Monday, January 31, 2011

Ft. Indiantown Gap Battle of The Bulge Living History Weekend 2011

My wife Danielle and myself took a short trip to Ft, Indiantown Gap near Annville Pa, to check out the living historians who portray WW2 German and alllied forces. This weekend proved pretty good. It also was snowing and added a bit of realisim to the scenes.
Below are some of the photo's I took.

A squad of German troops marching

Some German Military Police and their dog.

I feel like they are going to ask me for my papers!


German Fallschirmjager Paratroopers


SS Soldier in Winter White Coveralls

Close up of the Eastern Front Ribbon on his tunic

SS soldier teaching my wife about the German Potato Masher and a Panzer Faust

German Soldier and Wreath "In honor of all the soldiers who died in WW2"

Canadian Soldiers

German Motorcycles

Kraut Killer

82nd Airborne Troopers

Friday, January 28, 2011

Clayton "Skip" Ahrensfield Goodbye To An Airman


I was deeply saddened today when I read this obituary. I got to meet Skip a couple of years ago when he gave our Memorial day speech in 2009 at Orwigsburg, Pa.. He was an interesting man and his stories of Flying B-36's and 52's and working on ICBM's in their silos was fascinating. I will miss him. He was a great Cold War Warrior. He kept us safe for many years through his sacrifices, hard work and love of country.
Good bye Skip

Check out the blog feature on Skip I wrote "COLD WAR WARRIOR M/SGT. E. SKIP AHRENSFIELD "

Clayton E. "Skip" Ahrensfield | Visit Guest Book

January 27, 2011

Clayton E. "Skip" Ahrensfield, 76, of Newport News, Va., and formerly of Lake Wynonah, died Thursday at Hampton VA Medical Center, Hampton, Va.

Born in Orwigsburg, May 17, 1934, he was a son of the late Elmer E. and Agnes M. Hummel Ahrensfield.

He served in the Air Force as a master sergeant during the Vietnam Conflict and completed a 21-year military career when he retired in 1973.

He was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Hampton.

Skip was employed for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and after his retirement, he the worked for Reneer Films, Auburn, retiring once again in 1996.

He was past master of the former Mariner Lodger 215 F&AM. He was a member of Warwick Lodge 336 F&AM; Valley of Reading Consistory, OES Chapter 43 of Warwick, Cross of Honor DeMolay and Honorary Legion of Honor, National Sojourners, Air Force Missile Association, Landingville Community Fire Company and Good Will Fire Company, Cressona. He was inducted into the PA All Sports Hall Of Fame-Allen-Rogowitz Chapter, Pottsville, in 1997, for basketball in Orwigsburg High School. He was inducted into the Blue Mountain H.S. All Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Skip was preceded in death by brothers, Herman, Robert and William Ahrensfield; and a sister, Daisy Heinbach.

Surviving are his wife of 55 years, Carol Ditzler Ahrensfield; a daughter, Robin Morehart, Newport News; a son, Bradley Ahrensfield, Albuquerque, N.M.; three grandsons, Keith Morehart, Geoff Morehart and Zachary Ahrensfield; a great-granddaughter, Layla Morehart; three sisters, Agnes Cleary, Luther Ridge, Seider's Hill, Jane Leymeister, Poulan, Ga., and Anna Collins, San Bernadino, Calif.

A viewing for family and friends will be held from noon until 1:30 p.m. Monday at Geschwindt-Stabingas Funeral Home Inc., 25 E. Main St., Schuylkill Haven. A Celebration of life funeral Service will follow at 1:30 p.m. Interment with military honors will be at Manbeck Cemetery, Washington Township. The family would prefer remembrances in Skip's memory be made to the American Lymphoma Society, 555 North Lane, Suite 5010, Conshohocken, PA 19428; or American Heart Association , 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011





While doing some research at the Historical Society of Schuylkill County I came across the Civil War draft notice for a Mr. George Smith from Pottsville. Smith was drafted in Ocotber 1863. Looking at this draft notice it brought back memories of a day back in 1968 when I received a draft notice from the government during the Vietnam War.
My notice came in the mail on a warm sunny summer day. I remember it well. While standing in the kitchen of our home in Pottsville my grandmother handed me a letter. Opening the letter the word GREETINGS jumped out at me “Greetings” that infamous and forever remembered word that affected so many mens lives. After reading the notice I remember thinking, well there goes the summer! The notice went something like this.


You are hereby ordered for INDUCTION into the Armed forces of The United States... And to report at The Pottsville Post Office, 3rd and Norwegian St. Pottsville Pa, on August 20, 1968... At 6:30 a.m...For forwarding to an Armed Forces Induction Station...

Fortunately for me I was able to slip under the draft and enlist in the U.S. Air Force. I should have kept that letter but unfortunately I threw it away. During the Vietnam War many men joined the National Guard to hopefully stay away from a tour of duty in Vietnam as a drafted soldier. Many others avoided the draft by staying in school, or faking a health related physical injury. I really didn't care if I went to Vietnam or not. Two years later I was sent to Vietnam for a 13 month tour of duty. Before going to Vietnam the government did away with the old draft system and instituted the numbered lottery system. My number came out as 342! Oh, well.

Now concerning Mr. George Smith, I don’t know what ever became of him or his military career if there was one. Did he get drafted ? or did he pay someone to go as a substitute? I don't know. I will work on his story and if I find anything I will post it on this blog.

Concerning the history of the draft….During the American Revolutionary War, the states sometimes drafted men for militia duty or to fill state Continental Army units, but the central government did not have the authority to conscript. President James Madison unsuccessfully attempted to create a national draft of 40,000 men during the War of 1812.[1]

With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1952[46] and who reported for duty in June 1973. On February 2, 1972, a drawing was held to determine draft priority numbers for men born in 1953, but in early 1973 it was announced that no further draft orders would be issued. In March 1973, 1974, and 1975 the Selective Service assigned draft priority numbers for all men born in 1954, 1955, and 1956, in case the draft was extended, but it never was.[47]