Remembering: Lt. Col Herbert Mills, Jr.

Today we are honoring Lt. Col Herbert Mills, Jr. Herbert came to El Paso in 1939 from Sterling City and joined the Active 20-30 Club of El Paso #96 shortly thereafter. In 1940 he joined the Army and was stationed in Fort Bliss before being deployed to the European Theatre. While serving with the 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division he was awarded a Silver Star and Bronze Star for his actions. On November 17th, 1944 near Scherpenseel and Hastenrath, Germany, Lt. Col Mills led his task force over difficult terrain, across dense minefields and through devastating enemy fire to secure a vital objective. On the initial day of the assault, one of his tanks was hit blocking the advance of the column through a lane cleared of mines. Lieutenant Colonel Mills dismounted from his tank, personally directed engineers in clearing another lane, and led his force through the minefield. While reorganizing his position, a shell struck within a few feet of him, causing injury to his right leg. Though in much pain, he refused medical aid and continued his reconnaissance on foot to improve his positions. Although he lost all officers of his medium tank companies and thirty-three tanks, Lieutenant Colonel Mills kept his force effectively organized and, in the face of enemy opposition, captured his objective without infantry support. While Lieutenant Colonel Mills was in the process of communicating with higher headquarters to report that his mission was accomplished, a shell struck the building above his tank, fatally wounding him. For his actions he was awarded the army’s second-highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross. He was survived by his wife Claire Mills and his two year old son Herbert Mills III.

Members from New Mexico in WWII

To kick off the week of Memorial Day, we would like to take today to remember the Active 20-30 members from New Mexico who lost their lives during WWII. While it may seem odd to focus on the state instead of a club or an individual, their stories are tragically similar. All of these men were also members of various units of the New Mexico National Guard and were inducted into federal service as The 200th Coast Artillery Regiment on January 6th, 1941, for one year of active duty training. They were chosen for an assignment in the Philippines over a regiment from Arkansas because of the fluency in Spanish and arrived in Luzon in September of 1941.

On December 8th, 1941, a mere 10 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers appeared over the horizon in the Philippines. After 3 months of fierce fighting, the 76,000 starving and sick American and Filipino defenders in Bataan surrendered on April 9, 1942. While they managed to survive the infamous Bataan Death March on which 7,000–10,000 POWs died or were murdered, all but one were unable to survive their internment at the various POW camps. The lone survivor was killed when the ship taking him to Japan for interrogation was sunk in the Pacific. Some only lasted a few weeks while others lasted years but their names and stories are engraved on twelve granite columns at Bataan Memorial Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Those brave men were:
• Pfc. Claude Fleming, Carlsbad #202 – 6/10/1942
• 1SG George Moore, Artesia #231 – 5/20/1942
• Maj. Richard Riley, Albuquerque #103 – 11/13/1942
• Capt. Karl Schroeder, Clovis #225 – 1/19/1945
• Capt. John Beall, Clovis #225 – 2/8/1945
• Sgt. John Shields, Jr., Clovis #225 – 11/24/1942

Thank you for your service.

20-30 Club World War II Memorial Plaque

During the Twentieth Annual “Victory” Convention, August 19 – 25, 1946 in Sacramento, California a memorial plaque was reveled.

On Wednesday, August 21st, represented the opening Plenary Session in the State Assembly Chambers. The location of this gather was particularly convenient and appropriate. The sea of delegate’s serious faces silently announced to the leaders in the rostrum that they were ready for business and prepared to map the year’s future. National President Jim Vernetti presided and after “America” and the Pledge to the Flag, Past National President Abbe Strunck of San Antonio, Texas, gave the invocation. Committee and officer reports followed until the time had arrived for the Period of Remembrance for the 20-30ians who had given their lives in World War II. The audience consisted principally of delegates and officials with a few 20-30ians and visitors who had realized such a ceremony was to take place. In view of the program which followed, absolutely every person in attendance at the convention should have been present because without having witnessed the Period of Remembrance they returned to their homes without the memory of something which would never leave them. The celebrated Convention Bureau Stringed Ensemble with its women’s choir augmented the solemnly conducted ceremony consisting of Invocation, Unveiling of the Memorial, reading of the names of the casualties, the Eulogy and “Lest We Forget”. The Creation Hymn, Green Cathedral, Lord’s Prayer, My Buddy, and Day is Done, was sung in the soft clear tones of bells tolling in the distance. Only the light tap of the gavel opened the half-hour period, and only “Taps” and another light touch of the gavel closed it. The assembly slowly wended its way out, speechless and silent in reverence of that which had just been witnessed.

(Twenty-Thirtian, October 1946, pp11-12)

In Memoriam

As listed in January 1946 issue.
The Association of 20-30 Clubs, permanent War Memorial plaque with the names of war casualties inscribed thereon.
54 clubs reported 75 casualties.

Rank – Name – Location – Club Number

  • T/Sgt. Jesse W. Andrew – Alice #239
  • Lt. Robert M. Arthur – Corpus Christi #199
  • Lt. Herb Baker – Sacramento #1
  • Sgt. Robert E. Baly – El Centro #115
  • CM 2/c William E. Bates – Beaumont #185
  • Joe Bates – Fresno #12
  • 2nd Lt. Mayo Bills – Houston #192
  • Joseph H. Boyle – Madera #160
  • Capt. Frank D. Bradford – Fresno #12
  • Lt. (j.g.) Donald R. Brown – Healdsburg #215
  • 1st Lt. Loren Bubar – San Luis Obispo #93
  • Lt. Wilmer L. Buzan – Corona #26
  • Lawrence Chenoweth, Jt. – Bakersfield #27
  • Pvt. Kenneth Cole – Flagstaff #142
  • Chf. Pharm. Nick Colabella – Santa Rosa #50
  • SC/2 Edwin J. Cook – Redding #143
  • Pfc. Woodrow Cornett – S.W. Los Angeles #206
  • Joe DeClark – S.W. Los Angeles #206
  • Duray Dorsey – San Bernardino #3
  • Lt. Ernest Emery – Kingman #157
  • Pfc. John W.R. Engholm – Gallup #180
  • Maj. John Evans – Seattle #215
  • Lt. Pierre Ferran – Napa #57
  • Claude Fleming – Carlsbad #202
  • Lt. James Fowler – Santa Barbara #42
  • Warren Feeland – Bakersfield #27
  • Robert Fulton – Idaho Falls #114
  • Robert Gardner – Patterson #91
  • Lt. Daniel H. Gatti – Westwood #200
  • Lt. Waldorf George – Pomona #9
  • Lt. S. Kenneth Graff – Alhambra #117
  • 1st Lt. Edward Hampton – Taft #77
  • 2nd Lt. O.W. Handy – Riverside #10
  • S/Sgt. Norbert Hans – Redding #143
  • Sgt. Preston Harris – Corpus Christi #199
  • 1st Lt. William L. Hart, Jr. – Kingman #157
  • Lt. John H. Hartsfield – Gallup #180
  • Charles Heller – San Antonio #167
  • 1st Lt. George B. Herbert – Houston #192
  • Corp. William L. Hoyt – Ontario #13
  • Lt. George Hudnutt, Jr. – Sacramento #1
  • Edward J. Jacobs – Flagstaff #142
  • S 1/c Arthur F. Johnsen – Huntington Park #16
  • Lt. Leonard A. Johnson – Corpus Christi #199
  • Lt. George Jones – Sacramento #1
  • Dave Kaufman – San Antonio #167
  • Lt. A.S. Kidd – Santa Monica #233
  • Ernest Krohnert – Mt. Shasta #203
  • Ens. William Laws – Santa Rosa #50
  • Lt. Robert T. Marquess – Carlsbad #202
  • 1st Lt. Pike B. Martin, Jr – Fresno #12
  • Lt. Admiral McDonald – San Antonio #167
  • Maynard Melmick – Van Nuys #207
  • Lt. Byron Michaelson – Huntington Park #16
  • George Moore – Artesia #231
  • Capt. John Mulvaney, Jr. – Alameda #183
  • Sgt. Floyd Oehlerking – Long Beach #29
  • Lt. Frederick H. Palmer – Palo Alto #25
  • Pfc. Sanator J. Passarino – Healdsburg #205
  • Pfc. Clifford E. Patton – San Francisco-Park Presidio #246
  • Lt. William H. Paulsen, Jr. – Salinas #44
  • Ivan Richardson – Bakersfield #27
  • Richard Riley, M.D. – Albuquerque #103
  • Lt. Glen Salisbury – Idaho Falls #114
  • Harry Schellhase – San Antonio #167
  • Lee J. Shudde – Houston #192
  • Rm 1/c David Solari – Chowchilla #249
  • Pvt. Joseph Spina – Los Banos #108
  • Lt. Jack R. Stewart – San Antonio #167
  • Corp. Garth B. Tillotsen – Ogden #179
  • Pfc. Marshall Weimer – Napa #57
  • Lt. Stanley Wells – Wilmington #177
  • Charles Wiese – Patterson #91
  • Lt. Jack Wiles, Jr. – Burbank #127
  • Lt. (j.g.) David Wright – Sacramento #1

As listed in May 1946 issue.
Additional war casualties have been reported to the Association of 20-30 Clubs. Following names will be added to the plaque.

Rank – Name – Location – Club Number

  • Foster Beal – Clovis #225
  • Bud Edwards – Highland Park #226
  • Lt. Jack Hodgins – Santa Barbara #42
  • Bob Jensen – Highland Park #226
  • RM 3/c Howard Keffer – Brawley #150
  • Bob Maxon – Highland Park #226
  • Lt. Col. Herbert Mills – El Paso #96
  • Ray McGinley – Santa Ana #22
  • Lt. Don Riley Powell – Fallon #40
  • 2d. Lt. Bert Ross – Santa Rosa #50
  • Carl Schreider – Clovis #225
  • Dr. H.J. Seyfarth – Turlock #68
  • John Shield – Clovis #225
  • S/Sgt. John C. Walden – El Paso #96

 

Meet Past Active: Jim Vogt

Past President of Healdsburg #205, California

In 2011, Dan Chapin, who was the current president of Healdsburg #205 shared about sitting down with gentleman turning 100. They had something in common to talk about – Active 20-30.

Dan told us, “I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit down with him for an interview that the local online news folks organized. It was one of the most amazing life experiences and for a guy who re-chartered an old club I never imagined this kind of thing would happen.”

Among the stories Jim Vogt passed along, he also gave Dan his 1947 Past Active card.
You can read the published article from The Healdsburg Patch and watch a few videos of Dan and Jim’s day together, their common interests and how the club has changed with time.

Sadly, Jim passed away the following year on May 4, 2012. (see obituary)

I invite you all to connect with past actives – both recent and not-so-recent times. Share with us stories you’ve heard and mementos you’ve seen that help us understand our history together.

Just like the “legacy stories” I share regarding 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generational Active members, I would like to start a series on the Past Actives and their stories. Please contact me (I would love to recognize and feature your history) – mchlspil@gmail.com