Around The County

memoriesVincent Thole’s photos from Camp Huckstep near Cairo, Egypt. Thole and other young Clinton County men served in the Quartermaster Depot Supply Company in World War II.    Carol Thole Nativi’s attempt to catalog the time her father spent as a soldier in World War II led her to discover hundreds of photographs featuring not only her father, Vincent Thole, but also many other Clinton County men. While most of the men pictured are now deceased, Nativi has learned of their story through her father’s narrative and wants to share it with the soldiers’ families. 
    In the group photo on the upper left are some of the Quartermaster Depot Supply Company stationed in Cairo, Egypt. Front row, from left: Vincent Thole, Alphonse Eversgerd, Charlie Carter, Vic Rehkemper,  Walter Aper; back row from left: Erwin Rolves, Ray Eversgerd, Armin Kaemper,  John Brennon, Merl Walters, Ed Wolters, Bill Beckmann. In the dress uniform photo on the bottom left are, front row, from left: Alphonse Eversgerd and Vincent Thole. Back row: Bill Laux, Bill Beckmann and Ed Wolters. Posing next to the sign is Alphonse Eversgerd. Vincent Thole wrote “And how!” on the back of this photo. In the photo on the bottom right are Ed Wolters, Ray Eversgerd, and Erwin Rolves.
    Vincent Thole was part of a group of over 40 men who reported to the Carlyle draft board on Nov. 18, 1942.  Thole and the others completed basic training at Camp Gruber in Oklahoma, where they filled out a company of 186 men who eventually were stationed at Camp Huckstep  near Cairo, Egypt. They were the Quartermaster Depot Supply Company.
    Though Thole died in 1999, his daughter, Carol Thole Nativi, is determined to keep his memory alive.
    Armed with narrative from her father and hundreds of photos of his time in the war, Nativi set out to create an album following her father’s time in World War II. But while doing so, Nativi realized she had another mission; sharing the lives of her father’s compatriots with their families.
    “Most, but not all of these men have died. But their families survive and may not know their father or grandfather’s story. They may not have pictures from this time,” said Nativi. “I would love to share the photos that I have with the families of these men.”
    Nativi reached out to the Breese Journal to share some of her photos with the Clinton County community; images of hard work, fun times and a bond shared only by men fighting together for a cause.
    Nativi said she would like to contact the families of the men of the Quartermaster Depot Supply Company, both to find out what they did after the war and to share her knowledge and pictures of their time serving with her father.
    “When I started out on this project, I thought it would take just a few hours to finish ... I started out just planning to make flashdrives for my siblings. But as I sorted and scanned (the photos) I fell in love with these handsome young men and their story. I saw my dad mature from a boy into a man,” said Nativi. “Many of the pictures may have been lost through the years. I know I treasure these pictures and I think others will too.”
    Interested parties may contact Breese Journal editor Melissa Wilkinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (618) 526-7211 to be put in touch with Nativi. 

KlasingWilliam Klasing    In February, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that a 19-year-old soldier from Trenton killed during World War II had been identified. Now, nearly 80 years after his death at Pearl Harbor, Navy Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class William A. Klasing is coming home.
    Klasing was a sailor on the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. The ship capsized after sustaining several torpedo strikes, resulting in the deaths of 429 crewmen. Klasing was among them.
    The American Graves Registration Service could identify only 35 men at the time. The remaining seamen were buried in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
    “They buried them in a big ‘punchbowl’ in Hawaii,” said Breese American Legion commander Jeff Jung. “Now, the Department of Defense is going through and putting DNA to these people.”
    The DPAA began exhuming the remains for DNA analysis in June 2015. According to a press release from the DPAA, scientists used dental, anthropological Y-chromosome DNA analysis, alongside circumstantial and material evidence, to identify Klasing. 
    Though details of his return are still being determined, Jung said Klasing will be flown into a local airport on June 28, after which he will likely be transported via military procession to Moss Funeral Home in Breese. The Breese American Legion will host a dinner that evening. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are appreciated.
    To donate or for questions, call the Breese Legion at (618) 526-4265.

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