceremonial Guard,” he said. “I really appreciated the respect that was offered to my grandfather and our family. I’m honored to be able to do that for other military families.”

While still attached to the ceremonial guard unit, Tague’s career has taken a new path in public relations. Now an E-4 status, Tague currently is working with visitors at the Pentagon.

“I’m a liaison for visitors to the Department of Defense headquarters,” he said. “It is a public affairs posting, where we provide outreach services and work with the public. It’s quite a transition from standing silently at attention for hours at a time. Now much of what I do is talking and communicating.”

He believes his next posting may take him to North Carolina or California to work with the U.S. Marines. Ultimately the Scotland County native hopes one day to return to the diplomacy arena, possibly working at the State Department.

GERTRUDE BERTRAM DEEGAN (5/21/1914 – 5/21/2016)

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Gertrude Bertram Deegan, 102, of Las Vegas, NV, returned to her father in heaven at the Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas.

She was born May 21, 1914; the daughter of Ernest and Ruth (Short) Bertram at Rutledge, MO. Gertrude married Walter (Bud) Deegan in 1959. They enjoyed a wonderful married life until his passing in 2003.

She grew up in Rural Scotland County areas of Rutledge and Gorin. She graduated from Gorin High School in 1932. She attended Northeast Missouri Teachers College, now known as Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. Gertrude spent the next eight years teaching in several rural schools around the area.

In 1941, Gertrude traveled to Longbeach, CA where she worked for an optical company and later was one of the first women to own her own company, Powers Optical Co. which she operated for the next 25 years. Gertrude was recognized in 1958 as The Women of the Year for the West Coast Eye Foundation.

After retirement, she moved to El Toro, CA. They lived there until her husband retired from employment in Orange County. They settled in Las Vegas, NV in 1991 where she kept busy with numerous activities.

She worked for Avis, Neptune Society, and was active in many social events in Sin City.

Gertrude was a member of the Colony Baptist Church while growing up in rural MO. She is a charter member of the Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas. She joined DAR at a young age and a member of the Eastern Star for 50 plus years. She was very active in church activities, clubs, and community work. Gertrude loved cooking (especially pies), entertaining, traveling, and being around friends and family. She had many wonderful times during her life, but coming back on the Amtrak train and attending her 80th class Alumni at Gorin in 2012 stood out as one of her favorites. She never forgot her rural roots and family back in Missouri.

She is survived by one sister-in-law, Rosie Fishback of Kirksville, several nephews and nieces; Chad York and wife Randi of Rutledge, MO; Ellen Sue Morris and husband Bill, Fenton, MO; Connie Scotti and Jim of Kimberling, MO; Pam Schmutzler and Monty of Jefferson City, MO; Kenny Mayfield and wife Nancy of Woodland, TX; Charlie Mayfield and Katherine of Colony, MO; Jan Hide and Dick of Kirksville, MO; and Terry Lynn Winters and Tom of Gilbert, AZ; and a host of friends and family. She had a special place in her heart for her friend Maria and friends at Las Ventanas in Las Vegas.

She was preceded in death by her husband Bud Deegan, her parents Ernie and Ruth Bertram, three brothers, Richard, Garland, and Gilvie Bertram, two sisters, Ann Lee York, Irene Mayfield, and one nephew Ronnie Mayfield.

 A life celebration service will be held at a later date in Las Vegas

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, May 26 – Lasagna/Meat Sauce, Lettuce Salad, Hominy, Garlic Bread, Peaches

Friday, May 27 – Catfish Nuggets, Sweet Potato, Broccoli Salad, Peas, Cornbread, Ice Cream, Cake

Monday, May 30 – Center Closed, No Meals

Tuesday, May 31 – Meatloaf, Scalloped Potatoes, Marinated Tomatoes, Lima Beans, Slice Bread, Pudding

Wednesday, June 1 – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Hot Roll, Mixed Fruit

Thursday, June 2 – Ham and Beans, Onions, Carrot-Pineapple Salad, Buttered Beets, Cornbread, Cake

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, May 26 –   Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Monday, May 30 – Memorial Day, Center Closed

Thursday, June 2 –   Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Judge Webber to Speak at 70th Annual Memorial Day Services

The 70th Annual Memorial Day Services will be held on the Scotland County Courthouse lawn on May 30th starting at 10 a.m.

The 70th Annual Memorial Day Services will be held on the Scotland County Courthouse lawn on May 30th starting at 10 a.m.

A familiar face will take the podium on Monday as the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hosts its 70th annual Memorial Day Services on the Scotland County Courthouse lawn.

Judge E. Richard Webber will be the featured speaker for the event. Webber, the Senior United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, traces his legal roots back to Scotland County. He served as the First Judicial Circuit Judge in Memphis from 1979 until 1995. On August 10, 1995 he was nominated by President Bill Clinton for the federal judge position. He assumed senior status with the district court in 2009.

Born in Kahoka, Webber, attended the University of Missouri and graduated from the Missouri School of Law in 1967, when he moved to Memphis and started work as the prosecuting attorney before ultimately becoming a judge.

VFW Post Commander Larry Curry and program chairman Donnie Middleton will open the 70th annual Memorial Day services at 10 a.m. Don Norton and Mike Stephenson will perform the placing of the wreath at the soldiers’ memorial. Bill Camp will lead the gathering in the pledge of allegiance and Les Richmond of Ignite Ministries will lead the invocation. The Scotland County school band will perform the National Anthem followed by a patriotic music selection by the Memphis Community Players.

Presiding First Circuit Judge Gary Dial will have the honor of introducing his friend and college, Dick Webber.

James Parker will perform Sleep Soldier Boy with the piano accompaniment of Connie Courtney prior to the benediction by Richmond.

The service will close with the traditional 21 gun salute by the VFW rifle squad with the playing of Taps by Melinda Briggs with echo provided by Chris Kempke.

In case of inclement weather, the services will be moved indoors

Chabert Returns Home to Open Electrical Evolution Contracting Service

chabert web

Customers of Scotland County’s newest electrical contractor may be shocked to learn they may have known the owner growing up. Electrical Evolution, LLC is open for business in Scotland County after owner Chris Chabert, returned home to northeast Missouri.

Chris and his wife Randi relocated to rural Memphis in April and the couple is excited about the opportunity to bring their electrical contracting services to the community.

Chris Chabert  grew up in Scotland County and attended SCR-I High School until his sophomore season when his family moved back to Louisiana.

After earning an electrical technician degree and spending the past 10 years working in the electrical field, Chabert decided it was time to return home to Scotland County and start his own business.

Electrical Evolution will offer residential, commercial and agricultural wiring services, electrical maintenance and troubleshooting. Chabert will provide installation and new construction for wiring systems in homes, businesses and on the farm.

“I have 10 years of experience, working on a variety of projects from malls and hospitals, to grain bins, boats and alarm systems,” he said. “Just about anything with wiring in it, I’ve worked on it.”

His work experience includes three phase, as well high and low voltage systems and even 12-volt operations.

The electrician said he is available to work on grain bins, rehabbing older homes’ electrical systems, upgrading lighting options, or designing and constructing power systems for new construction.

For more information on Electrical Evolution, contact the Chaberts at 660-945-3057 or 660-956-5863.

Toblers Receive Outstanding Advisors for 2016 at IHCC

Indian Hills Community College President Dr. Marlene Sprouse and Certified Executive Chef and IHCC Culinary Arts Program Director Gordon Rader present the award of 2016 IHCC Outstanding Adviisors to doctors Randy and Heliene Tobler.

Indian Hills Community College President Dr. Marlene Sprouse and Certified Executive Chef and IHCC Culinary Arts Program Director Gordon Rader present the award of 2016 IHCC Outstanding Adviisors to doctors Randy and Heliene Tobler.

Culinary arts will always have students as long as the Toblers are involved.”  Those were the words of Certified Executive Chef and Indian Hills Community College Culinary Arts Program Director, Gordon Rader, at the annual dinner honoring the College’s numerous Advisory Committees.  Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA, recently honored Drs. Randy and Heliene Tobler with the Outstanding Advisors for 2016.  During the presentation, IHCC President, Dr. Marlene Sprouse explained that professionals from the community serve on these advisory boards, which support Indian Hills Community College by helping to shape programs and ensure the relevance of course content and instruction.

In Chef Rader’s remarks, he mentioned the Toblers enthusiasm for his Culinary Arts program at Indian Hills and their financial contributions to the program and to individual students in the program needing help with tuition.  He announced the Toblers newly formed non-profit organization for culinary arts in Southeast Iowa and Northeast Missouri called The Midwest Ambassadors for the Culinary Arts, or MACA, which is composed of a group of very supportive health care professionals and educators who love to eat well and have a desire to support a very worthy profession.  The organization is geared to not only help the IHCC Culinary Arts Program grow but to recognize and support the growing interest in culinary arts in the region.

Chef Rader said, “Randy and Heliene have been instrumental in enriching my own life by sharing their deep regard for humanity with me through mirth and wisdom each time we connect.  They understand what we do here at Indian Hills and together with all of our advisors, faculty, staff and supporters, we CHANGE LIVES.”

Drs. Randy and Heliene Tobler live near Bible Grove, Missouri.  Dr. Randy Tobler is an OB/GYN and the CEO at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis.  Dr. Heliene Tobler is a Holistic Nutritionist.  They have three grown children.  Together, they host the Healthy U Radio Show every Tuesday morning at 10:05 a.m. on KMEM-FM, 100.5, and they author a blog at Dr.Tobler.com. Dr. Randy hosts a Saturday morning political radio talk show out of St. Louis on 97.1 FM.

106 People Donate Blood At Memorial Drive

A total of 96 units of blood were collected by the Red Cross during the May 10th blood drive in Memphis at the First Baptist Church.

A total of 96 units of blood were collected by the Red Cross during the May 10th blood drive in Memphis at the First Baptist Church.

The Spring Red Cross blood drive held in memory of Stryker Anderson, who was born with a rare genetic blood disorder, was met with the greatest turnout we have seen in recent years with one-hundred-six people coming out to give blood.

Ninety-six units were collected during the May 10th blood drive with six first-time donors leading the way: Bobby Anderson, Esther Mae Good, Karla Martin, Faith Miller, Shannon Niffen and Mary E. Olson. May this begin a lifelong habit of giving to this lifesaving cause.

The following donors are recognized for reaching their respective goals: a one-gallon pin was awarded to Keegan Beard, a two-gallon pin was awarded to Abraham M. Zimmerman, three-gallon pins were awarded to Mary W. Good and Glenn Zimmerman, a four-gallon pin was awarded to Daniel Hite, Debbie Woods earned her seven-gallon pin, eight-gallon pins were awarded to Brent Bonderant, Priscilla J. Martin and David Zeiset, Jr., Ronnie Boyer earned his nine-gallon pin, Benjie Briggs was awarded her eleven-gallon pin, Richard Middleton earned a twelve-gallon pin and Larry Riney topped the list by earning his nineteen-gallon pin, which is quite an accomplishment.

Congratulations to Larry and all the others who are recognized for reaching their respective milestones in giving.

The Red Cross and local volunteers would also like to thank the community for their patience. With such a large turnout, some were required to endure waiting times far longer than normal.

We will continue to do all we can to make the process more efficient and reduce waiting time. The following local businesses and churches are recognized for their generous donations to this event: The Daisy Patch for supplying long-stem roses to all the donors, J’s Foods for supplying orange juice, The First Presbyterian Church of Memphis for a generous supply of homemade cookies, The First Baptist Church for supplying sandwiches and Pizza Hut for supplying personal pan pizzas to student donors.

Thank, you and God bless all those who came out to donate and all those who gave of their time to make this event possible. May Stryker’ s family remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Ruby Red Hats Meet in Memphis

The Rutledge Ruby Red Hats met May 16th at Keith’s Café.

Joann Rood and Marilyn Dunn were hostesses. Joann read some interesting readings and then lunch was served. Door prizes were drawn and given. There were eleven members and two visitors. Attending were, Virginia Hustead, Joyce Bass, Celina Erickson, Marjorie Peterson, Reva Hustead, Jewel Brown, Neta Phillips, Marlene Henry, Ruth Ludwick, Marlyn Camery, Joann Rood, and Marilyn Dunn. Next month’s meeting will be decided later.

Scotland County Area Moving On Program Will Meet May 31st

The Scotland County Area Moving On Program will be held Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at the Methodist Church at 1:30 p.m.  Chris Tinkle will have a Special Program.  Everyone is asked to bring a photograph of yourself or family and refreshments will be served by Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri.

If you have suffered a loss, this program helps provide support through caring confidential visiting and fellowship with others that have lost love ones.  The group shares support and friendship with each other.  This is a monthly meeting with the time and meeting place decided on by those attending.

For more information or to arrange for a ride, please call Nelda Billups (328-6367), Laura Schenk (465-7363) and Chris Tinkle, program coordinator (465-7322).  Local sponsors of the program include The Daisy Patch, US Bank, Rose Hardware, Payne Funeral Chapel, Memphis Funeral Home, Countryside Flowers, Community Bank of Memphis and Exchange Bank of Northeast Missouri.

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