WWII vets honored at picnic
August 12, 2021
The members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars here in Thermopolis will have their annual picnic at the Kiwanis Shelter in the Hot Springs State Park on Sunday, August 15 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. They plan to honor the three World War II veterans still living here in our town and hope they are able to attend. The veternas are Robert Poch, Ed Hausauer and John Dodge.
Ed Hausauer is now 96 years old and his Navy service began when he enlisted in Bismarck, N.D. and went to boot camp in San Diego. His proudest moment or accomplishment was when he served on a tugboat crew at Pearl Harbor and a dock caught fire. There were three to four submarines docked there. His tug boat and crew helped pull the submarines from the burning dock and rescued them from getting damaged. Hausauer's favorite service memory was enjoying going to the Trade Winds Bar and Restaurant at Waikiki Beach. There he ate a large amount of shrimp, drank beer and got cigarettes, all at a very low price.
John Dodge is almost 95 years old and joined the Army Air Corps in 1944 and went into active duty that June. He had basic training in Mississippi and then qualified for pilot training. He then transferred to California and found that some Chinese pilots were taking their place as they were ahead of them in training. Dodge then volunteered for regular service. Dodge then went overseas to France and then to Germany as he was in the ground force but never saw combat as they were in a rear area. Dodge remembers all the debris from all the bombing and the war trials of Nuremberg were also going on.
Robert Poch is 95 years old and was in the Air Transport Command as a mechanic in Naples and Rome and was there for almost two years. He enlisted at 18 years old in 1944. Poch remembers that they had more airplanes than mechanics. Poch did not face any military conflict, but some of his brothers did. Another brother was in school. There six boys and three served in World War II, and another was killed in Korea. Poch said about being recognized for his service, "I feel kinda funny about it because it was our duty. It wasn't to go and serve." When it comes to patriotism, Poch said, "We don't have enough of it. I'm really sick of the way they treat the flag, the way they treat the servicemen and yet they want to enjoy all the things we preserved." Poch described how the war was fought with 17, 18 or 19-year-old young men and many were seeking to enlist.
Poch even talked about a 16-year-old who won a medal of honor. Some of the soldiers lied about their age. There was an overwhelming amount of support to defend the county at the time.